Southern Sotho: Theme 10 - Shopping & sport

Previous greetings and courtesies | asking for help, emergencies | numbers, days, months, quantities | question words, weather, seasons and time | banks, taxis and restaurants | transportation and finding your way | touring and socializing | at the filling station | the human body and ailments | shopping and sport End

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South Africa has many malls and shopping centres, but also different types of markets. Saturday markets usually sell produce from farmers such as vegetables and home-made fare. Flea markets sell anything from arts and crafts to cheese and wine.  Another form of business popular in South Africa is the “spaza” shop. This is a small shop run from somebody’s house where one can buy small grocery items such as food, candy, cool drinks and much more.


Any visitor to South Africa soon discovers that the locals are crazy about sport. A natural spill over of this passion is naming the different national sport teams. These names are usually a duplication of a word; for example the rugby team is called the Amabokko bokko (springbucks); the tennis team is the Amasmash smash; hockey is called the Amastokka stokka (sticks); cricket is the Ama howzat and the national soccer team is called Bafana bafana. Coming from the Xhosa language it means ‘Men of men’; but in Zulu it means ‘’Boys of boys’.

The vuvuzela

The vuvuzela is the noise-making trumpet of South African football fans. It is about a metre long, made of brightly coloured plastic and sounds like an elephant! But when thousands of soccer fans blow their vuvuzelas in a match, the sound is more like a massive swarm of very angry bees.

There's uncertainty on the origin of the word "vuvuzela". It may come from the Zulu for  "making noise". Other sources say it's from township slang related to the word "shower", because it "showers people with music" or looks a little like a shower head.

To get the unique sound out requires serious lip and lung strength, and a fair amount of technique. You better get in some practice before attending any South African football match, or you may produce a pitiable little sound provoking disapproving stares!