English is a living language. On one end, old and unused words slip off into obscurity through neglect and disuse. Words like “gruntle” and “trollin”. At the other end, new words are constantly being added. Words like the “google” and “wi-fi”.
South Africa got off to a good start with English. We’ve left our mark in the dictionaries of the world, with words like “trek”, and “veld” and “gnu”. But we’ve been a bit lax of late. Let’s fix that. Here are seven new words we can offer up to the good people who edit the Oxford English Dictionary;
Agang (n) An otherwise promising enterprise doomed to failure as a result of having been given a silly name.
Example “I fear that the inventors of South Africa’s new environmentally friendly vehicle might have a bit of an agang on their hands. Such a pity. Running a car on invasive exotic trees is a brilliant idea, but somehow I can’t see too many people rushing out and buying themselves a shiny new Barkfarter.”
Eff (v) To play at being soldiers; To run around the playground in toy soldier’s hats, holding your fingers in a gun shape and shouting “Bang! Bang! Viva la revolution!”
Example “The grade 2 boys were making a terrible racket just outside the staff room, so Mr Dlamini asked them to eff off to another part of the playground.”
Gupta (n) A substantial gift or favour given with the expectation that your generosity will not go unrewarded.
Example “I cannot believe that that school had the gall to expel my son! After all the guptas I’ve given them over the years; the new cricket pavilion, the jacuzzi in the staffroom. You’d think that a tenth chance was in order, particularly since the Range Rover he set fire to was a gupta we ourselves had given to the headmastser!”
Malema (v) To claim for yourself a set of principles which are palpably at odds with your behaviour; To rail against the selfishness and arrogance of the rich while not paying your taxes; To condemn corruption while using “donations” made to your son’s trust fund for your own benefit; To raise your fist to the sky to protest the inequality and desperation of the poor, causing the sun to glint prettily off the face of your R250 000 Breitling watch.
Example “It turned out that the famous televangelist had been malemaing for years, ranting and raving from the pulpit on Sundays while visiting prostitutes and feeding crack to puppies every other day of the week.”
Nkandla (v) To display the utmost contempt for those who have raised you up to your current position; To raise your middle finger to your less fortunate supporters.
Example: “Concert-goers were shocked when a visibly intoxicated Justin Bieber turned his back on his audience, dropped his trousers, bent over, and Nkandlaed them.”
Zille (n) A product or service which, while seemingly polished and desirable, somehow fails to appeal to its target market.
Example “After a massive marketing campaign targeting primary schools and children’s television failed to increase sales, the soft drink executives were forced to admit that they had a zille on their hands. Fanta Olive would have to be pulled from the shelves.”
Zuma (v) To nurture and protect those who are of use to you, only to turn around and destroy them should you stand to gain, or should their loyalty waiver even slightly.
Example “The winner of the latest series of Survivor played a flawless game, eliminating his enemies before zumaing his allies one by one until he was the last man standing.”
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