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How to say “hello” in Sundry African languages per country

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A greeting is time and again the initial point of call for human communication, and should be the first phrase you learn from any foreign language. Opening a conversation with a greeting is polite and shows willingness to communicate. Communicating can be difficult in Africa, a continent with over 1500 and 2000 African languages. However, don’t be nervous about saying “hello” as the effort will usually be appreciated even if you don’t get it quite right! 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 African 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.

Learning how to greet others in many languages is both rewarding and fun, so here’s a handy list of how to say “hello” in sundry African languages per country; some of which may be repeated from one country to the next. However, where multiple languages are spoken, only the official or most prominent language is included:

Check-out how to say “Hello” In…

Algeria

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

Berber/Tamazight: Azul (Hello), sbah Lkhir (Good morning), ms lkhir (Good afternoon), ms lkhir (Good evening)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Angola

Portuguese: Olá (Hello), Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Umbundu: Wakolapo (Hello to an individual) Wakolipo (Hello to more than one person, Utanya uwa (Good morning), Ekumbi liwa (Good afternoon), Uteke uwa (Good evening), Uteke uwa (Good night)

Kikongo: Mbote na yo (sg) Mbote na bino (pl) Sango nini (Hello), Boyei bolamu (welcome), Mbote (Good morning, Afternoon and Evening)

Benin

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Yoruba: Ẹ n lẹ (Hello), Ẹ ku aarọ (Good morning), Ẹ ku ọsan (Good Afternoon), Ẹ ku alẹ (Good evening)

Fon/Gbe: Bawo Ni (Hello (informal))

Botswana

Setswana: Dumela mma (Hello to a woman), Dumela rra (Hello to a man)

English: Hello

Burkina Faso

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Mossi: Ne y yibeogo! (Good morning)

Dyula: I ni sogoma (Good morning)

Burundi

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Kirundi: Amahoro – peace, widely used as greetins (reply: n’amahoro)

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Habari (How’s it going?)

Cabo verde

Cape verde creole/ Portuguese: Olá (Hello), Bom dia (good morning), Boa tarde (good afternoon), Boa noite (good evening)

Cameroon

French: Bonjour (Hello)

English: Hello

Central African Republic

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Sangho/ Sango: Balao madame (Hello ma’m), Balao monsieur (Hello sir)

Chad

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Arabic: Salaam wa alekoum. (Peace be with you)

Comoros

Comorian/ Shikomori: Gege (Hello / how are you?)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Arabic: Salaam wa alekoum. (Peace be with you)

Cote d’Ivoire

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Dioula: I (a) ni sɔgɔmo (Good Morning), I (a) ni woula (Good Afternoon), I (a) ni suu (Good evening)

Democratic Republic of Congo

Lingala: Mbote (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Tshiluba: Betu’abu (Hello)

Djibouti

Afar: Assalaamu qaleykum or Nagayna sin amol tanay (Hello)

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

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Somali: Iska warran (Hello)

Egypt

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

Equatorial Guinea

Spanish: Hola. (Hello. /Hi. )

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Fang: M’bole (Hello to one person), M’bolani (Hello to several people)

Portuguese: Olá (Hello), Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Eritrea

Tigrigna/Tigrinya: Selam (Hello.)

English: Hello

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)

Gambia

Mandingo/Mandinka: Esama (Good morning), Etinyang (Good afternoon), Ewulara (Good Evening)

Pulaar: No ngoolu daa. (Hello)

English: Hello

Wolof: Na nga def (Hello (sg)), Na ngeen def (Hello (pl))

Ghana

English: Hello

Twi: Maakyé (Good morning), Maaha (Good afternoon), Maadwo (Good evening)

Guinea-bissau

Portuguese: Olá (Hello), Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Guinea

Pulaar: No ngoolu daa. (Hello)

Maninka: I ni sooma (Good morning), I ni wura (Good evening), I ni tele (Good afternoon)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Kenya

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Habari (How’s it going?)

