Language plays a pivotal role on the continent of Africa. Every language of Africa serves as a treasury of traditions, cultures, beliefs, and history. There is so much to learn about a place, a region, a country, or a continent by the way the citizens express themselves. Saying hello, greeting, and forming connections is a big part of life. Continue reading to learn how to say hello in African languages.
Click here to also learn how to say:
HELLO in different languages around the world.
An important travelling advantage is discovering the local language and it’s always agood idea to know a few travel wordsofthe country you’revisiting.
So the next time you find yourself in Africa, or even live here, I’ve got you covered.
Be sure to bookmark, copy and paste, and save this post on how to say hello in the languages of Africa for future use and ease of reference.
>> Read next:
How to say I love you in African
The African word for hello is used to acknowledge the presence of another person.
Each language of these African greetings uses different words to greet, however the feeling is usually the same.
How do you say hello in Africa? Let’s get into it…. ↓↓
>> Read next:
- Revealed: The safest country in Africa (+ where to avoid)
- What are the best countries in Africa in 2023?
- Ever wondered how many countries in Africa?
- The most powerful African proverbs and quotes about Africa to live by
- Feel the rhythm: Top 100 best songs about Africa
- Why are African sunsets so pretty
- The most famous landmarks of Africa
- 10 richest countries in Africa in 2023
- What are the capital cities in Africa
>> Want to learn how to say THANK YOU and GOODBYE too?
Read this guide to say goodbye andthankyouin different languages
Here’s your ultimate guide: how to say hello in African languages of Africa.
In brackets you will find how topronounce the word as it can often be difficult toknow how tovocalise the word just by reading or looking at thedirect translation.
I have included hello in all the African languages I could think of. If you don’t spot your language, let me know and I will be happy to add it to this list.
>> Click here to also learn how to say:
GOOD MORNING, GOOD NIGHT, and FAMILY around the world.
Continue reading to learn how do you say HELLO in languages of Africa?
How do you say hello in African languages?
- hallo (hal-low)
— A traditional South African greeting and informal word for hello or how are you
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language of Southern Africa mostlyderived fromDutch. It developed as Dutch settlers and indigenous African mixed languages beginning in the 17th century. Today, an estimated 15 to 23 million people call Afrikaans their mother tongue. It is mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibiaand can also be heard in parts of Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Hello in Amharic is:
- ጤና ይስጥል: Teanastëllën (teen-as-tell-an) — formal
- ታዲያስ: Tadiyas — informal
- ሰላም sälam — informal
- salamno (SalamnO)— male
- salamnish (SalamNISH)—female
Amharic is a Semitic language and the official language of Ethiopia. It can also be heardin Egypt and Eritrea, as well as in Israel, Sweden, Canada, and the United States.
How to express hello in African language of Arabic:
- as-salām ‘alaykum (ahs-sahlahm ‘ah-leh-loom) السلام علیکم — formal hello
meaning peace be with you
- This can be shortened to salaamسلام
- marhaba(mahr-hah-bah) مرحبا — informal hello
- ahlan (ah-lahn)— informal hello
Arabic(العربية) is aSemitic language spoken by over 420 million people as theirfirst language in areas including North Africa, the largest country in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and other parts of the Middle East. Many more people can also understand it as asecond language. Modern Standard Arabic is the liturgical language for 1.6 billionMuslimsand is the official written form of the language with theArabic alphabet, which is written from right to left.
Arabic speaking countries in Africa include Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Tanzania.
- moni bambo to a male
- moni mayi to a female
- moni moni onse (mooni-mooni-on-se) is used as a general greeting to everyone.
Chichewa, also known as Nyanja, is a Bantu language spoken in much of Southern, Southeast and East Africa. It is the national language of Malawi and is also spoken in Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
Englishis aWest Germanic languagethat was first spoken inAnglo-SaxonEngland in the earlyMiddle Ages. It is spoken in manycountriesaround the world with over 375 millionnativespeakers. English is the second most spoken language, and the most international language in the world.
The number of African countries that use English as one of their main languages – either as an official language or a de facto working language – equals 24.
>> Continue reading to discover more ways to say hello in Africa language.
How to say hello in African French:
- bonjour — good day
Bon means “good” and Jour means “day”
Bonjour is flexible and can be used both formally and informally at anytime of the day.You can use it with anyone, from a friend or family member, to someone you’ve just met.
- bonsoir— good evening
- salut (sah-LUU) is another way of saying hello in multiple languages.
Informal often used with close friends and family.
- coucou— very informal. Fun greeting that should only be used with friends, family, and children.
