This is for the benefit of those not always understanding the language of a South African military veteran. This is a glossary of South African military terms compiled by Peter Dickens, David Kiley, Norman Sander and other veterans in The South African Legion, it is by no means definitive of all the terms used, quite a lot can be happily added and please feel free to notify me of any omissions.
Please note this list contains words that can be judged as offensive and objectionable – however as a historic document to capture the slang and terminology it needs to be as objective as possible.
SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE FORCE TERMINOLOGY AND SLANG
Aapjas – A long, hooded coat usually with a fake fur lining ( post 1983 issue version ).
Aapkas (1) – metal platform / cage , sited on a radio mast in SWA / Angola ops bases; used as a lookout post / fire director station for base defence mortars.
Aap Kas (2) – also know as the jump simulation cable rig at 44 Para
Aangekla/kla-ed aan – Put on a charge.
AB – Navy.Able Seaman (Lance Corporal)
Adjudant – ( 1 ) commissioned officer appointed as executive officer to unit OC / 2IC .
Adjudant – ( 2 ) abridged Afrikaans form of address for rank of Warrant Officer ( SA Police).
AFB – Air Force Base
Afgekeur – Turned down, rejected.
Afkak – a state or condition in which you will not enjoy yourself – literally to ‘shit’ oneself
Afkak-kamp – An unpleasant camp
Afkak parade – Punishment parade
African bangles – handcuffs ( SA Police slang ).
Air Pollution – Paratroopers
AK – 47 – Avtomat Kalashnikova assult rifle
Akedis Dorp – Lizard City. The name given to the transit camp at 1 SAI
Alley – Navy….Any passage on a ship where the crew would walk.
Alouette – French designed helicopter gunship , Also known as “Draadkar”
Antinov – Soviet transport aircraft series.
AO – Afrikaans form of address for rank of warrant officer ( SA Police : pre 1994 )
APM – Anti Personnel Mine
Armscor – Armaments Corporation of South Africa
Asdic – Navy.. Submarine searching equipment by bouncing signals off their metal hulls underwater.
AWOL – Absent Without Official Leave.
Babbelaas – A hangover
Bakgat (also “BG”) – Good, great, ok, nice.
Bakkie – Light delivery van
Bakshee – For free (from the Arabic word)
Balkie – Corps colours worn on the beret under unit badge
Ballas – Balls/Testicles.
Balsak – literally ball bag ( as in soccer ball bag ) : military canvas kitbag / duffel bag
Basics. – Basic training, usually lasting about 10 weeks
BSM – Battery Sergeant Major – artillery corps equivalent of a CSM.
B & O – Bestuur en Onderhoud – Driving and Maintenance course.
Ballas Bak – “Ball baking” or laying around doing nothing and taking it easy
Bataljon aantreeparade – battilion forming up on a parade ground
Battle Jacket – SADF patten 83 battlejacket
Battle Jacket-pouches for Ammo-rat pack-bandages-flares-radio etc
Bedford – The large truck dating from the 1950’s. Renamed a ‘Samel’.
Befok – Mad or Fucked
Belay that – Stop what you’re doing.
Berede – Mounted Infantry-Horse/motorcycle
Beskadiging van Weermag Eindom – Damaging military property – including yourself – a very serious offence
Bevelvoerder – Officer Commanding
Bicycle – Second lieutenant – any officer you could stand on like a bicycle – being the lowest commissioned office
BIG DAD- Bedford–SAP terminology in Rhodesia
Biltong – dried meat (USA – pemmican / jerkie)
Bidparade – church parade / prayer service.
Binnacle – A metal stand on the bridge which would hold the gyro compass in a free floating position so it always remained flat no mater how badly the ship was pitching or rolling.
Bivvy – one-man field / bivouac / pup tent.
Black is Beautiful – matt black camouflage paste, used for personal camouflaging.
Black Widow – type of anti personnel mine
Blesbok – a dropside logistics carrier version of the Casspir mine resistant APC, mainly used by the SA Police on border duties. Also nicknamed a ” Casspir bakkie “.
Bliksem – Hit, smack, punch. Also tough / hard person – “he’s a real bliksem! Also a mild cursing expression ( eg : jou bliksem !….literally, thunder )
Bloem – Bloemfontein
Blood Box – a field ambulance
Blougat – a troop who was no longer a ‘roof’ and not quite a ‘ouman’
Blou-jobs – South African Airforce Personnel
Bluestone – This was a ‘myth’ referring to an ingredient (usually in coffee) to reduce sex drive
Bobbejaanloop ( lit. ” baboon walk ” ) – field stealth movement, requiring moving crouched down / on all fours.
Boer – a terms to describe an Afrikaans person meaning ‘farmer’
Boerewors – An SA sausage
Boertjie – slang for a Afrikaaner – literally ‘little farmer’
Boet – Brother / male friend
Bokkie – Girlfriend
Bokkop – member of the Infantry Corps ( named after the springbok head corps badge ).
Bom Verband (Afikaans) Bomb Bandage (English) – packaged bandage for high trauma blood injury
Boma – recreational area enclosed by thatch
Bombadier – The artillery equivalent of a corporal.
Bombevok – shell-shocked / stir crazy.
Bone – method of shining shoes
Border, the – the South West African border with Angola
Border Tour – usually a 1-3 month stint in the SWA Operational Zone
Boom – Marijuana
Boompie Toer – Punishment in the form of a run to an earmarked tree and back.
Bosberaad – a meeting in the bush
Bos Bussie – a vehicle in the bush following punishment session.
Bosbefok – Literally ‘Bush Crazy’ – addicted to combat
Boshoed – SADF nutria brown bush hat, worn with ” browns ” ( battledress uniform)
Boeshoed Poes – the stitching line measning ‘pussy’ on the boshoed which had to face backwards when worn
Bosbok – a AM.3 light aircraft used primarily for targeting, intel and forward air control
Bossies – bush mad or ‘combat crazy’
Bosuns whistle/pipe – A whistle used to signal commands.
Bos Oupa – a soldier who has completed two border tours
Bots – Botswana
Bowline – a type of knot used for securing a running rope to a fixed position.
Bra – Shortened version of ‘Brother’ – meaning ‘mate’
Braai – A barbecue
Brake Shoes – Provita Biscuits.
Bravo Wiel – military signalling terminology for a Buffel APC .
