Cape Flats Expressions

This page was inspired by an email I received from Pam Russel (imported to and bred in Cape Town!). It contains some peculiar expressions that people use on the Cape Flats. Many of them are quite crude, but I make no apologies for this- it is typical of the way people speak on the Cape Flats and is not considered unusual at all.

Some of these expressions cannot be translated into English and often, it is quite difficult to explain what they actually mean, because they mean different things, depending on the context in which they are used-- but I will do my best to make sense of them.


Djy moet jou nwata gedagtes

You and your stupid/foolish ideas

"nwata" usually denotes worthlessness

I disagree/you are being stupid

Hy's oraait kak vedala

something like "he has become seriously old"

"dala" is derived from Xhosa, meaning old, as in "madala" (old man) but in this context it is also used to mean having a battle/fight with yourself

He caused himself to look (physically) older (run-down)

Slat my dood met 'n pap snoek

Hit me dead with a soft snoek (snoek=fish)

As in English

I am overwhelmed (surprised/shocked)

Ek sal jou witbiene maak

I'll turn you into white bones

Only your skeleton will be left

I'll kill you

Djy's nes 'n doos, wiet djy

You are like a box, you know

You're acting like a vagina, you know

You're acting stupidly/you are worthless/you are unpredictable

Djy! Hou vir jou in

You! Keep yourself in

You! Stop it

Behave/control yourself

Kryp in jou moer, man

Crawl into your mother's womb, man

Go back to where you came from

Piss Off

Sy's (Hy's) lekker poenankies



She's (he's) cute (mostly refers to babies)

Djy's lekker deurie naai

You are pleasantly affected by sex

You have sex on the brain

You are mistaken/misguided

Hy't hom stukkend gelag

He laughed himself broken

He laughed so much that he broke down

He collapsed with laughter

Sy kekkel heeldag op sy kop

She clucks (as in chicken) on his head all day

She doesn't stop nagging him

She's a real nag

Hy's kens gekekkel

He's been clucked childish

Because of all the nagging, he's become like a child

He can no longer think straight/he submits to his wife's will
Note: this expression is also applied to women and in both cases it has the connotation that the person being referred to is a little crazy

'is sopnat

it's as wet as soup

it is soaking wet

This is (everything is) great/in order

Moet my nie vir 'n pop vattie

Don't take me for a doll

Don't think I'm dumb or stupid

I'm not easily fooled