A Beginner’s Guide To The AfroWelsh

Around about this date nine years ago I moved to Johannesburg from the UK.

My wife still thinks I did this so we could have a better standard of living, get married, have kids and generally set up the life we have now.

The truth is, however, that I was approached by the South African embassy and asked if I’d be willing to relocate in order to make room for the one remaining South African not yet living in London to take my place. It seems immigration was being handled like a car park on match day – one in, one out. Some money changed hands and off we went.

OK so I made that up.

The money bit. Everything else is true.

Which leads me nicely into some other things that were (and remain) true. Ladies and Gentlefolk, I present the Beginner’s Guide To The AfroWelsh (which was my first ever blog post in 2008).


Afrowelsh (n) – one who has forsaken the land of my fathers for sunnier climes.

Yep, that’s me alright – I’ve got the sunburn to prove it.

After eighteen months of extensive field research in the greater Johannesburg area I’ve realised that the transition from valley to vaal has been smoother than expected and only requires a couple of small lifestyle changes.

This handy seven step guide is for those who will undoubtedly follow in my footsteps to grow the AfroWelsh nation.

Step 1
In conversation replace tidy with lekkerbutty with boet and ‘ow ur ‘ewe with howzit.

Step 2
Learn a new anthem and sing it with passion, gusto and pride safe in the knowledge that as is the case with the anthem of your birth you have absolutely no idea what half of it actually means in English.

Step 3
When watching rugby focus mainly on winter games from Newlands. With the sound turned down and a warm can of milk stout in hand you could be at a Wednesday night game in Aberavon.

Step 4
Learn to smile when being referred to as an engelsman (I find using a mental image of Scott Gibbs scoring at Wembley often helps)

Step 5
When waiting for anything at all “now now” is exactly the same span of time you would allow for “now in a minute”. “Just now” could take longer.

Step 6
Take the time to embrace languages which at first are foreign to you – there’s a whole world of swearing waiting to be discovered.

Step 7
Avoid a social faux-pas by remembering that the burnt pork sausages of your youth are not acceptable fare at a braai. Under any circumstances.

Got it? Tidy!….I mean lekker or kief or something.

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