Bren – The BrNo 7,62mm machine gun
Bru – another shortened version of ‘Brother’ – meaning ‘mate’
Broom – Navy….A broom flown upside down from the flag halyard from the main signal halyard indicates a “clean sweep” lit: “all the enemies have been destroyed or sunk”.
Brow – When anyone crossed the brow of the ship (where the gangplank was) you would turn and salute the National colour on the jackstay fora’rd.
Brown Job/s – Army personnel who were qualified pilots
Browns – the general fatigues worn by the SADF
Buffel – South African made 4X4 mine-resistant armoured personnel carrier (APC )
Burger Sake – Civic Action – “hearts and minds” campaign
Buddy – Friend or fellow platoon member
Budgie Club – South African Air Force members
Budgie – The cap badge of the South African Air Force.
Bulkhead – Navy Any wall anywhere or any metal wall seperating cabins/compartments.
Bunker – enclosed defensive position, usually made of sandbags; usually below ground.
Bungalow Bill – a representative of a bungalow elected to liaise with Officers and NCO’s
Bunting Tosser (TO-T) – Navy….Telecommunications Operator Tactical the Signalman who handled NATO and INTERCO signal flags, Semaphore, Aldis lamps, Colours and Sunset and the Encryption and Decryption of coded signals
Bush Pips – Cloth shoulder slip on officers insignia for ‘bush’ operations with embroided ‘pips’.
Buster Power – term used by fighter pilots for full power
BX – Navy….Bravo X-Ray sent as a flag signal lit: “splice the main brace”…real meaning “give the men their rum ration”…latterly “everyone have a drink”.
BZ – Navy….Bravo Zulu as a flag signal lit: “Extremely well done”
Casevac – Casualty Evacuation
Casspir – A mine proof IFV.
Camos – Camoflauge fatigues or dress
CB – Confined to barracks.
CC – Coloured Corps (should be CCC)
CF – Citizen Force.
Cheetah – Atlas developed fighter jet for the SAAF adapted from the Mirage III using Israeli Kfir technology
Chest webbing-pouches for loaded R4/5 magazines-pencil flare-box of R4/5 ammo 30 rounds-flap on the back for maps etc
Chicken a la Landmine – derogatory reference to chopped / shredded chicken stew with bones.
Chicken Parade – Picking up litter and cigarette butts in an area
China – Friend – comes from English cockney rhyming slang ‘china plate – mate’ picked up during the Boer War
Chommie – Friend
Chop – an idiot
Choppermanne – helicopter crew
Civvies (1) – Civilian Cloths
Civvies (2) – the general public not serving in the army
Civvy Street – Civilian Life
Claymore mine- small curved mine used for ambushes
Clicks – Kilometers
Clutchplate – ( 1 ) negative term for a Afrikaaner.
Clutchplate – ( 2 ) tinned hamburger patty.
CO – (1) Commanding Officer
CO – (2) Candidate Officer
COIN – Counter Insurgency
Commcen – The communications centre.
Com Ops – Communication Operations
Comms – Communications
Contact Contact Wait Out – Command to have radio silence whilst report is being prepared after initial contact with enemy, usually at section level.
Cozzie – swimming costume or trunks
Crest – Every ship would have a crest at the Quartermasters position depicting the ships name and heraldry
Crunchie – a derogatory term for a Afrikaner
CSM: Company Sergeant Major
Cuca shop ( SWA / Angola ops ) – informal grocery / general dealers shop, varying in size / stock.
Dagga – Marijuana
Dak – Dakota DC 3 transport aircraft
Dankie Tannie Organisations: Meaning ‘Thank you Auntie’ – The Southern Cross Fund and similar organisations.
Dankie Tannie mes – Swiss Army style penknife, gifted by the Southern Cross Fund.
Dankie Tannie Pakkie – A goodie bag issued to soldiers at Christmas by concerned civilian organisations
Dapper Duisend – members of the Riot / Internal Stability / Public Order units ( SA Police slang ).
Daraclor – A brand of anti-malaria pills (legend had it they turned the skin yellow)
Damduiker – Translation ‘Dam Diver’, nickname given to the SA Navy Marines
DB – Detention barracks.
DD1 – official SADF pro-forma document, used to record disciplinary offences.
Dear John – Term used for the ‘break-up’ letter from a girlfriend or wife
Deck – Navy…any floor or anywhere you walked whether aboard ship or not.
Deckhead – Navy Any ceiling.
Dems – Demolitions
Depth charge or Depth charge mortar – A device that was fired up to 1000 meters from the ship and set to a particular depth for explosion.
Devil dodger – member of the Chaplains service.
Diepseun – an introspective / introverted chap; on his own wavelength.
Dikbek – Fed up, grumpy
Dikkop – literally ” thickhead “; a stupid, dimwitted person.
Dinges – Thingami-bob, whats-its-name
Disco Biscuit – Narcotic drugs
Divisions – Navy term – the crew on a ship were divided into Port and Starboard Division and operated on a watch system
Dixie – mess / tiffin tin set, for eating from in the field.
Doctor Shock – Psychiatrist.
Doff – Stupid, thickhead
Dog biscuit – large, square, coarse wholegrain biscuit, found in ration ( “rat”) packs.
Doggie – ( 1 ) punishment routine, involving carrying / dragging / otherwise moving truck tyres.
Doggie – ( 2 ) colloquial nickname for a dog handler ( both SADF and SAP ).
Dog Tags – The two metal plates worn on a chain around your neck which indicated your name, army number, blood group and religion
Doiby – plastic helmet liner / inner.
Dominee – Dutch Reformed Church Minister
Domkop – an idiot, literally dumb head
Donder – ( lit. ” thunder ” ) a mild curse, or a threat to strike ( donder ) somebody.
Donderbuis – thunderflash
Doodsakker – Killing ground
Dooies – Dead
Doos (1) – Derogatory term for female genetalia
Doos (2) – A stupid person
Doos dief – A civilian who ‘steals’ your girlfriend whilst your in the service.
Dop – A drink of alcohol / to fail with something.
Dop en Dam – any alcholic drink, mixed with water.
Dop en Tjop – a braai / BBQ , with alcohol consumption.
Doppies – The cartridge cases left over from shooting
Dowit- Dud/unexploded ammunition
Draadkar – Alouette 111 helicopter .
