The home of tsamayas and shibobo
© AFP

Football may often be called the universal language, but when you are in South Africa, there is a certain terminology you need to know to ensure an unforgettable experience in the Rainbow Nation.

Most of the country's football lingo is borrowed from township slang or ikasi lingo as the locals fondly refer to it. This can be traced back to the 1950s when football was played predominantly in the townships in South Africa, although it has to be noted that the beautiful game also has roots throughout the rest of the nation.

South Africa is highly culturally diverse with no fewer than 11 official languages, though football fans across the country do pride themselves at discussing the sport in a way that transcends cultural boundaries. To get in the act yourself, just start referring to football as idiski and listening out for cries of ishibobo (nutmeg) and tsamaya (a breath-taking piece of skill).

Among South Africa's leading purveyors of tsamaya was Jomo Sono, a player endowed with superb dribbling skills and a knack for scoring outrageous goals. Tsamayas also featured heavily in the early 1990s, the heyday of South African masters of dribble such as Doctor Khumalo, Shakes Kunguane and the generation which powered to victory at the CAF African Cup of Nations in 1996.

Nowadays, leading the Bafana Bafana charge in midfield and always ready to throw in a dash of both tsamaya and shibobo are Teko Modise and Steven Pienaar. And should the gifted pair manage to find the net against Vicente de Bosque's Spain, those in the stadium are sure to hear the shout ladduuumaa reverberating around the ground, followed by the distinctive sound of the vuvuzela - which for many has come to epitomize the matchday experience here at South Africa 2009.

Fancy mingling with the locals after the game? Then why not ask your hosts for directions to a sheeben or a tarven, where you can fine-tune your dance moves and listen to a typical genre of South African music called kwaito - which is similar to hip-pop but with a slower, more laid-back tempo. And once the night is over and you wish to bid farewell to your new-found friends, remember to say "sharp, sharp" before you make your way home.