Saying Hello in Several African Languages

Part of the thrill of foreign travel is experiencing another country’s culture, and the best way to do that is to interact with the local people. Communicating can be difficult in Africa, a continent with between 1,500 and 2,000 African languages. But even a few words or phrases go a long way, and the best place to start is at the beginning – with ‘hello’. In this article, we look at some of the greetings used across the continent, organized by country to make the list easy to navigate.

Most African nations employ countless different greetings, with each one representing a different race, people or tribe. Here, I’ve listed the most commonly used greetings, some of which may be repeated from one country to the next.

How to Say “Hello” in:

Angola

Portuguese: Olá (Hello)

Bom dia (Good morning)

Boa tarde (Good afternoon)

Boa noite(Good evening)

 

Botswana

Setswana: Dumela mma (Hello to a woman)

Dumela rra (Hello to a man)

 

Burkina Faso

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Mossi: Ne y yibeogo! (Good morning)

Dyula: ​I ni sogoma (Good morning)

Cameroon

French: Bonjour (Hello)

 

Cote d’Ivoire

French: Bonjour

 

Egypt

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

 

Ethiopia

Amharic: Teanastëllën (Hello, formal)

Tadiyass (Hello, informal)

 

Gabon

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Fang: M’bole (Hello to one person)

M’bolani (Hello to several people)

 

Ghana

Twi: Maakyé (Good morning)

 

Kenya

Swahili: Jambo (Hello)

Habari (How’s it going?)

 

 

Lesotho

Sesotho: Lumela (Hello to one person)

Lumelang (Hello to several people)

 

 

Libya

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

 

Madagascar

Malagasy: Salama (Hello)

M’bola tsara (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

 

Malawi

Chichewa: Moni (Hello)

 

Mali

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Bambara: I ni ce (Hello)

 

Mauritania

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

Hassaniya: Aw’walikum (Hello)

 

Morocco

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

 

Mozambique

Portuguese: Olá (Hello)

Bom dia (Good morning)

Boa tarde (Good afternoon)

Boa noite (Good evening)

 

Namibia

Afrikaans: Hallo (Hello)

Oshiwambo: Mwa lele po (Hello)

 

Nigeria

Hausa: Sànnu (Hello)

Igbo: Ibaulachi (Hello)

Yoruba: Bawo (Hello)

 

Rwanda

Kinyarwanda: Muraho (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

 

Senegal

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Wolof: Nanga def (How are you?)

 

Sierra Leone

Kriol: Kushe (Hello)

 

South Africa

Zulu: Sawubona (Hello)

Xhosa: Molo (Hello)

Afrikaans: Hallo (Hello)

 

Sudan

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

 

Swaziland

Swati: Sawubona (Hello)

 

Tanzania 

Swahili: Jambo (Hello)

Habari (How’s it going?)

 

Togo

French: Bonjour (Hello)

 

Tunisia

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

 

Uganda

Luganda: Oli otya (Hello)

Swahili: Jambo (Hello)

Habari (How’s it going?)

 

Zambia

Bemba: Muli shani (How are you?)

 

Zimbabwe

Shona: Mhoro (Hello)

Ndebele: Sawubona (Hello)

 

 

 



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