Drol – Turd, usually describing somebody in a derogatory way.
D Tank – corrugated steel water storage tank, usually mounted on a scaffolding tower.
DSB – Deep sea boat
Duiker – a fuel bowser / tanker version of the Casspir mine resistant APC, used by the SA Police.
Dutchman – A derogatory term for an Afrikaner.
ECC – End Conscription Campaign
Eenvormig – Term whereby everything had to be uniform
Eina! – Ouch!
Eish! – Zulu origin – an expression of resignation
Ek sê – I say!
Eland – Armoured Car also known as a Noddy Car
Engelsman – Englishman
Engine Mountings – Braised Steak
Ensign – Navy (1) The Navy flag which flew at the stern of the ship, the battle ensign was much larger.
Ensign – Navy (2) The lowest ranking Officer in the Navy equiv to a 2nd Lieutenant.
ERA and ERM – Navy….Engine Room Artificer/Engine Room Mechanic.
Esbit tablets / pille – compressed paraffin solid fuel tablets, for cooking with in the field.
Esbit stove – rectangular fold-open miniature one-man field cooker, fuelled by esbit tablets.
EWO – Navy….Electronic Weapons Operator (Missiles or electronic quick firers/gatlings)
Fakkel – a Flare
FAPLA – Peoples Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola
Fashion parade – where every piece of kit is used in an opfok the night before an inspection
Firing-in – Weapons sighting
Fire bucket – aluminium mug with fold-up handle, fitted over the military canteen / water bottle.
Flash (1) metal badge worn on stepouts shoulder/ sleeves depicting unit
Flash (2) tupperware shoulder flash depicting unit worn on fatiques (browns or camos)
Flossie -The C130 Hercules
Flying Meatballs – Derogatory term for the parabats.
Fly Spy – nickname for SADF members tasked with spraying insecticide in border bases.
FNLA – National Front for the Liberation of Angola
Fok – Fuck
Foghog – A fan mounted on the rear of an SAP ‘bakkie’ which blows CS powder onto crowds of rioters.
FUBAR – Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.
G1K1: Medically healthy and fit for service, perfect cannon fodder.
G2K1: Healthy but wearing glasses or hearing aid or had bad eyes, physically in good condition – perfect canon fodder too.
G2K2: As above, they thought there may have been something else wrong but did not investigate.
G3K3: Usually asthma sufferers were G3.
G3KFcukedUp – The Infantry slang for a G3.
G4K4: These were soldiers with serious medical problems.
GT: Temporary deferment due to medical grounds.
G5/GP: The army considered you dead, you were of no use to them at all. Medically discharged.
G3 – An older 7,62mm assault rifle made by Heckler and Koch and also known as the R2
Gashfanny – rubbish recepticle on board a ship.
G5 – 155mm Howitzer Artillery – backbone artillery peice of the SADF
G6 – 155mm self propelled gun – also known as the ‘Rhino’
Gatvol – fed up, had enough.
Gemsbok – an armoured recovery vehicle, based on the Casspir mine resistant APC, used by the SA Police.
Geen skerp punt ammunisie, doppies of dele daarvan in my besit nie – Weapons safety phrase in Afrikaans, meaning ” no sharp point ammunition, cartridge cases or parts thereof in my possession’.
Gharrie – Land Rover (from the Arabic word picked up by SA troops in World War Two in the desert.
Gippo / gyppo – taking chances, skiving, getting out of doing something.
Gippoguts – diahorrea / upset stomach
Go Cart – Fibreglass toilet shells which were placed over a hole dug in the ground.
Gogga – SAAF Officers Course phrase for extended period of excercise
Gomgat – Redneck
Goof or Goef – to go for a swim
Goolies – Testicals
Grondseil – ground sheet : forming flooring section of a bivvy / larger tent.
Grootjas / aapjas – long khaki / green serge military greatcoat ( pre 1983 issue).
Grootsak – ( literally ” big bag ” ) : large square rucksack , attaching to webbing harness, for carrying majority of kit ( earlier pattern webgear ). Later pattern, referring to the H frame backpack.
GOS – Afrikaans abbreviation for the English JOC ( Joint Operations Centre ).
Gumba – nickname given to police riot control / mass transit trucks ( SA Police slang ).
Gunner – A private in the artillery.
Gunship – Alouette helicopter with door mounted armament ( also see K Car ).
GV (Grens vegter) – “Border Warrior” – A “Rambo” type.
GV Photo – photo taken of you and/or you and your pals with multiple weapons and your best “Rambo” look
Haak-en-steek – a type of thorn bush
Haasman / Haasvrou – civilian/ member of the public ( SA Police slang ).
Hase – ( plural ) civilians / members of the public ( SA Police slang ).
Hardegat (Afr): Hardassed, stubborn, non conformist.
Heads – Navy…..Toilets.
Heave to – Navy…stop the ship ( has reference to ancient times when the sails were heaved closed or the oars pulled in to stop rowing)
HE – High Explosive
Hindernis Oorsteking – Obstacle crossing.
Hoezit / howzit – Hullo.
Hoofdeksel – i.e. head-gear – beret, hat or helmet
Hoofhek – Main Gate
Hopper – frequency hopping radio
Hot Area – Area with confirmed enemy presence
Hotbox – a rectangular steel container, used to transport hot food from base to the field / to dish food up from in base.
Honey Sucker – A large tank with a pump to empty latrines, sewers and manholes.
Houding – Character, style.
Hundreds – meaning ‘I’m fine’
Hurry up and wait – military sarcasm for been rushed and then doing nothing
Impala – Italian designed Aermacchi MB 326 fighter jet
Impimpi – isiZulu language term for a police informer.
In sy moer – Damaged, destroyed, “buggered” (considered a mild swear word)
Inkata – Inkata Freedom Party
Intel – Intelligence
Intreetoetse – Entry Tests
Isit – meaning ‘is it’ usually a expression of surprise
Jack – Navy….The National Flag which was flown on the prow of the ship and the pole it was hung on was known as a Jackstay…a Jackstay was also any fixed pole on the ship used to secure a line for rigging purporses for example.
Jaff – olive green personal camouflage cream, supplied in tubes.
Jags – sexually aroused ‘horney’
Jam stealer – member of the supply services / logistics corps ( origins : British and Rhodesian military).
