We’re back for another instalment of your Afrikaans Hour – taking a look (read/listen) at all those fantastic Afrikaans sayings which our fellow humans in other countries simply won’t get.
Because, you know, Afrikaans is just too lekker to discard. Here, there, far or near, there’s always a better way to say it in safafrikaans.
More Afrikaans ‘sêgoed’ we just can’t shake
- ‘n Oulap se rooi maak mooi
Literal translation: An old rag’s red beautifies
Contextual translation: This saying simply means that a bit of red on a woman’s face makes her look pretty. Though red is not necessarily our colour, we understand that it’s always good to spend some time on your appearance – and this counts for men and women alike.
- Bekend soos die bont hond
Literal translation: Famed like the
Contextual translation: What a lekker Afrikaans way of saying that someone has notoriety everywhere. This saying refers to people who are generally known to stir a bit of chaos wherever they go.
- Algar moenie in een boom nesmaak nie
Literal translation: Everyone mustn’t nest in the same tree
Contextual translation: This saying is a very tongue-in-cheek way of telling people that inbreeding is a no-no. Just ask Prince Charles II of Spain… or the characters from Game of Thrones [cue: banjo music].
- Loop dat hy klein word
Literal translation: Walk that he becomes small
Contextual translation: Of course, in Afrikaans, walking is often times used to describe running as well – which is evident in this saying. It simply means someone was running real fast.
- Van die hand na die tand val die pap in die sand
Literal translation: From the hand to the tooth the porridge falls in the sand
Contextual translation: This saying is rather simple – though it sounds rather farfetched. Translated to English it simply means that you should never be too sure of yourself or you could ‘drop the ball’.
- (Die) spekskiet
Literal translation: Pork(rasher)shooting
Contextual translation: Ah, what a fun way of telling people that someone else is completely exaggerating. Like totes. Like utterly.
- Met die deur in die huis val
Literal translation: Falling into the house with the door
Contextual translation: Ever had someone ‘drop a bomb’ on you which you were completely unprepared for? Well, then someone fell into your house with the door. This saying simply means that someone has said or requested something important of someone else which that person wasn’t prepared for.
- Hulle velletjies bymekaargooi
Literal translation: Throw their skins together
Contextual translation: Know someone who’s getting married? Well then they are, in Afrikaans terms, throwing their skins together. This is a playful saying which signifies the unification of two people in marriage.
- Kinders wat glad te grys is
Literal translation: Children who are way too grey
Contextual translation: This saying refers to children who are old beyond their years or precocious. We know a few of those really.
- Hy skrik vir koue pampoen
Literal translation: A cold pumpkin frightens him
Contextual translation: We all know someone like that – Ben who is afraid of his own shadow, or Mary who faints at the mere thought of an arachnid. Unfortunately these guys are most probably also afraid of a cold pumpkin.
And there you have it! Now go out, spread the Afrikaans news, spread the Afrikaans love and help your mother tongue stay alive – wherever you are in the world.