SA 101

As anyone who has ever moved to another place knows, a large part of your initial ‘settling in’ is made up of identifying everything that makes this place different from what you know. Despite many similarities to what I’ve grown up with and experienced in other places, particularly the UK, I’ve had to get used to all sorts of ‘new’ things – strange words and phrases, foods, customs, obsessions, odd habits. Even after living here nearly two years (!) I pick up something new every day, it seems.  As I am inclined to do, I’ve been keeping lists of some of the odds and ends I’ve picked up. Many of them have become part of my everyday life and lingo, so much so that I sometimes forget how odd they seemed when I first arrived. I thought it might be fun to post some of my observations here, in part to give those who haven’t had the opportunity to travel to this beautiful country a little taste of its uniqueness (and equally to explain a little to friends and family in the US since I always get grief when I come home to Mpls for sounding ‘funny’). So, for those of you who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of having a ‘lekker’ ‘braii’ while overlooking ‘the mountain’, sipping some Black Label with your ‘chinas’…ok, enough. If you’re not sure what I’m on about, stay tuned for future SA101 posts…

Some disclaimers:
For you SAfricans reading, feel free to correct me if I get things totally wrong. (If I do, I fully blame it on my cultural translator, Nick. He has been away from SA for awhile, after all…). I also fully admit that my knowledge of South Africa, particularly the language and culture, is heavily influenced by the fact that my family and many friends here are English (speaking) South Africans. I’m sure there are MANY other South Africanisms I am missing out on – I hope my horizons will continue to widen the longer I’m here.


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