Jammy – a ‘car’ from English rhyming slang ‘Jam Jar – car’
January intake: National Serviceman Intake scheduled for January – 2 intakes each year
Jati – a long strip on the border cleared by bulldozer
Jiffy – Condom
Jiffy Bag – Body Bag
Jimmy – member of the Signal Corps ( origins – British military ).
Jimmy – Navy….The First Lieutenant. XO normally (Executive Officer) The Skippers 2 IC. For example Prince Philip was the Jimmy on HMS Whelp before she became the SAS Simon van der Stel.
Jippogat – An avoider of duties.
Jirra – From Afrikaans for ‘Here’ – the Almighty
Jislaaik! – Expression of surprise.
JL’s: Junior Leadership Course – Officer and NCO intensive training.
JOC – Joint Operations Centre ( combined all services command centre / post ).
Jol – To party / have fun
July intake: National Serviceman Intake scheduled for July – 2 intakes each year.
Jungle Bunny – Highly derogatory term for an African
Jumpers – Special heavy boots worn by parabats
Jungle juice – tinned fruit juice concentrate, diluted with water, served at tea breaks / meals.
Junior Rates – Navy….Any sailors from Leasing Seaman downwards (Corporal).
Just Now – a SA phrase meaning ‘I will do it sometime .. just not now .. maybe never’
Kak – Shite, crap, rubbish, nonsense (vulgar)
Kak houding – Bad or shit attitude (vulgar)
Kak off – Shit off (vulgar)
kakgat – a latrine literally ‘shit hole’ (vulgar)
Kakhuis Offisier – Candidate Officer translation meaning ‘Shit House’ or ‘Toilet’ Officer
Kamper – a SADF member performing periodic one to 3 month reserve callups, for ” camps “.
Kanondonkie – ( gun donkey ) a member of the Artillery Corps.
Kaplyn – ( lit. cut line ) reference to cleared strip demarcating the SWA / Angola border.
Kapoen – Kapoen was the beret colour of one of the PSC (Personnel Service Corps) and is best described as a clay shit brown. Kapoen derived because it was “tussen kak en pampoen” (a mixture of shit and pumpkin).
Kas (1) – Prison Cell
Kas (2) – Steel Cupboard
Kateefie – The mixture of tea, coffee and cocao served in galvanised rubbish bins with the condensed milk time chucked in with just the lids removed.
Kay – Kilometer
K Car – nickname for the helicopter gunship derivative of the Alouette III light helicopter.
Kiff – Cool or Great
Killick – Navy…Leading Seaman (Corporal)
Kippie – someone who does basic errands for a more senior NCO or Officer – also known as ‘Kippie the cunt’ as it was not seen as a highly prized role – army sarcasm
Kitskonstabel – derogatory nickname for SA Police special constables.
Klaa aan/on – to be charged with contravening the military disciplinary code
Klaarstaan – time period from sunset to last light, when personnel in operational area bases ” stand-to “, manning perimeter defences.
Klap – To smack / hit.
Klaar – Finish
Klaar in – Report for Duty
Klaar Out – to finish national service or clear out of a unit
KO – Kandidaat Offisier – Candidate Officer abbreviation
Koevoet – The South African Police anti-terrorist unit – translation ‘Crowbar’
Koffiemoffie – slang for a homosexual flight steward
K*nt grabbas – Hands.
Kontak – Contact with the enemy
Kommandant – Lt Colonel
Kop smokkel – lit. ” smuggling with my head “. Confusing / misleading someone.
Korporaal – Corporal
Kort Diens – Short service for 3 to shorten ‘camp’ commitments.
Kos tiffie – alternative nickname for members of the Catering Corps / military chefs.
Kraal – rural communal village / settlement, fenced -in group of traditional African huts.
Kranskakker – rude nickname for members of the SADF Commando reserves ( due to badge design).
Kwaai – Cool, excellent
Kwela kwela – nickname for SA Police riot trucks ( SA Police slang & township ” tsotsitaal ” ).
Kwevoel – mine resistant armoured derivatives of the SADF SAMIL 50 / 100 military truck series.
Kydaar – a derogatory term for a Afrikaaner meaning ‘look there’ – usually given to holidaymakers
Lag – laugh
Landmine stew – derogatory reference to stews made with chopped beef / mutton, bones included.
Langarm – conservative dance style used at military balls
Lapbaadjie – member of the CID / detective branch / plainclothesmen 9 SA Police slang ).
Lance Bomb – ( 1 ) Artillery Corps nickname for lance bombardier rank / eqv : lance corporal.
Lance Bomb – ( 2 ) SA Police nickname for lance sergeant rank / eqv : SADF sergeant.
Lance Jack – nickname for a lance corporal ( British military origin ).
Landmine Chicken – chicken stew
Lank – lots, many
Larny – the boss, main man / something fancy or smart.
Lebbo – a South African of Lebanese origin
Leeukos ( lit.” lion food ” ) – disrespectful term for a senile person ( SA Police slang ).
Lekker – Nice, good, great.
Leopard crawl – field stealth movement, requiring crawling forward in cover, flat on the ground.
Lighty – a young male child / male juvenile…literally, a light-weight.
Light Duty – member placed on limited / restricted activity schedule by a military doctor.
Lighteplighte- Person on Light Duties.
Likkewaan – members of the SA Prisons Service / Correctional Services ( SA Police slang ).
Line – Navy….Any larger rope…a small rope on a whaler for example was called a painter.
Links – Left
LMG – Light Machine Gun ( either a Bren or FN MAG ).
Loadies – uniformed SAAF load masters
Location – an african township
Long drop – latrine trench / pit toilet.
Long Tikkie- method used for making free calls from a telephone booth
Looi – thrash, bomb or get the better of
Loopas March – Double time/on the double
Loopgraaf – trench
Loot – A loot was a lieutenant.
Luitenant – Lieutenant
LSD : Lam, Siek en Dooies ( Lame, Sick & the Dead ) – derogatory term for light duty members.
Lunar Ops – combined SAAF / paratroop COIN operations, by night in Owamboland.
LWT – The transport park
MAG – A 7,62mm belt fed machine gun.
Magsnommer – Force or Service number allocated to all serving members
Makalani palm – indigenous species of palm tree, common to SWA / Angola ops area.
Makorro – traditional African dugout canoe, found in the Caprivi area of SWA.
Mahangu beer – Owambo made home-brewed sorghum beer ( SWA / Angola ops area ).