- allôwhen answering the phone
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family spoken by over 354 million people in France and around the world. It is the third most spoken language in Europe, the official language of 29 countries, spoken in parts of Africa, North America, and South America.
Africa has the largest number of French speakers in the world with over 120 million peoplein 24 francophone countries. French is the official language of21countries in Africa. These include Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, and Togo.
- a jaaraama
— informal African greeting
Fula, also referred to as Fulani or Fulah, is a Senegambianbranch of the Niger-Congolanguage family spoken by more than 40 million people in Central and West Africa.
Hausa language, the most importantindigenousbridge language in West and Central Africa, spoken as a first or second language by about 40–50 million people. It belongs to the Western branch of theChadic languagefamily within theAfro-Asiatic languagephylum.
It is spoken mainly in northern Nigeria and Niger, and also in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Sudan, and Togo.
Igbo is the principal native language of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria with around 45 million speakers and over 20 dialects.
— is the Kanuri phrase for hello in Africa
Kanuri is language within the Saharan branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family spoken by approximately four million people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
Kikuyu or Gĩkũyũis a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family that is spoken as a first language by over 6.6 million Agĩkũyũ people in Kenya.
- muraho bite — informal
Kinyarwanda, an official language of Rwanda, is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family that is spoken by at least 10 million people in Rwanda, DR Congo, and Uganda.
- amahoro (a-ma-ho-ro)
Kirundi, or Rundi, is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family, spoken by over 9 million people in Burundi where it is the official language. It is also spoken in parts of Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Uganda.
- mbote (mboh-teh)
Lingala is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a large part of the Republic of the Congo by over 70 million people.
- ki kati(chi kati) — informal hey
- oli otya to one person
- muli mutya to a group
Luganda, a Bantu language,is an official language ofUganda along with English andSwahili. It is spoken primarily in Kampala, but may be understood in much of the country and in the African Great Lakes region.
- salama(sah-lAHm-ah) — hello
- manao ahoana (man-ow ah-ohn-ah) — how is it
Malagasy is the national language of Madagascar belonging to the Austronesian Malayo-Polynesia family of languages spoken by 25 million people.
- bonzour (bon-zoor)
- allo (ah-low) — informal hi
Mauritian Creole or Morisien, the de factolanguageof Mauritius, is a French-based creole language that is closely related to the Rodriguan, Seychellois, and Chagossian Creoles.
- اسلا عليكم(ssalamū ‘lekum)
- الو (alu)
Moroccan Arabic, also known as Darija, is a form of vernacular Arabic spoken in Morocco. It is part of the Maghrebi Arabic dialect continuum, with over 30 million native speakers.
Ndebele, an African language of the Nguni group of Bantu languages, is spoken by around 5 million Northern Ndebele people of Zimbabwe.
- oraire ota
- osiibire ota
Nkore or Runyankore is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family spoken by approximately 2.3 million Nkore people of south-western Uganda.
Northern Sotho / Sepedi
- dumela (doo-MAY-lah) when addressing a single person.
- dumelang (doo-MAY-lang) when speaking to more than one person
- khotso (coat-so) —casual hello
Northern Sotho is a Bantulanguagespoken primarily in South Africa, where it is one of the 11 officiallanguages.It is spoken by about 4.2 million people in the South African provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Oromo is a Cushitic language spoken by about 30 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Egypt. It is the third largest language in Africa.
How to say hello in African Portuguese:
- olá (oh-LAH) — formal hello
- oi — casual hi
- bom dia— good day
Portuguese(português) is a Romance language spoken as the official language of Portugal and Brazil. It is also the official language ofthe African islands of Cape Verde,Guinea-Bissau,São Tomé e Principe, Angola, Mozambique, and the co-official language ofEast Timor andMacau. There are around 200 million native Portuguese speakers.
There are six countries in Africa where Portuguese is the main language and these includeCape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome, Principe, Angola, and Mozambique.
- dumela (doo-meh-lah)when speaking to one person
- dumelang (doo-meh-lang)when speaking to more than one, meaning hello to all
Sesotho (Sotho) is a Southern Bantu language of the Sotho-Tswana group, spoken primarily by the Basotho in Lesotho, where it is the national and official language, South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages and in Zimbabwe where it is one of 16 official languages.
Seychellois Creole, or Seselwa, is a French-based creole language of the Seychelles, the smallest country in Africa, where it is one of the official languages.
Shona, one of the most widely spoken Bantu languages, is the main languagein Zimbabwe.
