Our nickname is Maties, but what does it mean?

Elze Goosen

There are multiple theories about our nickname, Maties. The two most well-known being the following: We became known as Maties because of the maroon tops that our rugby players wore which, to our rivalries, made us look like “tamaties”, or tomatoes; the other theory states that it is a diminutive of the Afrikaans word “maat” which means “mate”. Here are a few Maties’s theories:

Ceska Haff, tweedejaar BA-drama

“Ons is kleurvol en slim soos Smarties.”

Danielle Gradwell, second year BA

“It comes from the culture of everybody coming together and being mates.”

Derrick Lategan, eerstejaar Bcom AW

“Daar was seker lank gelede ’n bekende tamatieboer in Stellenbosch.”

Kumien Senekal, derdejaar Bcom AW

“Ons is almal maatjies.”

Lisa Kirsten, vierdejaar BCom-regte

“Maties is ons alma mater.”

Julia van der Westhuyzen, second year Bsc Molecular Biology

“RRR Maties! I thought it was the “maties” of a pirate ship.”

Sebastian Dorrington, vierdejaar Bedryfsingenieurswese

“Dit kom seker van Matie melk af?”

Casey Mkhata, first year Social Work

“Our colour is maroon and it is really close too red and Matie sounds like tamaties so we are all little maroon tamaties.”

Karlien Kriel, eerstejaar Onderwys

“Is dit nie die Latynse woord vir kuier nie?”

Chloe Turner, second year Social Work

“Nobody knows, but that is what we call ourselves. We need to redefine what being a Maties means to us–we need clarity.”


Photos: Elze Goosen

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