Potchefstroom is Tannie territory – and what is a Tannie – the Afrikaans word Tannie means “Aunty” but you can use this word for anybody – just like the Hungarian “neni” – it seems like once you get married and have kids – you automatically qualify as a Tannie.

And so people call me Tannie as well – “Gooeie more Tannie” which immediately makes me feel OOOLD – Tannie Anna – eish – this sounds terrible – even worse than Mevrou Coetzee – which I can never get used to either.

Here in Potch – wherever you go you find Tannies – in the shopping mall, in the Bult, at the university, they are everywhere.

Here is some more to explain what tannies are all about in the SA Rocks blog:

The Tannies promised proper boerekos and my goodness, that’s what we got. In Afrikaans, there is an expression, or rather a phrase, to list all the things you should traditionally find on a plate of boerekos, namely: “vleis, rys, aartappels en pampoen” (meat, rice, potatoes and pumpkin). And although this is more a figure of speech than an exhaustive list, indicating that there must be meat, starch (lots of!) and vegetables, the tannies took it literally. After much talking and laughing in the the kitchen, savouring the delicious smells wafting through the house, with Tannie Joan on meat detail, Tannie Naomi on vegetable detail and Tannie Vonkie on washing-up detail, lunch was finally served. Each plate included roast chicken, roast leg of lamb, fluffy white rice to soak up the lamb gravy, crispy roast potatoes, pumpkin fritters with a sweet syrup, and boereboontjies (crushed green beans). There were no foams, granitas, tians or cappuccinos; there was no fancy plating with drizzles of balsamic reduction; there were no clever combinations of texture or fusion foods. But sitting in the lounge and eating my boerekos off my lap, surrounded by these lovely Tannies and their bubbling laughter, I had one of the most deeply satisfying meals I have had in years. On that plate were the echoes of an entire childhood of Sunday lunches, the loving touch of a thousand Afrikaans mothers just like mine, and the taste of home. One mouthful is all it took to find myself – and I find myself undeniably, irrevocably South African. Thank you Tannie Joan, Tannie Naomi and Tannie Vonkie.

Tannies can get really overwhelming – as you can gather from Oom Koos Kombuis ‘s song, “Sommige ou Tannie Blues” – (Lyrics in Afrikaans). Ok he goes a bit overboard in the song – he must’ve had some real bad experiences that made him write such a song…

During the Aardklop festival I normally get Tannie overdose – since we normally have a tent on the festival grounds – where there is no end to all the koeksisters & braais – so much so – that I renamed this annual event “Tannie festival”.

Tannies are everywhere – every culture has its tannies, aunties, “neni’s” – one thing is sure – they might be overwhelming sometimes – but they are also the ones that keep things together in most families around the world ….