In South Africa, like in many other African countries, age is a very important factor that guides social relations, especially when it comes to making sure that young people are respectful to older people. Depending on your age there is always a word, formal or informal, to describe a youngster, no matter the language or culture you are from.

For many Capetonians, the word laaitie is that word. It is a South African slang word derived from Afrikaaps.  According to Urban Dictionary it means a child, usually a young boy, but the meaning can also extend to a person who is in an inferior position to you. Some examples of how it can be used:

“Hey, my laaitie, where are you going?” (Asking a young boy)

“I’m so proud of my laaitie,” (Proud of a son)

“Die laaitie na!” (Scolding a young child) 

Tell us: What slang word do you use for people younger than you in your culture?