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South African Sayings and Quotes - the top 100

South African Sayings and Quotes - the top 100

South Africans are famous for their colourful sayings and unique dialect. Whether you're "from the Cape" or grew up in Mpumalanga, you'll know that South African sayings add an extra level of flavour to our conversations. In this blog post, we've collected some of the best South African sayings - from "Eish" to "As well". So the next time you find yourself chatting with friends, make sure you use one of these phrases! You'll be sure to make everyone laugh.

  1. Eish
  2. Boer maak n plan
  3. Ai…come now
  4. “Woefkardoes”
  5. We're having a monkey's wedding
  6. Both of you three come here !!!
  7. I will klap you so hard... You won't know if you are Arthur or Martha
  8. "I think the lights just came back on"
  9. Voetsek, but the dogs here in New Zealand don’t know what it means.
  10. I'm rough and tough and come from the Bluff (Durban)
  11. Now, now and just now. People in the UK just don't get it.
  12. I’m so the moering, I am going to give him a fat curry footslap, man!!
  13. Aag Henrie, I luv it when you talk foreign!
  14. Last of last Week and next of next year
  15. Then 'Ja-nee' should totally confuse them 
  16. Vat hom Fluffy
  17. I’ll Bliksem you!!!
  18. Don't tune me grief, tune me Howzit!
  19. As confused as a camelian on a Smartie box!!!
  20. Lag my n papie
  21. Definitely aagh shame … covers everything! 
  22. My Fok Marilize! 
  23. Hey wena
  24. Had a teacher that always use to say while lining up outside his class…”stand once upon a time in one straight stripe, not twice together”
  25. Picking up stompies
  26. He needs an AAK (attitude adjustment klap).
  27. I’m busy waiting
  28. Just a warning: if a South African says: "luister mooi vir my..." the time for listening has passed... its time for running!
  29. "Die poppe gaan dans!!" Heard some Afrikaans people trying to translate it and they said "The dolls is gonna dance!" So that's what I say now 
  30. It's lekker to be lekker when you're lekker
  31. A dop and a chop!
  32. “Don’t tune me rough, I will grind you smooth ek se”
  33. Moegoe!
  34. Ai jai jai ( not sure of spelling) , then repeated several times when things go wrong!!! 
  35. Boermaakaplan 
  36. Africa is not for sissies
  37. Pay your tv licence, it's the right thing to do
  38. All of above. But... Can you borrow me your pen. (Never Lend). Diction
  39. Loadshedding has been suspended!
  40. I will give you such a snot clap that you will fail to see and when you wake up your clothes will be out of fashion
  41. A friend in Swaziland had a shirt "I are wearing my Jean pant"
  42. Remember Pop Shop? I think the host was called David Gresham? - he would always finish off the show by saying ‘ Keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars ‘ Love that saying!
  43. That bloody reff!
  44. I’m going to choef (run) to the swimming baths and goef (swim) all day!
  45. That’s the way the boerewors bends
  46. Reversing backward
  47. I smaak you stukend my china.
  48. I never laugh so many since i was a children
  49. It's not inside, it's O-O-O-N top!
  50. TTWP&D Time to waai possie and dos. After a night out on the town it's time to go home and sleep.
  51. “Ag, Shamepies”
  52. "I nearly died!"
  53. Bliksem, Gatvol, hurry up and wait, Now now, Ja nee. What can we say, we are indeed a unique bunch   
  54. Level with the gravel.
  55. Safe ma Bru.
  56. Mamparra, which means someone is extremely foolish
  57. It’s not a train smash … love that saying
  58. dubbelbrandewynencokein'nlangglassmetys
  59. You were speeding sir... now come this side.. how we going to sort this out
  60. I've lost the plot.
  61. Kyk noord en vok voort ( sorry a bit rough but there are no English words that say it like this)
  62. Jirre man you are getting on my nerves 
  63. What goes around comes around
  64. Agh bring me a “ lappie” to clean up this mess.
  65. Shame, I’m so sorry!
  66. Sorry, we are offline...
  67. Bedonerd!!! Not sure of the spelling!!!
  68. Wat ever blows your hair back....
  69. Are you serious...
  70. 'Crikey". Not sure if it's South African but my Dad who was from South Africa.said it often. 
  71. I’ll give you a PK ….Polokwane to Kakemas
  72. You can take them out the bush, but you can't take the bush out of them!
  73. I’m just around the corner…… and it’s actually like an hour drive 
  74. Going to take a Kip / dos
  75. Ag sis mann
  76. Howzit my china
  77. After not having done what you were told to do - "But I asked you so nicely".
  78. BE PATIENT- eish everything is African time
  79. Check the worry in my eyes
  80. Give me Checkers ( those from CURRO will say: give me Plastic) 
  81. I stopped at the robot  
  82. Fish and chip shop. Where’s my change? “I geeve you chappie “
  83. Oh for vark steaks!!!!!!
  84. My bruh, I kid you not
  85. Shaping under pressure.
  86. You have a Watch, but we have the time
  87. Blikskottel and tie my dog lose
  88. "Oh koek".
  89. Vol fiemies
  90. I am an African
  91. You can't blame me! Jan van Riebeeck was here more than 300 years before me!
  92. Felt like I'd been skopped in the dif!
  93. Rock up and park off!
  94. Skatterbol
  95. It is such a shlep!
  96. Bob’s your uncle!
  97. Otherwise you well?
  98. Howzit larnie.could you help me with some small change
  99. Brak (a Mongril Dog)
  100. Acumatatada means no worries for the rest of your life 😎


Eish is definitely one of the most iconic South African sayings. It can be used to express a range of emotions, from surprise to disappointment. If you want to add some extra oomph to your conversation, throw in an eish!


Do you have a favourite South African saying? Let us know in the comments below!

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