A takkie is not tacky

18 November 2014 // Posted by

By Vanessa Northing

I’m certainly no advertising exec. I don’t have trendy hipster glasses, nor am I an expert at sniffing out coffee variations. I am, however, a consumer and a follower of news and cool stuff.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending how you look at it) I have a dreaded fear that we are ‘Americanising’ everything. Case and point: I recently spotted a billboard in Cape Town advertising sneakers. WTF are sneakers? Nonsense, we wear takkies. Good old takkies. Surely, the proud nation that we are, our advertising execs would shy away from such blatant American colloquialism.

These darn sneakers plagued me, so much so that I began an investigation into the word takkies with a phone call to my 70 year old mother: “Mom, what do you call takkies in English? I know Dad calls them gympoms, but that’s not an actual word, so what is it then?” Silence on the other end – and my mom’s not even deaf yet, not even close! “Umm, good question love. I think we used to call them tennis shoes or trainers,” her voice swishing a bit posh.

But here’s how I feel: Please stop shoving your stuff down our throats! Take back your processed hamburgers and skinny ‘fries’! Take back your degrading hip-hop and meaningless lyrics! Take back your awesome sneakers! How they crept into my world, god only knows. In fact, you can have Halloween back too!

What’s your favourite South African word? Mine is skattebol, but for the next good long while, it’s going to be TAKKIES.