TIA (This is Africa!) MOMENTS, QUIRKS AND RANTS
Everyone has them and they can be very frustrating…
- Tradespeople are not great at giving you a day or time that they can come round and even when they do specify, it doesn’t actually mean they will turn up then! Try and remember that patience is a virtue and you are now on African time!
- Admin seems to work the other way, instead of the relaxed attitude, most official bodies will require almost every piece of paper you have ever owned!! Try and make sure you know what is needed before applying for a phone/ getting your car registered etc and then take even more proof just in case!
- As a woman on a dependent visa, you have very few rights here – you won’t be able to own your own phone, you have to give your husbands details when going to doctor/dentist etc.
- Usually when you park your car on the street, a car guard will tell you that he will watch it for you. Give them a tip when you get back to the car (not when you park it), otherwise there’s no incentive for them to make sure it’s safe. They will also help you find parking spaces and guide you out when you leave. There is no set amount that you should give them, usually whatever small change you have.
- A few shops have ‘stampers’ when you leave the store – they look at your shopping and your receipt and make sure they match, then the receipt will be stamped, its a job..
- One of the TIA perks is that someone fills your car with petrol for you, so you need never exit your car at a garage again. You also pay the person at the car who has filled up your tank. They will ask you if you want them to check your oil and water and tyre pressure. It is usual to give a tip of R5/ R10.
There are 11 official languages in South Africa but most people can speak English.
Two phrases you may not have heard before you arrive are “Now, now” and “Just Now” – originally I thought now, now must mean something will happen urgently and Just now was in a few minutes – wrong! In theory, Now, now means shortly and Just now means sometime in the future…in reality, both mean at some point in the future…who knows when!!
A few words that come up a lot over here…….
Braai – BBQ
Lekker – Nice
Yebo – Yes
Babbelas – Hangover
Biltong – Seasoned strips of dried meat
Potjie – Pot of food/stew cooked in a cast iron pot over a fire
Bliksem – To hit
Bitter Koud – Very cold
Boet – Brother
Robot – Traffic Light
Turning circle – Round-about (These are usually treated as 4 way stops rather than round-abouts!)
Globe – Bulb
Gumboots – Wellington Boots (They even have a gumboot dance!)
Cell – Mobile Phone
Shame – This covers most things! Anything from someone’s hurt to dead!
GPS – Sat Nav
Heozit/Howzit – How is it going? How are you?
Shebeen – An unlicensed bar