Mal – mad, crazy, insane
Mampara – Idiot, stupid
Manne – men
Marine – Navy….Seaborne Infantry.
Matelot – Navy Personnel
MBV – Myn Bestande Voertuig – translated to Mine proof vehicle
Meat Bomb – Paratrooper
Meat Pie – Military Policeman.
Menasiespeurder – member employed in police messes ( lit. mess detective ) ( SA Police slang).
Messdeck – Navy….The place you lived, ate and slept.
Mielie – Maize / corn cob
Mik en Drik – translation ‘aim and fire’
Mills Sight – removable sight for mortars
Min Days (English) Min Dae (Afrikaans) – Only a few days left – translated into an ‘attitude’ when nearing the end of service, usually accompanied with a hand signal pushing the pinkie and forefinger fingers closely together in a salute.
Min Gespin – not bothered / couldn`t care less.
Mirage – French designed fighter flown by the SAAF – Dassult Mirage III , F1 AZ & CZ (Flamgatte)
MLOS/MAOT – Mobile Air Operations Team
Muis en Sluitstuk – The breech block and slide of an R1 rifle.
Muggie – gnat / midge / bug
Moegoe – stupid person
Moffel – a mine resistant logistics carrier version of the Buffel APC ( also called a Buffel Bakkie ).
Moffie – male homosexual (derogatory)
Moer – Hit
Moer in – mad, angry
Moering tool – an object used for hammering with ( usually a hammer ).
Moer strip – to become annoyed / be annoyed by someone or something.
Moer-toe – Messed up, destroyed
Moerass Padda – Military Policeman.
Moerse goed – very good or excellent
Mog – nickname for the SADF Mercedes Benz Unimog light utility 4X4 truck.
Mooi Moois – Step outs, as in beret, stable belt, putties and cravat.
Meat Pie – Military Police
MP – Military Police
MPLA – Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola
Mugu – A fool or perhaps more aptly… a useless fool.
Munt – Highly offensive term of an African (Rhodesian slang).
Muntus – Highly offensive term for a group of Africans (Rhodesian slang).
Muti – Medicine, ointment. (Pronounced “mootie”)
MVL/MRL – Multiple Rocket Launcher
NAAFI – Abbreviation for No Ambition And Fuck-all Interest
Naai the beat – To stand guard.
Nagsig – carrots ( fresh or tinned ).
Nasrec – National Recreation Centre from where persons from Johannesburg where mustered for service
NCO – Non Commissioned Officer
NDP /NSM – Nationale Dienspligtige or National Serviceman in English.
Necklacing – Insurgency practice of placing a tyre around a person neck with fuel and lighting it – usually an informant.
NG Kerk – The Dutch Reformed Church, the official religion of the SADF.
Noddy car: Eland 90 armoured car-based on a French Panhard
Nogal – what’s more
Nooit – never
Number 5 – The most popular Ration Pack, it contained a can of Cocktail Sausage.
Nutria – The ‘Brown’ colour used on all SADF combat fatigues
Nyala – armoured riot control vehicle used by the SA Police, succeeding the Casspir APC.
OC – Officer Commanding
OH Drills – Onmiddelikke Handlings drills meaning Immediate action drill in English
Oke – guy
Olifant – mk1B main battle tank
Olifant Ore – ‘Elephant Ears’ dust filters on a helicopter
Om die kakhuis gaan – Punishment – to run around the shithouse.
Omkeer – Command to ‘about turn’
One-liner – a Lance Corporal
Oom – Term of respect for an older man, literal translation ‘uncle’
Oortjies – Little Ears
OP – observation post.
Opfok – literal meaning ‘fuck-up’ – term given to punishment excersise
Oppie – abbreviation of a ‘Opfok’ – term for punishment excersise
Ops – Operations
Ops Medic – Combat Medic with additional training
Ops Room – Operations Room – command control centre
Ops Officer – Commissioned Officers controlling Operations
Oorlog – SADF, or its members ( SA Police slang ).
OS (Ordinary Seaman), however once course qualified they were automatically promoted to AB.
Oshivello – A base inside the operational area in South West Africa
Ou (plural ouens) / oke – Man, bloke
Ouballie / outoppie – Father, old man
Ouman – a veteran SADF conscript, with more than one year`s completed service.
Oumanne – a group of veteran conscripts – literal meaning ‘old men’
Owambo burgers – A meal made from the thick type dog biscuits, vienna sausages and the cheezie, backed in the biscuits tinfoil packaging on a bushfire or esblit. Quite tasty actually.
Owambo piele – Vienna sausages.
Owambo Rico – extremely potent homebrewed liquour, distilled from sap of the makalani palm tree ( SWA / Angola ops. area ).
Paal PT ( ” pole PT ” ) – fitness / punishment physical training , involving use of logs / poles; carried collectively, or individually / used as weights during calesthenics.
Packed out swastikas – running with arms and legs pumping
Pakkie – Package or Parcel
Pap – Maizemeal porridge.
Papa – military signalling terminology for a road ( SWA / Angola theatre ). (eg : die Wit papa ).
Paraat – Well disciplined / has “houding”
Parabat – A parachute battalion member
Pass – permission for a short break to go home
Passout Parade – the parade to dismiss all for a short break to go home
Patrol bag / patrolliesak – a smallish square green canvas utility bag, clipped onto the webbing harness, or carried slung over the shoulder / chest.
Patrol Mortar- 60mm mortar (bubble distance indicator and small foot/base plate)
Pay tiffie : member of the Financial Service Corps / pay clerk.
PB (Afr): Plaaslike Bevolking. Local population.
PB landmine – jagged stumps of trees / shrubs felled for firewood by the local population ( PBs ) in SWA / Angola. Notorious for puncturing vehicle tyres.
PE – Plastic Explosive
Peleton Piel – translation to Bungalow Bill, a person nominally in charge of a platoon / a bungalow.
Pentiffie – member performing admin / clerical duties.
Perdeparade – horse parade
Personeeldiens – Personnel Services
Permanent Force (PF’s) – PF’s where career soldiers
PF – Pickled Fish (Rat pack)
Piemp – rat on
Phillistines – Rhodesians
Pie hole- Mouth
Pikstel – stainless steel interlocking cutlery set.
