As a 20 year old girl that’s been at university for well over three years now, one would think that I am used to random experiences, but apparently not. I was raised to speak English and did it at primary and high school and stuck to civil greetings like “good morning” and “hi there.” However, at varsity level, this is not the case.
I’m used to the normal “nod” that us colored people do when we see each other to show that we are acknowledging the other person – and also if you were staring for a long time, to show that you are not looking for a fight. Well this was the case until today, when I walked past a guy and he gave me the look that you usually give when you’re about to do the nod. Unfortunately he did not nod, instead he opened his mouth and said “hosh jy”. Now hold on right there! I am a sophisticated lady en jy se vir my “hosh jy”? Soos wat lyk ek? You best believe I was deep in my feels because I felt offended. Not because he greeted me with a typical colored greeting, but because he automatically assumed I would respond accordingly.
Now let me tell you what is worse than being greeted this way – it’s the automatic “awe” that just falls out of your mouth without hesitation. I died inside! Because all my life I have used colored slang, but never have I thought of just how automatic the response is.
If I thought this was a weird start to my day, fast forward to the moment I sat down in the computer labs and this girl next to me is listening to Youngsta. I smile at her because I know I am a fan of his and then she asks me if I saw him perform live yet. My response without even thinking was “nah you know mos all the fans stiek uit to support him.” This is not the English my mother taught me!! I was koppeling feelings so heavy at that moment because my parents would not be proud of my vocabulary.
And let’s be real, it’s automatic. We don’t learn it anywhere we just automatically know these words and use them to respond to people who are like us. So yeah, I’m going to just go bos on this new slang vibe I have going because really, you cannot help it. So rather mah don’t fight it because inevitably its part of our culture, so you can never run away from it.
“En jy se vir my…” – and you’re telling me
“Soos wat lyk ek?” – What do I look like?
“Stiek uit” – pitch up
“Koppeling feelings” – catching feelings
“Go bos” – go crazy