Pretoria is known as the neighbor to the city of dreams and fast paced living Johannesburg, although the two may be regarded as two halves of a whole “Gauteng” they could not be more different, Pretoria is in its own lane. Based on the culture and vibe of the city it might as well be a country on its own, from the unique locals to the versatile yet calm way of life. But truth be told the one thing that truly makes this place stand out is the fact that it is the birth place of one of the most infamous languages to be recognized in our country today known as Spitori.

This language is commonly used in townships and has been in use for years now dating back to the days of tsotsi taal. It is a mixture of Setswana and Sepedi also borrowing some words from tsotsi taal and other languages, the language has still recently been used soley by Pretoria residents but has gained great momentum and sudden fame thanks to social media platforms such as Twitter starting the challenge #LearnSpitori. It quickly became a sensation amongst fellow South Africans with everyone now taking part in both learning and teaching, also all agreeing that it is what all the cool kids are doing now.

The exact etymology of Spitori is unknown it is just another informal language formed by it’s natives which are mainly Pretoria based people. Just as tsotsi taal is an informal language that was formed to speak in certain code and as a way of identification amongst thugs spitori was also formed in the same manner but soon became a way of life. Something every resident soon grew to know and has now become a 12th unofficial language to the Pretoria residents.

Usually in terms of direct translation the words don’t make much sense but to those who have been using this language for years and have lived in or around Pretoria long enough they are quite easy to decipher. A few examples are as follows:


Jacket – R10

Chalko- R20

Five jacket -R50

Klipper -R100


Common words:

Lepyatla – Direct translation: none
                       S’pitori meaning: A beautiful/attractive woman

Mbore hapeDirect translation: Bore me again
                            S’pitori meaning: I am not interested in this conversation

SkepaDirect translation: unknown
                 S’pitori meaning: one-night stand /sleepover

Die M/ Mamazala/ Ol’ladyDirect translation: unknown
                                                            S’pitori meaning: Motherly figure

O desseDirect translation: none
                     S’pitori meaning: you are a cool person

MogwanthiDirect translation: none
                             S’pitori meaning: a loose girl

We may not be as crazy or as fast paced as most but truth be told Pretoria is unique and innovative in its own way.  Its residents have proven not to care at what pace the world is moving they choose to move at their own and create a whole new way of communicating while they’re at it. So do yourself a favour and learn S’pitori oska sala morao bosso(don’t get left behind).



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    November 13, 2018

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