Pislelie – ( ” pee lilly ” ) – plastic lily / trumpet shaped field urinal pipe, set in sand.
PK, the – affectionate name for the SAS President Kruger which sank in 1982 after colliding with the SAS Tafelberg, 16 lives lost.
PKM – Russian machine gun
Plakkies – sandals ( aka flip-flops, from their sound ).
Plaaslike bevolking (PB’s) – local population
Plat pote – Flat feet
Pluk – State of bliss induced by drugs
PO – Navy….Petty Officer (Sergeant) next one up was CPO known as “Chief”…Chief Petty Officer (Staff Sergeant)
Poephol – arsehole
Poep voer – to fool / trick somebody / take them for a ride. ( lit. ” feed a fart to ..)
Poes (1) – Offensive term for female genetalia
Poes (2) – Offensive insult to someone
Poes Boekies – Photo picture libraries with reference to a woman’s genitals.
Polisiekoffie – brandy and Coke ( SA Police slang ).
POM-Z – a type of mine
Pongo – Sland for Army i.e. where the army goes the pong goes
Porra – Portuguese person
PORG – Person of Restricted Growth i.e a short person.
Port – the left hand side of a ship
Posparade – parade where mail is recieved
Potjie – Traditional open fire stew in a three legged pot
Potjiefakkels – trip flares in small ‘pots’
Pronutro – The Pro Patria Medal awarded for service in a combat zone
PSC/PDK – Personnel Services School/Corps
PT – Physical Training
PTI – Physical Training Instructor
PTSD – Post Traumantic Stress Disorder
Puddle Pirates – South African Navy
Puma – A general purpose helicopter used by the South African Air Force
Pussy Pink – Army issue floor polish
Putco – Super Frelon helicopter
Quartermaster – (1) Person in command of logistics supply operations in a unit ;
Quartermaster – (2) Appointment / muster title : SA Navy.
Quartermaster Store ( QM Store ) – unit logistics / supply storage facility.
R1 – The 7,62mm assault rifle modeled on the FN Rifle.
R4 – The 5,56mm calibre assault rifle modeled on the Israeli Galil.
R5 – The 5,56mm calibre assault rifle – shorter barrel version of the R4.
Raak die draad – to touch the wire. Punishment running up to the fence, touching it and then running back
Ratel 20 – A locally produced armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) armed with a 20mm cannon, 3 X 7,62mm Browning machine guns and 4 smoke launchers. It could carry 8 infantrymen or a section.
Ratel 60 – A IFV with a turret mounted 60mmm mortar. Ratel is the Afrikaans name for a honey badger
Ratel 90 – Also a IFV with mounted a 90mm turret mounted anti-tank gun. Ratel is the Afrikaans name for a honey badger
Rat pack – Ration Pack
Rating – Navy….Any sailor Killick and below also known as Junior Rates.
Rats – Rations
Re-rat – re-rationing to troops in the field
Recce (1) – A member of the Reconnaissance Unit
Recce (2) – the act of reconnaissance
Red Eye – BM – 21 missile
Red Doiby – a red helmet inner worn by personnel on detention or confined to barracks drill
Regs – Right
Regsom – Command for ‘right turn’
Regte Po*s – Regimental Police
REMF – Rear Echelon Mother F*&kr – Non Combat Personell
RENAMO – Mozambique National Resistance
Rev/Revved-usually referred to when a base was attacked by enemy RPGs and mortors
Revetment – a fortified retaining wall
Rhino – G6 – 155mm self propelled gun
Ride Safe / Ry Veilig – national project for personnel on pass to be picked up/ dropped off at designated points by motorists ( random hitchhiking in uniform was prohibited ).
Rinkhals – Armoured mine proof ambulance
Rooikiem – Reg Germ: derogatory term for a regimental policeman
Rioolpyp / Rioolpadda – literally ” drainpipe / drain frog ” : derogatory term for a regimental policeman, based on their RP brassard / armband.
RM-Reaksie Mag-Reaction Force
Robot – a traffic light
Rock – a derogatory term for an Afrikaner
Rockspider – A derogatory term for an Afrikaner.
Romeo Mikes – 101 Battalion’s ‘Reaction Force’
Rondfok – Literally – to be fucked around
Rondom verdediging – All around protection. Encircling an object with troops for protection.
Rondomdom – lit. dumb / stupid all around / in all directions. Indicates total stupidity
Roof – a SADF conscript with less than one year`s completed service, literal meaning ‘scab’.
Roof / Roofie Ride – trip by truck for new intake conscripts, during which they are given a ” shakeup ” with bad driving ( heavy braking / sharp cornering, etc.)
Rooi Gevaar – Meaning ‘red danger’ term given to the ‘Communist Threat’
Rooinek – (red neck) – A derogatory term for an Englishman.
Rooi Oog – alt. Afrikaans nickname for the 122mm Katyusha / Stalin Organ MLRS.
RP’s – Regimental Police
RPD – Russian Machine Gun
RPG – Rocket Propelled Grenade
RSM – Regimental Sergeant Major.
RTU / Return to unit – soldiers not completing training courses at corps schools; returned to unit of origin.
RV – military abbreviation for map grid reference ( read as a series of numbers ).
RZ – military abbreviation for rendezvous ( point ).
SAAF – The South African Air Force
SACC – South African Coloured Corps
SADF – The South African Defence Force.
SAGDOS – The South African Medical Service Training Corps
SAI – South African Infantry
SAM – Sergeant Major
SAM 7- Soviet ground to air weapon
SAMIL – series of general purpose military trucks used by the SADF. Further identified by numbering equalling their tonnage , ie : SAMIL 20 ( 2 tonner ), SAMIL 50 ( 5 tonner ), SAMIL 100
( 10 tonner ).
Samewerking/saamwerk – Co-operation, teamwork.
SAN – South African Navy
Sandbag PT ( ” sandsak PT ” ) – fitness / punishment activity, with participants carrying filled sandbags while running / performing excercises .
SANDF – The South African National Defence Force.
Santa Maria – SADF issue mens underpants
sak – drop
Sak vir tien/vyvfig – Drop for 10/50 pushups.
Sat – Tired, dead (Pronounced “sut”)
Sapper – A private in the Engineering Corps / colloquial term for Engineer Corps members.
Saracen- personnel carrier
Sarmies – Sandwiches
Sausage machine – Mounted on a casspir this machine consisted of two spinning discs which fired rubber bullets which were fed into it like a string of sausages.
