How to say “Cheers!” in a different way this Festive Season

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Saying “Cheers!” the South African way

Beer culture in a Sociable World

How to say “Cheers!” the South African way

Because South Africa has 11 official languages, it’s only natural that we would have many different ways of saying “cheers!” Try saying this salute in a different way this festive season.

A “Cheery” History

The word “cheers”, or in Medieval times “cheres”, is derived from the Anglo-French word for “the face” and goes hand in hand with toasting special occasions. By the late 14th century “cheres” had evolved to “cheere” and came to mean a mood that was reflected in the face. By the 18th century, it had come to mean gladness and it was used to show support and encouragement. Considering that beer is something we drink in both celebration and lamentation, it’s hardly surprising that “cheers” eventually became a part of the toasting ritual.

11 Ways to Say “Cheers!”

Because our beers are the preferred choice of the moderate and responsible drinker in South Africa, we create many opportunities to be cheery, and indeed, use the word “cheers!” South Africa is also a country that is rich with diversity and all the people who stay in this sunny country have a unique story to tell. A story of culture, deep roots, tradition and pride. We also have 11 official languages – English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Northern Sotho, Venda, Tsonga, Swati and Ndebele – which lends to the nation’s unique flair and flavour.

A Sociable Nation

There is also no denying that South Africa is a sociable, friendly nation, with a diversity of personality types. We are people that like socialising, and because our weather is so close to being perfect, you can find us frequenting our beautiful beaches, the bush, or simply having a braai with friends and family while supporting any one of our national sports teams. These activities and occasions are often coupled with enjoying an ice-cold SAB beer and truly South African cuisine, amplified by one word: “cheers!”

Here are just some of the ways in which South Africans say “cheers!”

  • “Gesondheid!” – Afrikaans
  • “Awe!” – African vernacular, especially amongst 20-somethings
  • “Nqa!” – Sesotho
  • “Oogy wawa” – Zulu
  • “Impilo!” – Xhosa
  • “Pholo e ntle!” – Tswana

This festive season, why not try saying “cheers!” in a language other than your own, embracing the many different cultural nuances that go hand in hand with moderate consumption, relaxation, having a fabulous time with friends and family and celebrating the amazing culture that we have the privilege of being part of.

What Does Yours “Cheers!” Sound Like?

What does “cheers!” sound like in your language? Help us add to our list by commenting on this post.



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