Zimbabwean Slang.          - 18/4/2017      <--Prev : Next-->

So many people in the USA say 'I love your accent' are you from England, or sometimes they guess New Zealand. Hopefully I won't come home with an deep Southern accent, although its very appealing, but I might leave some delicious Zimbabwe slang over here for posterity!!

I seem to speak a lot of ndebele to my Grandson too!! (Not that I know a lot but somehow the few words do come out on a regular basis)

Its amazing how many Zimbabweans and 'saffas' are here in Atlanta, its apparently the fastest growing city in the USA.
One can recognize ones countrymen not only by their looks, but certainly the minute they open their mouths.

I like that I have a strange accent and I speak funny. I like that I say just now, now and now now, that I say off as if it's spelt orf. I like that I say shu and use hey far too often and inappropriately, as well as ja, and that when I say shame I mean sweet, or pretty much any other word that might fit into that sentence.

Here are some of our good old zimbabwe idioms that I have used recently.
Waster - means a good-for-nothing.
Skate - at high school, our uniform was a turquoise dress, short socks and brown lace-up shoes and a straw boater/hat with a burgundy school ribbon on it. If we had long hair we had to tie it back and If you were a skate you'd wear the boater as far back on your head as you could balance it, you'd wear the shortest ankle socks you could find, you'd wear non-regulation shoes with buckles, and you wouldn't tie your hair back. Your skirt length was important, the teachers would make us kneel on the floor and the hems could not be more than four inches above the ground. The 'skates' would test the limits here!! And you'd always go out every weekend and party and meet all the cool guys. Skate = a slight reprobate or rebel. But mostly in a harmless way.
Hood - similar to skate but perhaps less harmless, and always male. My dad might refer to this type as a wide boy. I had a boyfriend who used to drive an old truck. He would stop outside our front gate and hoot for me. I would run out, jump in the truck and go out with him. He was a hood, but my dad used to call him .. actually in that instance he used a different expression from wide boy.
Tune - this verb means the same as say, tell, chat up, mock, make fun of, lie, flirt or stir. If someone tuned you, you could be angry, flattered, informed, misinformed or provoked. It all depended on the context.
Own/oke - this noun means guy. I went to the disco and this oke was tuning me.
Mush/mushi/mushi sterek (pronounced moosh): this means great, nice, wonderful, excellent, wicked. The sterek part adds extra emphasis. I used to use this word as a teenager, until I had it guffawed out of me by my cool Cape Town cousins who quickly replaced it with the much more street-cred-worthy 'brilliant'.
Penga: this means mad, crazy. When we heard about my husband's job, we went penga.
Neos/magic markers: growing up, it was a treat to have a set of these, instead of just pencil crayons. These are felt-tip pens. South Africans call them kokis., Americans call them highlighters.
Kaylite: if you buy an electrical or electronic item, kaylite is the stuff that clads it inside the cardboard box. White, squeaky stuff that the rest of the world calls polystyrene.
Boppa it up with rekken ' You know if your hosepipe gets a hole in it, you use a piece of rekken (rubber inner tube from a bicycle or car tyre) to boppa (tie) it up and stop the leak.' Precisely.
Cope up - Sometimes Zimbabweans can't cope up with things, when others might not be able to cope.

HeeHoo and I have our own secret language here and it often stirs up a lot of mirth!!



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