SAWI/SADFI – South African Defence Force Industries
Shona or oshona – local name for a dry open area or large pool in Angola
Shosaloza (Zulu) – An African working song popular in the army
Section 8 – Insanity Dischange.
Seven Single – A very large or misformed beret
Shaki – A colour described as being between Shit and Khaki (see Kapoen).
Shilka – Russian made self propelled AA.
Shrapnel – tinned mixed vegetables
Shrapnel Chicken – Shredded chicken.
Sieltiffie / siel mechanic : member of the SADF welfare services .
Sien jy daardie boom? – Do you see that tree? – Military sarcasm which usually meant a punishment run was about to begin
Sif – dirty, does not pass inspection
Sies / “sis” – expression of disgust, disappointment.
Silwer Slyper – ” promotion ” awarded to a Super Slyper, for better ” performance ” ( see below ).
Sitrep – situation report
Sjambok – whip
Skaapdra – carry a heavy weight or ones buddy
Skeef – Crooked, gay.
Skop, skiet en donner – “action – kicking, shooting and beating people up” / action movie.
Skelm – Crook, or secret lover.
Skietbaan Bingo – field punishment, where troops run to target number signboards and back.
Skietbalkie – Shooting medal award – the badge is worn above the name tag
Skietpiet – a member of the Infantry Corps.
Skietgat – The area of the shooting range behind and underneath the targets.
Skietwal – The high earthen wall behind the shooting range
Skinder – Gossip.
Skipper – Navy….the Captain of the ship normally a Commander (Lt Colonel)
Skollie – slang term used in the Cape Province, denoting a criminal / rogue.
Skraal – Very hungry, very thin.
Skrik – Fright.
Skuinsdraad – wire used as an aerial on the B25 (sometimes Claymore wire, very good reception)
Skutter – rifleman / rank equivalent to private in the Infantry Corps.
Sky Pilot – Padre’ or Minister of Religion.
Slapgat – Careless, lazy, a weakling.
Slap tjips – fried chips (as opposed to crisps which are known as chips). Pronounced “slup chips”.
Slap Seiner – derogatory term for a signaller meaning they are not “paraat”
Slops. Navy cash store. Where one can buy spare personal equipment, badges and the like.
Smaak – To like something or someone.
Smaak stukkend – to like something or someone very much.
Smash – dehydrated powdered form mashed potatoes.
SNAFU – Situation Normal All Fucked Up
Snoepie – small shop/tuck shop
Snotklap – to threat to slap someone across the face in such a way that snot will run
Snotneus -The American 40mm M79 grenade launcher.
Snuffeltiffie – member of the Intelligence Corps. Sniffs out information!
Soek Steek Stok – A stick with a wedge shaped tip used to probe for mines.
Sokkiejol – Town Dance
Sommer – For no reason / just because.
Sopboetie – a derogatory term for a Afrikaner – derived from holiday makers in natal minding thier kids heads on street sign-boards
Soutie – a derogatory term for an Englishman – shortened version of ‘Soutpiel’
Soutpiel – A derogatory term for an Englishman – meaning someone with one foot in SA and one foot in the UK and their penis hangs in the ocean – literal ‘salty penis’
Sparker. Sparkey/Sparks – Navy….The Signalman responsible for sending and receiving morse code via radio including encrypted messages, also responsible for monitoring other ships traffic and tracking Non NATO forces.
Spick and Span – Luncheon meat
Spoegbakkie – a small stainless steel drinking cup, without handle, used with the mess tray.
Spook en Diesel – rum and Coke.
Spookloop ( lit. ” ghost walk ” ) – field stealth movement technique, requiring very slow, soft footfalls.
Spookpatrollie – Drill whereby engineers would search for signs of mining on tarred roads in operational areas while in vehicles. Opposite to clearing unsurfaced areas on foot.
SSB – Special Services Battalion, Panzer or Armoured Corps
S&T – Dailey allowance for sustinance and transport
Staaldak – the SADF steel helmet
Staaldak, webbing en geweer – A command to don your Helmet, webbing and rifle
Staan by jou bed! – A command to stand by your bed
Staan Op Troep! – Literally Stand up soldier! Usually used when entering a bungalow of sleeping troops or when entering a room. Always bellowed at the top of the voice.
S Tank – a collapsable rubberised PVC temporary water storage tank, on ground level.
Stalin Organ – truck mounted multiple rocket launcher
Stand to – period before sunrise when a unit is on full stand-by for attack
Starboard – the right hand side of a ship.
Starjumps – part of an opfok
Stasie blompot – derogatory nickname for members of the SA Railways & Harbours Police.
States, the – another name for back home when posted to the operational area i.e. RSA
Steerable – a type of parachute
Stepouts – More formal dress than ‘browns’ or fatigues usually worn in an office environment, on parades or to go on weekend pass
Stig ‘n TB! – Form a TB (Tydelikke Basis or Temporary base).
Stompie (1) – A cigarette end.
Stompie (2) – A squat bottle of beer – Castle or Lion Larger
Stoortiffie / stoorman – members assigned to the Quartermaster Store / Ordnance Supply Corps.
Stopper Group – deployed with an attack group, usually to stop enemy escape
Streef – Strive
Strek – a way of acknowleging higher rank
STRIM – colloquial term applied to enemy rifle grenades.Specific = Yugoslavian made models.
Stryk – iron
Super Cs – energy lozenge sweets, found in ration ( “rat” ) packs.
Superfrelon – Large French manufactured helicopter, also known as the “Putco”
Super Slyper – someone who ducks and dives / sees without being seen / keeps a low profile.
Suurstof dief – Literally an oxygen thief, one who is so sick or such an idiot they are seen as stealing air from the healthy.
SWA – South West Africa, the name formerly given to Namibia.
Swabbies – Navy Personnel
SWAPO – South West African Peoples Organisation.
SWAPO Airforce – Any flying beetle or insects.
Swart Bed – meaning ‘Black Bed’ literally – A bed made up with only a blanket. Usually made on laundry day or when going on pass.
Swart Gevaar – threat of black power or rule
Swerf Wag – Roving sentry
Swerver – mine resistant armoured patrol vehicle, with Landrover engine, used by the SA Railways & Harbours Police, then taken over by the SA Police. Hugely unpopular, due to unreliability.
