South African Pop Culture Slang Words – Part 1

South African Pop Culture Slang Words Shongololo

South African Pop Culture Slang Words

South African Pop Culture slang words are a rich part of our multi-cultural mixing pot and Rainbow Nation.


South African Pop Culture Slang Words – Shongololo.


The slow moving South African millipede is affectionately known by the catchy world “shongololo”. When threatened the millipede tightly rolls up into a circle thereby protecting its softer parts. The name is derived from the Zulu word “ukushonga” which literally means “to roll up”.


Oral history tells us that the indigenous people of South Africa saw a resemblance between the first sightings of a steam locomotive with carriages and the millipede. It did not take long before steam locomotive trains were known as a shongololo.

South African Pop Culture Slang Words Iselesele


South African Pop Culture Slang Words – Iselesele.


Iselesele is the Zulu word for “frog”. In some South African folklore, certain species of frog are thought to be powerful mystical creatures. It is believed they can breathe lightning from their mouths when threatened so extreme caution must be applied when seen or approaching them.


South African Pop Culture Slang Words Zola Budd

“Zola Budd”

South African Pop Culture Slang Words – Zola Budd


South African Bloemfontein born Zola Budd was a barefooted British Olympic 3000 metre event runner in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  Zola, as a 17-year-old, broke two 5 000m world records and twice won the World Cross Country Championships. She gained British citizenship because her grandmother was British during the Apartheid Sanction era.

At the Los Angeles Games the favourite to win, Mary Dekker, collided with Zola Budd. Mary hit the turf and after a wobble Zola completed the race in a very respectable time. Her name became the most well-known nickname for the Toyota’s Hi-Ace minibus taxi introduced in the 1970’s. It adopted Zola Budd’s name because it was much quicker than the mini-buses it replaced.

The use of her name was further cemented into our local vocabulary by the singer Brenda Fassie who had a hit single in the 1980s called Zola Budd.

Zulu and English Proverbs and Saying

Zulu Proverbs – Zululand News


South African Pop Culture Slang Words – Who is the Graphic Designer of these badges?


Young inspiring graphic designer Rob Mills designed all badges featured on this page. He holds a degree in Digital Arts and Media Studies and a Masters of Arts. He is a senior lecturer at the Vega School of Brand Leadership and currently Design and Art Director at SearchBAR.

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