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Namibia Travel Destinations

Local Namibian Lingo

The following words are typical local vernacular, influenced by Afrikaans – still largely the lingua franca – and other indigenous languages. Using these words will do much to improve your communication with locals:

Aweh – Said in excitement. The word has many meanings and uses, including hello, goodbye and yes

Bakkie – a Pickup truck

Biltong – Dried and seasoned meat(like jerky), a popular snack

Braai – a barbeque. Braaing – a National pastime that traditionally entails turning the meat with one hand while holding a beer in the other – is taken very seriously

Bra/Bru/Boet – a Male friend

Brotchen – a Bread roll, offered with different toppings, to be eaten as breakfast, lunch supper or snack

Dorp – Small town

Droewors – Dried sausage, sometimes eaten with biltong as a snack

Efundja – Periodic flood in the Owambo regions, northern Namibia

Eish! – An interjection expressing resignation

Jol – To have fun, to party

Koppie – a Small hill, not yet a mountain

Just now/ now-now – Meaning anytime within the next 50 years other than right at this moment

Kapana – Traditionally barbequed meat, usually sold in their townships and next to the road

Lapa – The thatched outdoor shelter used for shade from the African sun or to braai underneath when raining

Lekker – Nice, good, tasty, great, awesome

Meme – respectful form of address for an adult female

Oshana – Shallow pools and watercourses in the Owambo regions, northern Namibia

Pap – Traditionally maize porridge

Plaas – Farm

Potjie – a Three-leggit cast-iron pot used for cooking stews over fire

Robot – a Traffic light

Shebeen – An informal bar that’s open for 24hours

Sies – Expression of disgust, disappointment, annoyance

Sussie/Sister – Female friend

Smiley – a Goat or sheep’s head, cooked and ready for consumption

Sosatie – Meat and vegetable skewered on a stick, usually accompanied by other meat on a braai

Tate – Respectful form of address for a male

Vetkoek – Deep-fried bread dough, often sold with kapana

Wors – Spicy sausage for accompanying meat on the braai

Yoh – An expression of interest

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