8 Cape Town Lingo Tips For Visitors.

Cape Town Lingo for Visitors

Visitors all over the world love Cape Town lingo.

Whether you are planning to visit Cape Town for business or leisure, a brief understanding of Cape Town’s lingo can benefit any visitor when it comes to the locals’ language, jargon, vocabulary and dialect.

The City of Cape Town, located in the Western Cape province of South Africa, is blessed with an abundance of tourist attractions such as Table Mountain, Robben Island, pristine beaches, wine farms, guest houses and luxury hotels, but…

What really makes Cape Town unique, is the lingo used by the locals.

South Africa is quite a diverse country with eleven official languages: isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, SeTswana, English, Sesotho, Siswati, Xitsonga, Tshivenda and isiNdebele.

These are quite a lot to take in, but don’t worry!

Most South Africans understand and talk English.

So, if you’re a regular visitor, or new to Cape Town, you’ll be just fine when it comes to communication.

However, if you really want to connect with the locals of Cape Town, instead of just communicating, you need to take a dive into their local lingo.

Here are some basic Cape Town lingo phrases and tips to get you going!


1. Molo:

“Molo” is an isiXhosa greeting.

Pronounce the “o’s” as you would in the word, “more”.

Greeting more than one person?

Simply say, “molweni”.


2. Howzit:

Another greeting.

“Howzit” comes from – you guessed right – “how is it going?”

The correct response is “ya, howzit,” but if you really want to impress locals, simply reply with “sharp-sharp,” which means “all good.”


3. Aweh:

“Aweh” is another expression used as a greeting.

“Aweh, brother.” (Greetings, Brother).

“Aweh, Sister!” (Greetings, Sister!)


4. Eish:

“Eish” is pronounced “ay-sh”.

This popular phrase is widely used among South Africans to express many emotions, including dismay and embarrassment.

In short, “eish” is similar to the colonial “oh dear,” but just way cooler.


5. Shame:

Depending on the context, “shame” can mean anything from “cute” to “sorry” to “that sucks”.


6. Shisa nyama:

A typical South African tradition in which people get together to cook meat over coals.

A genuine Shisa nyama, or braai, usually involves many friends, wine and beer.


7. Gaatjie:

A “gaatjie” (pronounced as gah-chie) is the guy who mans the door of a minibus taxi. He is the one yelling the name of the destination – usually with his head and shoulders halfway through the window.

If you can’t spot a “gaatjie,” don’t worry, you’ll hear him coming around the corner.

Always be nice to Gaatjie. He is the person in charge of collecting your fare.


8. Robots:

Nope. No walking machines in sight (at least for now). Robots are what most South Africans call traffic lights.

And… That’s a wrap – 8 Cape Town lingos and tips that will make you fit right in with the locals!

Do you know of any other cool lingos and phrases that will help visitors to fit in with the locals of Cape Town or any other region in South Africa? Let us know in the comments’ section.

If you like this post, please “like” and share the link with your friends.

Until next time, Travel Awesome!



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