Takkies – Sneakers
Tampax Tiffie – Slang term for a medic.
Tannie – a term of respect for an older woman – literally ‘aunty’.
Taxis – sections of blanket / similar material , used to shine barracks floors with.
TAZ – Navy….Torpedo Anti Submarine…the Asdic/Radar/Torpedo tracking operators…known as a “TAZ rate”
TB – temporary base ( Afrikaans = tydelike basis ).
Tein Ops – Meaning Coin Ops in English – Teen Insurgensie Operasies or Counter Insurrgency Operations.
Terrs – Terrorists
Terrapins – rooms with mosquito netting instead of windows and a tin roof
Thunderflash – non fragmentation explosive devise also known as a ‘flashbang’ grenade
TIA – Sarcasm for ‘This Is Africa’
Tiekiebox – public telephone
Tiffie – A member of the TSC/TDK (Tegniese Diens Korps/Technical Service Corps).
Tokkeltou – a 5ft. white braided nylon utility rope, with loop and toggle closure, used as a towrope.
Toktokkiegeweer – SA Army 106 mm recoilless gun 9 also known as a ” 106 ” ).
Toppie – an old man
Township – an african suburb or ‘location’
Township Duty – duties performed in a african township, anything from road blocks to riot control
Toyi-toyi – a dance that signifies uprising
Transnet – Formely South African Railways and Harbours
Tree Aan! – Afrikaans command to form a squad
Trek af plak toe – take target down and close the holes – meaning, end the argument and move on
Troep – troop
Trommel – metal military trunk / footlocker
Trompoppies – drum majorettes
Tsotsi – a crook / gangster
Tuckshop – small store or caffeteria
Tune/s – to give someone lip or tell someone something
Two-liner – a full corporal
Uitkak – a telling off – literally ‘shit out’
Uitklaar – procedures surrounding completing military service , demobilisation
Uitpak inspeksie – Afrikaans command for an Inspection where your kit is laid out on your bed.
Uittree – Afrikaans command for Dismiss.
Uitveer Squad – nickname for members of the Security Branch; those who use rubbers to sign their names.
Unimog – two tonne 4×4 general purpose truck
UNITA – National Union for the Total Independance of Angola
US – Unserviceable
VVVVVVV – Navy…If a series of V’s are sent by morse the sending ship is enquiring what ship you are ie what is your callsign. Callsigns were normally 4 letter groups.
Vangwa – police patrol van .
Vaak – ( lit. dozy / sleepy ) : either being tired, or being dozy / ignorant.
Vaakseun – a dozy, dopey chap, slow on the uptake.
Vaaltuin – ( lit. a barren garden ) : somebody boring, drab, dull, unexciting.
Valk – two helicopters flying in loose formation – translation – hawk
Varkpan – stainless steel cafeteria / mess tray
Vasbyt – ( 1 ) ( lit. ” Bite Fast ” ) hang in there, bite the bullet : term of encouragement.
Vasbyt – ( 2 ) name given to a torturous route march at the end of the Junior Leaders courses.
Varkpiel – Portable immersion heater usually plugged into any convenient light socket in a tent or bungalow.
Vasbyter – nickname given to the bullnosed model of the military Bedford truck.
Verberging en Vermoming – Afrikaans phrase for Camouflage and disguise.
Vir Inspeksie, hou geweer! – Afrikaans version of command ” For inspection…present arms !”. Usually used when declaring that there were no rounds in the rifle
Verkramp – Conservative
Vetseun – fat boy
Victor Yankee – Vyand, usually non SWAPO like Cuban Forces.
Vlamgat / Vlammie – nickname given to the Atlas Aviation Impala Mk II ground attack jet.
Vleisbom – Afrikaans slang for a paratrooper.
Vloek – swear
Voertsek – Go away, bugger off.
Volk en Vaderland – a nationalist cry for ‘People and Fatherland’
Volume Control – The castle above a sergeant’s stripes that indicated that they were a staff sergeant.
Vomit Comet – a derogatory nickname for the C47 Dakota transport plane.
Voorste Posisie Af! – This is supposed to be “Voorsteun Posisie Af!” as in “Front Support Position.” This was flat on the ground in preparation for doing pushups.
Voort – forward
Voorwarts Mars – Afrikaans command for Forward march!
Vorm D – The “D” Formation. Used for anti riot operations.
Vrot – Bad, rotten, putrid, sometimes referring to being drunk.
Warrant – abridged address form for the rank of Warrant Officer ( SAAF, SAN and SA Police ).
Wannabe – someone who did not serve or embelishes his service somewhat … a fake.
Wasp – Westland Wasp Helicopter
Water breek – A water break usually used to take a smoke break
Web Belt – The general purpose belt and the the basis of a stripped down webbing
Weerman – Private
Wena – Zulu origin meaning ‘you’
Wet – Navy….An alcoholic drink of any kind..ie “lets go and have a wet”
When-we’s – Rhodesian expats
White gold- toilet paper
Windgat – cheecky or arrogant
Wors – sausage
Woes – wild, untidy, unkempt, unruly, agitated
Wolf- similar to a Casspir
WSK – Army Sports Complex
Wussies – whimps
Wyk – area
Yatti – strip of cleared ground 5 kilometres north and south of the SWA / Angola international border; originally demarcating a foot and mouth disease control corridor.
Yebo – Zulu origin meaning ‘yes’
Yellow Mellow – Township nickname given to Police Casspir vehicles because of their yellow paint
Ysterbaadjie – SAP Uniform Branch member; derived from the tunic worn ( SA Police slang ).
Ystervark – ( Porcupine ) light anti-aircraft gun mounted on a modified Bulldog APC chassis.
Zaarm – A sandwich.
Zap Sign – a rude gesture
Zol – Handmade marijuana cigarette rolled with old newspaper or paper.
2,4 – “Two comma four” kilometer run – The standard army fitness test.
40 days – Based on the popular song by Cliff Richard, it referred to the long awaited time when a soldier had 40 days left before demobilizing.
50 Browning – Pronounced “five oh”. The .50 Cal Browning heavy machine gun.
1000 ft colour/illumination flare-hand held
B 25 – radio
A 53 – VHF radio
A 72 – ground to air radio
Photo courtesy Luciano Lorenzi, taken of him in 1983 whilst a photographer at TDK 1981-1983