- salaam alaykum
Somali, an Afro-Asiatic language spoken by over 16 million people, isan officiallanguageofSomalia, a nationallanguagein Djibouti, and a workinglanguagein theSomaliRegion of Ethiopia.
How to say hello in African Spanish:
- ¡hola! (O-laa)
You can use hola in both formal and informal settings, at any time of day or night.
To be time-specific, you can use:
- buenos dias— good morning
- buenas tardes — good afternoon
- buenas noches — good night
Spanish is the second most widely used language in the world natively spoken bymore than 437 millionpeople including Spain, most of Central and South America, Mexico, and the USA. There are over 21 countries in the world that have Spanish as their official language. It is aRomance languagethat originated in theIberian Peninsula.
Equatorial Guineais the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa.
Swahili for hello:
- habari gani— what is the news?
Swahili is a Bantu languages spoken by the Swahili communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- sawubona (sah-woo-boh-nah)
Swati is a Bantulanguageof the Nguni group spoken in Eswatini and South Africa by the Swazi people. It is the official language ofSwaziland (along with English) and since 1994 one of the nine indigenous languages to enjoy official recognition inSouth Africa. The number of speakers is estimated to be in the region of 2.4 million.
- Hello in Tarifit is azul, which means “peace”
Tarifit is spoken by 8 million speakers in Arrif (Northern Africa) and Schengen countries.
- ሰላም ሃለው (selam halewi)
- ቻው (chawi)
- ከመይ ዊዕልኩም (kemeyi wī‘ilikumi)
Tigrinya is a Semitic language commonly spoken by around 9.85 million people in Eritrea and in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.
— as a male
— as a female
Tshivenda or Venda is a Bantu language spoken by the Venda people of South Africa where it is an official language.
- when saying hello to adults
- when greeting your friends or children
- when greeting your friends or children
Tsonga is a Bantu language spoken by the Tsonga peopletotalling 12 million people mainly in South Africa, but also Mozambique and Eswatini.
- dumela (doo-meh-lah)
Tswanais a Bantulanguagespoken by about 4.4 million people in Bostwana, where it is the national and majoritylanguage, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. The majority of speakers, about 3.6 million, live in South Africa, where thelanguageis officially recognised.
Twi, or Akan kasa, is a dialect of the Akan Niger-Congo language family spoken by the Akan people in southern and central Ghana.
- salaam alaikum (sa-laam a-lay-kum)
Wolof is a nationallanguageof Senegal, where it is spoken by approximately 5.4 million people as a firstlanguage. It belongs to the Atlantic group of the Niger-Congolanguagefamily and is the native language of the Wolof people.
Xhosa is a Nguni Bantu language with click consonants and is one of the official languages of South Africa. It is spoken as a first language by approximately 8.2 million people and by another 11 million as a second language in South Africa, mostly in Eastern Cape Province.
- bawo ni
Yoruba is apluricentriclanguage spoken in West Africa with the number of speakers estimated between 30 and 40 million. It is a language spoken principally in Nigeria and Benin, with communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, other parts of Africa.
Hi in African Zulu:
- sawubona (sah-woo-boh-nah)
Zuluis a member of the Bantu/Nguni family oflanguages. It is one of the officiallanguagesof South Africaspoken by about 10 million people mainly in Zululand and northern Natal in South Africa and also in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Eswatini.
Thanks for reading this article on how to say hello in African language…
LEARN THESE OTHER WORDS TOO!
MY LOVE: How to say my love in other languages
LIGHT: The word for light in different languages
GOOD DAY: Read this guide to say good morning different languages
FRIENDSHIP: Learn the word friends in different languages
CHEERS: How to say cheers in different languages
HELLO: Read this guide to say hi in different languages of the world
BIRTHDAY:Ways to say happy birthday in many languages
BEAUTIFUL: Learn how to say beautiful in different languages
LOVER: different languages for lover
THANK YOU: Read this guide to say thanks in every language of the world
LOVE: The word for love in different languages
Aaaaaaaand now you know how to say hello in every African language.
Greetings from Africa <3
- English. Hello!
- isiNdebele. Lotjhani!
- isiXhosa. Molo!
- isiZulu. Sawubona!
- Sepedi. Dumela!
- Setswana. Dumela!
- Sesotho. Dumela!
- Xitsonga. Avuxeni!
- Hello! – Sawubona! ( ...
- Hello! – Molo (to one) / Molweni (to many) ...
- Hello! – Haai! / Hallo! ...
- Hello – Dumela (to one) / Dumelang (to many) How are you – O kae? ( ...
- Hello – Dumela. How are you – O tsogile jang? ...
