Playing the military card with Saafer / Zimmer

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Mr Happy, May 4, 2010.

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  1. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    I've got a meeting next week with a guy that is either South African or Zimbabwean (sp?) and want to do two things...

    1. Find out which he is and
    2. Play the "old military card" with him if relevent.

    We both work in same company and are both in our 40's so I suppose he ould be ex SADF or similar, is there a converstion opener that could manage both 1 and 2 above?

    Something like "Did you ever use the R4" (ergo military) and "did it have the folding butt" (ergo South African) though I made that last bit up...

    any ideas?

    Its not crucial but I keep coming across these guys and don't have a "opener" from which to lead on....

    Sales guys eh, who wants em....

    For example for Kiwi's and Aussies I use a Rugby question to see where they came in the last world cup and from there can discern the race without having the ask the stupid obvious are you an aussie or kiwi mate question. For military it so rarely occurs but I figure with an African there is a much higher chance they served.

    Abuse welcome..
  2. In his fortys, that would mean he was about ten at the end of the Rhodesian war
    Ask him if he knows this bloke

    Attached Files:

  3. ask him about brais/Bbq's and beer.

    as tropper said, ages would make Rhodesian mil service unlikely

    SADF Military service is a delicate issue as there was conscription, so maybe won't be automatically proud of what he did (seen this with one client who was on Operation Protea - referred to at as different life and shut down any questions)

    Of course, for part one:
    If he's arrogant and cocky, he's a saffie
    if he's arrogant and subdues, he's a zimbo
    and if he whines a lot then he's a 2nd or 1st generation pommie ;)
  4. Have you checked if he's on
  5. why don't you just ask him?????
  6. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    697 blokes on linked in with the same name.,

    understand re SADF, I've met both proud and shruggers reference their service. I understand why.

    Understood re Rhodesian Army etc.

    Any other thoughts, Rugby again could identify but its a bit obvious as obviously one team one the world cup and one team didn't play (AFAIK).
  7. When I meet white Africans I always end up asking them if they speak any of the local lingoes just as a matter of interest. There is always overlap but its almost certainly going to be the following :

    Shona / Ndebele = Zimbabwean.

    Xhosa = South African.

    Edit : it would probably be a more natural approach as well because you could then lead into the whole military service thing by going further and asking about conscription or something like that. Its a natural progression.
  8. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Because when establishing relationships it pays to make an impression. If you think back 10 years and remember the people you only met once or twice, you'll remember certain people and have forgotten others. If you think about the people you remember that you only met once or twice it may be the incisive taxi driver, the mate of mate that cracked a great joke, the barman that remembered exactly what was in your round the second time you went to the bar and then all evening or the colleague that didn't ask you like all the other idiots in the office, are you a kiwi or an australian mate? (insert relevant bone question here).

    I try to do the same. It makes being remembered easier and of course helps in remembering them..
  9. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Bonza mate, that's going to go great. Thanks very much. Now I just need to learn how to pronounce those names. I'll remember is X(hosa) and Z(imbabwe) are at the end of the alphabet.

    Edited to add: But I'm not sure how to answer if he asks the natural question, which is "Xhosa, why, do you?"
  10. The closest I've ever come to saying "Xhosa" correctly was "Kosa" with a really hard K.

    You just tell him that you picked up that nugget of information from somewhere and now you're wondering how fluently the white people tend to speak it, seeing as almost all the White South Africans speak at least a smattering of Afrikaans as well as English and vice versa.

    Edit : then you think aloud about how there must be plenty of buggers who speak the languages fluently because there always seems to be plenty of whites in the military, and knowing the language would be unavoidable... how do you know about that? Well pictures and stuff keep popping up, and Saffas and Zim are not exactly unheard of in British service. You've seen the stuff on youtube about Rhodesian fire force etc. Why were you looking at that? Well you're ex Army...
  11. Isn't Xhosa properly pronounced with a click? I think it's Xhosa that has four distinct clicks in the language.
  12. I know its got clicks but I cant do them. I just say it my way and they know what I mean.