Learning how to say Hello in Africa

Sometimes communication in Africa can be tough because of the local slang. Even English has its own flavour in South Africa! Africa has 1,500 to 2,000 different dialects. A lot of languages borrow from Afrikaans, as well as the many African languages.

But a few phrases can go a long way, and learning the basics is a sure win to cross cultural barriers. Most African nations have countless different greetings which represent different races and tribes.

In order to be well prepared for your visit to Africa, here are a few ways that you can say hello in various African languages:

 

Well-known Greetings

 

  • Heita – A rural and urban greeting used by many South Africans, which is a cheery slang way of saying “Hello”

 

  • Howzit – South African traditional greeting that translates as “Hello” or “How are you?”

 

  • Aweh – South African slang used to greet someone or acknowledge something. It is used mostly in the Coloured community.

 

  • Unjani – Another way to greet a friend or someone you know in isiZulu, translated as “Hello”.

 

  • Sawubona – a first person or singular way to greet someone in isiZulu, translated as “Greetings”

 

  • Thobela – standard way of greeting someone in Pedi, translated as “ How are you?”

 

  • Molo – this is another way to greet someone in Xhosa, translated as “How are you doing?”

 

  • Hoe gaan dit? – An Afrikaans translation, which means, “How are you?”

 

  • Dumela (Setswana) – this term is used by the Tswana people, which can also be used to greet someone in South Africa, meaning “Hello” or “How are you?”..

 

  • Sharp Fede – this is a South African township term used to greet someone, translated as, “Hello, how are you?”.

 

Transcend Cultural Barriers

These will help you communicate with the locals better, forming an instant connection. With a little practice, you could be perfecting these words and phrases before embarking on your adventure.