Rhodesia - Intaf

Callsign - Lighthouse

Rhodesian Slang

As with most armed forces a unique language develops from the humour and background of the men in uniform.  It is used by everybody and becomes a part of day to day speech.  The following list of sayings is included to give a representation.  Some odd expressions may have crept onto this website and the reader will be able to understand the meaning from the list.  As a result of the fact that several South Africans were recruited into the RLI some Afrikaans words were borrowed and were used on a daily basis by people who had no knowledge of Afrikaans at all.  Hence, most sentences ended with the words "Ek se", meaning "I say".

Agitate the gravel - Lets go.  Leave the place.

Avo - Avocado pear.

Ag shame - expression of sympathy.

APA - African Purchase Area.  Farmland owned and worked by Africans.  Whites were prohibited from farming in the APAs.

Bowl us the ages ek se - What is the time?

Bundu / gangen - the bush, the countryside.

Bi 'scope - cinema. 

Babalas - a hangover, state of inebriation.


Blerrie –   derivative of 'bloody'.

Bobojan - monkey.

Brookies –  panties/knickers. 

Charity glide to society - Free lift to town.

Chune (some people spell this as "tune") - To tell somebody something.

Chibuli / Shumba - beer.

Civvie sitrep - News on the commercial radio.

Connection - Friend.

Culling -  Killing terrs.

Chibulie - Castle or Lion lager

Chick - girlfriend

China - friend (from the Cockney 'china plate' = mate)

Check you – see you (goodbye)

Donga - A ditch (from Afrikaans).

Flat dog - Crocodile.

Few - Little / small.

Frantan – Napalm (literally ‘Frangible Tank’).

Freds – Frelimo.

Fundi – Expert – (Shona).

Gat - Rifle.

Gomos - Hills

Gook - Terrorist (from the Vietnam War era)

Goose / bird - Girl / girlfriend.

Gunge - Horrible / dirty / bad.

Gangeni - The bush.

Graze / chow / nosh / grub - Food.

Hanna hanna - Fuss / problem.

Hondo – War, conflict (Shona)


Is it? - Comment made when replying to any statement made in a conversation.

Jawl (from the Afrikaans (jol) - Play / have a good time.

Jesse - thick thorn scrub

Jive / jet / split - Leave / go.

Katunda / kit - Personal equipment.

Kife - steal something.

Kopjie - Hill (from Afrikaans)

Kraal – African Village

Lemon - Nothing there.  Normally used to describe an operation or patrol which produced nothing.

Long - Many / much / a lot.

MMWC - The leader / person in charge.  (Main man what counts).

Mellows - Music.

Mielie – Maize cobs

Mujiba – Young insurgent supporter, their ‘eyes and ears’(Shona)

Muti - Medicine of any description.

Mushi / cool / beauts / heavy - Really nice / good.

Mushi sterek - Really nice / good.

Ouen - Fellow / bloke / chap.

Put your slayer onto sing - Put your LMG/rifle on automatic.

Pulled a fade - Failed to do something / did not arrive at an appointed destination.

Slot - To kill (He slotted a terr).

Smaak - Like something (from the Afrikaans word).

Start/shekels/bucks - Money.

Snyd - Cheated.

Scheme- Think.

Sitrep – Situation Report

Sunray – Code for commander

Tadza - Mistake

Terr – Terrorist

Throw some sky into my rounds - Put air in the tyres of a vehicle.

TTL – Tribal Trust Land

Vlei – Open grassland (Afrikaans)

UDI – Unilateral Declaration of Independence, declared by Rhodesia on 11th November 1965

Work us a glide - Give me a lift.

Yellow bird - The sun