- Hello – Dumela (to one) / Dumelang (to many) ...
- Hello – Avuxeni. ...
- Hello – Sawubona.
Habari za asubuhi (good morning) – nzuri (fine) Habari za mchana (good afternoon) Habari za jioni (good evening)How do you say happy in Africa? ›
Furaha (fuh-ra-haa) – 'happiness' or 'rejoice' Furaha describes feelings of joy and happiness. When used to encourage someone else, the word becomes furahi or furahia. It is used liberally during joyful ceremonies to rally the crowd to enjoy themselves.How do you say goodbye in African language? ›
Baai is a contraction of Koebaai, which is Afrikaans slang for “Goodbye.” (Check out some of the other cool Afrikaans slang words we use in South Africa!) A fairly common, yet new, convention is to say Baai-baai-baai in a hasty, almost absent-minded manner. Heaven knows where this originated from.What is Nigerian for yes? ›
Someone could answer saying 'na so', meaning 'yes' or even say 'ern-ern, na so?' if they are not sure of the answer.How do you say goodnight in Africa? ›
Good night – Boroko!How do you say hello in North Africa? ›
- Kurdish. Say: "Rozh-bash"
- Turkish. Say: "Merhaba"
- Farsi. Say: "Salâm" or "Dorood"
- Armenian. Say: "Parev" or "Parev tsez" (western) and "Barev" or "Barev dzez" (eastern)
- Somali. Say: "Is ka warran"
- Azerbaijani. ...
- Eastern Assyrian. ...
Asante. Asante, pronounced (aa-san-ti) is the most popular way of saying thank you in almost all Swahili-speaking countries. So, if you go to Uganda, Kenya, or Tanzania, saying Asante is recognizable, and every dialect-spoken Swahili will acknowledge this kind thank you word.How do they greet in Swahili? ›
“Habari” – the most useful Swahili word
“Habari” is a handy word as you can use it to say “hello” AND to ask what's the latest news.
Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book. Book.What does smiling mean in Africa? ›
In Africa, smiling is a cross cultural language. For some, a smile means acceptance, love and agreement. A smile costs nothing, but it is worth a lot.How do you say love in South Africa? ›
- English - I love you.
- Afrikaans - Ek is lief vir jou.
- Sepedi - Ke a go rata.
- IsiNdebele - Niyakutanda.
- IsiXhosa - Ndiyakuthanda.
- IsiZulu - Ngiyakuthanda.
- Sesotho - Ke a go rata.
- SiSwati - Ngiyakutsandza.
Goodbye - Akyirii (pronounced A-chi-ree) Thank you - Me da wo ase (pronounced Me-daa-say)What is thank you in Ghana? ›
I'm sorry. Kosɛ. Kafra.How do Kenya people greet for hello? ›
The most common greeting among those who speak Swahili is 'Hujambo' ('Hello') or the more colloquial greeting of 'Jambo'. Both greetings can be responded with the phrase 'sijambo', which means 'I am well'. Other common greetings in contemporary Kenya include 'sasa' or 'Mambo'.What language do Africans speak? ›
The most widely spoken languages of Africa, Swahili (200 million), Yoruba (45 million), Igbo (30 million), and Fula (35 million) all belong to the Niger-Congo family. Learn more about the Niger-Congo language family on Ethnologue.
Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book. Book.How do you say I love you too in Ghana? ›
1. Me dɔ wo - I love you.How do you say friend in Ghana? ›
You can say 'palava' also. 'Chale som wahala dey oo' means 'friend, I'm facing some trouble'.What is the Ethiopian way of greeting? ›
A more formal Amharic greeting is “Tena Yistilin” (May God give you health). A casual greeting is to say “Salam” (Hello).How do people greet in Ethiopia? ›
Ethiopian greetings are courteous and somewhat formal. The most common form of greeting is a handshake with direct eye contact. The handshake is generally much lighter than in Western cultures. After a close personal relationship has been established people of the same sex may kiss three times on the cheeks.How do Maasai say hello? ›
In Maa language you can greet a Maasai women by saying "yeyo, takwenya!" and the Maasai woman will reply you "iko"!What are the 5 main languages in Africa? ›
- 1st place: Swahili. ...
- 2nd place: Arabic. ...
- 3rd place: French. ...
- 4th place: Hausa. ...
- 5th place: Yoruba and Oromo. ...
- Frequently asked questions and answers about African languages.
Ebonics, also called African American Vernacular English (AAVE), formerly Black English Vernacular (BEV), dialect of American English spoken by a large proportion of African Americans.