30 Ways you know you’re “almost” a local in South Africa

Broken windows and fixing potholes. This is how we make South Africa better!

A Canadian Expat living in South Africa has come up with a list of 30 ways to know when you are almost a local in this beautiful but sometimes odd country.


I moved to South Africa from Canada in September 2016. When I first got here, everything was strange, confusing, and wonderful. Now that I’ve been here over a year, well, nothing has changed. But I think I’ve been adapting.

I thought I’d add some more ways you can tell you’re ALMOST a local:

1) You no longer scream like a little girl when you see a mole cricket or a Parktown prawn (but it’s still ok to send your kids to dispatch them).

2) You don’t wait around like a dumb idiot when somebody says they’ll help you “just now” because you now know it will be nowhere close to now.

3) You don’t giggle anymore every time someone says the word “hooter.”

4) You’re no longer surprised when the power goes out, and you know exactly where you’ve stored all your candles and flashlights (if you’ve even had a chance to put them away after the last power outage).

5) You don’t get frustrated when the ATM doesn’t work. In fact, you’re pleasantly surprised when it DOES.

6) The butcher knows you by name.

7) Even though you brought your propane BBQ from home, you haven’t used it in months because you know a proper braai uses charcoal, or better yet, sekelbos.

8) You begrudgingly let taxis cut in front of you but find yourself threatening to klap the driver under your breath.

9) You regularly go to the bank to get coins so you have tips handy.

10) You recognize that whenever somebody in customer service (or customer disservice in the case of anything government related) says eish, you’re about to enter a whole new dimension of frustration.

11) You get used to votes of non-confidence in government.

12) You get used to those votes of non-confidence failing, even though EVERYBODY knows the president is a crook.

13) You just accept the fact that your calls will drop, especially if you use Vodacom.

14) You find yourself accidentally enjoying cricket.

15) You’ve given up on finding normal freaking nachos.

16) You’ve accepted the fact that a permanent sign warning drivers of potholes is a perfectly legitimate alternative to simply fixing the potholes.

17) Same with signs warning drivers of smash and grabs and hijackings.

18) You no longer find it unusual when Christmas cards from overseas appear in your mailbox in April. In fact, you’re more surprised they made it at all.

19) You’ve realized that what South Africans call a strike is actually a riot, and the area is best avoided.

20) You don’t even stop to look at Impala on game drives anymore because you want to get to the real animals.

21) You’ve accepted the fact that your domestic helper will fold your underwear. And you kind of like it now.

22) You start planning your kids’ birthday parties months in advance because you know birthdays are competitions of excess in South Africa.

23) You’ve eaten zebra. And liked it.

24) You’re totally OK with your kids running around barefoot. Everywhere.

25) Reports of pastors spraying their congregation with insecticide, claiming to talk to God on the phone, or boasting of going down to hell and killing Satan no longer surprise you.

26) You call trucks bakkies now and don’t even feel weird saying it anymore.

27) You can walk by a “Cum Books” shop without bursting out laughing.

28) You’re used to people standing so close to you in a queue that it’s borderline erotic, and you have no problem saying, “Listen boet, as pretty as I find you, please either back up or take me out for dinner.”

29) You don’t feel weird anymore when you see people peeing on the side of the road.

30) When you’re sitting in your back garden enjoying a drink in the sunshine and listening to birds sing while the kids play in the pool, and you feel like you’re truly home.

Sources: Supplied by Maple and Marula
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.


  1. Jenny Lowen

    August 10, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Even as an ex-pat I have to adjust to some of these when visiting my relatives in SA. 😀 And then words like ‘bakkie’ and ‘takkies’ and ‘just now’ don’t have adequate replacements here in England; it’s SO GOOD to be with my SA friends here who know what I’m saying!

  2. Franco

    August 13, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Also gotten used to people saying turn right at the Robots. At first I thought it was an electronics store or something.
    Also told to put my luggage in the boot. Strange but funny, but I’m used it now

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