South Africa Information / General Tourist Information / Drakensberg Tips / Languages / Safety /
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English is the most widely spoken international language in SA and is understood and spoken to some degree by most people in urban areas. In the province of KwaZulu Natal you will generally find Zulu, English and Afrikaans being spoken.

Some words or phrases that you will encounter within this site:

  • uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park - the region where we are to be found - a mountain range and
    conservation area. uKhahlamba means 'barrier of spears' in Zulu, so called for some of the jagged vertical peaks of the Drakensberg. Drakensberg is directly translated from Afrikaans as 'dragon's mountain', the name given to it by the Voortrekkers.
  • Berg - a shortened form of Drakensberg.
  • Little Berg - the Little Drakensberg which constitutes the foothills that lead up to the foot of the Drakensberg itself.
  • Voortrekkers - the descendants of the Dutch and French settlers who left the Cape Colony in the 1830s to move North. They are the forebears of the Afrikaaner people.
  • Trek - journey or travel slowly. In Nepal the term 'trekking' was borrowed from the English who took it from Afrikaans.
  • Veld - bush.
  • Sangoma - a Zulu medicaine man or woman.

Some unique South African words and phrases:

  • Dag se - hello.
  • Eita - hello.
  • Howzit - hello, how are you. Not always requiring a response.
  • Né? - really?
  • My bra - not underwear but my friend or mate.
  • Yebo yes - yes.
  • Braai - we never barbeque in South Africa, we braai. But it does mean the same.
  • Lekker - nice (as in tasting) or good (as in okay, can do).
  • Ja well no fine - okay, it will happen. Or ummm.

Some Zulu words and phrases that should be useful:

  • The greeting protocol (a conversation between persons A and B):
    • A: Sawubona. - hello. (Plural: Sanibonani.) Literally translated as 'I see you'. This shows that you acknowledge the person you are greeting.
      An aside - avoiding eye contact traditionally conveys respect - one would avoid looking directly into the eyes of an elder.
    • B: Yebo, Sawubona. - yes, hello.
    • A: Usaphila? - how are you. (Plural: Nisaphila?)
    • B: Ngisaphila, unjani wena? - I am well, how are you? (Plural: Sisaphila, ninjani nini? - We are well, how are all of you?)
    • A: Ngisaphila. - I am well. (Plural: Sisaphila. - We are well.)
  • The farewell protocol:
    • A: Hamba kahle. - Go well. (Plural: Hambani kahle.)
    • B: Sala kahle. - Stay well. (Plural: Salani kahle.)
  • Some general words and phrases
    • Ngiyabonga - Thank you (Plural: Siyabonga)
    • Igama lami ngingu Barry - My name is Barry
    • Ubani igama lakho? - What is your name?
    • Ngicela (isinkwa) - I wish to buy (bread)
    • Anginakho - I have none
    • Woza - Come
    • Kusasa - Tomorrow
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Tel:  +27 (0)36 488 1207   Fax: +27 (0)36 488 1846   Email: cdta@futurenet.co.za