The International Social Studies Project
in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Glossary of Terms

Afs – slang for black Africans

bane – source of harm
beds – gardens of plants, vegetables
boet – brother

Cape Town – city in South Africa, the legislative capital
caravan park – mobile home park
chancer – person who tries his luck
Checker’s – supermarket chain
cossie – swimsuit
Cradock – area in the Eastern Cape

donkey’s years – a very long time
duco – paint

Eastern Cape Province – one of South Africa’s nine provinces
eskies – “excuse me”

forced removal – the relocation of the entire population of a village to a designated “homeland”
frazzled – dried up


guineafowl – kind of bird, about the size of a chicken

Hamba! – Go!, in Zulu
Honeydew – suburb of Johannesburg

Jo’burg – short for Johannesburg

kak – slang for excrement
kloof – ridge or cliff
Kreepy-krawlie – unique South African machine that cleans the pool
Kruger Park – South Africa’s national park, with wild animals

lounge – living room, sitting room

making poofies – slang for defecating
Margate – holiday area on south coast of Durban
marie biscuits (Baker’s Maries) – cookies popular in South
munt – derogatory term for black African
mush – slang for nice

N’kos – “Thank you” in Baas

Sharlene Thomas, Beverly Bryant and Michael Rhyne in the ISSP GlobalArts production of "Rainshark". (photo by Steve Whitsitt)

porridge – hot cereal

rand – South African currency, equal to about 15 cents
reservist – member of a police reserve, a volunteer body which does occasional duty
Rhodesia – African country, now called Zimbabwe, that adjoins South Africa
rockery – succulent plant area

skelm – dishonest person, a “rascal”
stoep – porch
stuffs out – goes wrong
stuff-up – “screw-up”

thatched roof – roof made with a kind of long grass
torch – flashlight
Transkei – rural area near the Kei river, south of Johannesburg, a former black homeland
tsotsis – “wiseguys”
tune – slang for tell

volk – people, from the German

Weet-bix – brand of bran cereal
Wild Coast – resort coastal area near Durban and Port Shepstone

Zimbabwesee Rhodesia


“be on one’s bicycle” – “be on one’s way,” “get going”

“put them in the picture” – “fill them in”

“the whole cadadle” – slang for “complete set,” like “the whole ballgame” or “the whole enchilada”

“Wat maak julle?” – “What are you doing?” in Dutch

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International Social Studies Project
UNC-CH School of Education, Peabody Hall, CB #3500, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500
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