English: Hello

Kikuyu: Wĩmwega (Hello), Ngeithi cia rũcinĩ (Good morning), ngeithi cia mũthenya (Good afternoon), ngeithi cia hwainĩ (Good evening)

Luhya: Bushire (Good morning), Keshitare (Good afternoon), Bwakhera (Good evening)

Luo: Misawa/Ber (Hello), Oyawore (Good morning), Oimore (Good evening)

Lesotho

Sesotho: Lumela (Hello to one person), Lumelang (Hello to several people)

English: Hello

Zulu: Sawubona (Hello to an individual), Sanibonani (Hello to more than one person)

Xhosa: Molo (Hello to one person), Molweni (Hello to more than one person)

Liberia

English: Hello

Mende: Bisse (Hello)

Libya

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

Italian: Ciao (Hello), Buongiorno! (Hello; Good morning; Goodbye), Buona sera! (Hello; Good evening; Goodbye)

French: Bonjour (hello, good morning), Bonsoir (good evening)

English: Hello

Madagascar

Malagasy: Salama (Hello), M’bola tsara (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Malawi

Chichewa: Moni (Hello)

English: Hello

Mali

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Bambara: I ni ce (Hello)

Mauritania

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

Hassaniya: Aw’walikum (Hello)

Mauritius

Mauritania creole: Bonzur (Hello)

English: Hello

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Hindi: Namasthae (Greetings)

Morocco

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

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Berber: Azul (Hello-informal), Tifawin (Good morning), Timensiwin (Good evening)

Mozambique

Portuguese: Ola (Hello), Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Makhuwa: Salaama (Hello)

Namibia

English: Hello

Afrikaans: Hallo (Hello) or Goeie dag (Hello)

Oshiwambo: Mwa lele po (Hello)

German: Hallo (Hello), Guten Morgen (Good morning), Guten Abend (Good evening)

Niger

Fulfulde: Mihofnima (Hello!)

Hausa: Sannu (Hello)

Tamasheq: Wayi wan (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Nigeria

English: Hello

Hausa: Sànnu (Hello)

Igbo: Ibaulachi (Hello)

Yoruba: Bawo (Hello)

Fula: Sannuko (Hello), Jam na? (How are you?), Useko (Thank you)

Rwanda

Kinyarwanda: Muraho (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

English: Hello

Sao Tome and principe

Portuguese: Ola (Hello), Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Sãotomense: Seja lovadu! (Hello)

Senegal

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Wolof: Nanga def (How are you?)

Pulaar: No ngoolu daa. (Hello)

Mandinka: I ni sooma (Good morning), I ni wura (Good evening), I ni tele (Good afternoon)

Seychelles

English: Hello

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Seselwa/Seychellois creole: Allo (Hello), Bonzour (Good morning)

Sierra Leone

English: Hello

Krio: Kushe (Hello)

Somalia

Somali: Iska warran (Hello)

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

Oromo: Naqaa? (Hello)

South Africa

Zulu: Sawubona (Hello)

Xhosa: Molo (Hello)

Afrikaans: Hallo (Hello)

English: Hello

Sudan

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

South Sudan

Dinka: Cë yïn bääk (Hello (Singular))

English: Hello

Neur: Malɛ (Hello (singular))

Bari: Madaŋ/Do a purwe/Do a parana (Hello (singular))

Zande: Sene foro (Hello (singular)), Sene fu roni (Hello (Plural))

Swaziland

Swati: Sawubona (Hello)

English: Hello

Tanzania

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Habari (How’s it going?)

Akamba: Uvoo waku?(how are you? To one person), Uvoo Wenyu? (How are you? To a group of people)

English: Hello

Togo

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Ewe: Alekay (Hello)

Tunisia

French: Bonjour (Hello)

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

Uganda

Luganda/Ganda: Oli Otya (Hello)

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Habari (How’s it going?)

English: Hello

Acoli: Itye nining? (Hello)

Zambia

English: Hello

Bemba: Muli shani (How are you?)

Kaonde: Muji byépi? (How are you?)

Lozi: Lumela (Hello (sg)), Mlumeleng (Hello (pl))

Zimbabwe

English: Hello

Shona: Mhoro (Hello (sg)), Mhoroi (Hello (pl))

Ndebele/Sindebele: Sawubona (Hello)

All in all

That’s, how to say “Hello” in sundry African languages per country. Languages are very important for society in communication and expression of individuals. And the diversity of language is truly a fantastic accomplishment and it’s great to explore the vast differences and fascinating similarities in how we greet each other the universal way of starting conversation. It’s insightful to see from the above list how some languages include a selection of different greetings, and how others have concise greetings. All that credits to human creativity.

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