How to Say I Love You in Several African Languages

Africa sand dune wedding couple
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Africa is undoubtedly one of the most romantic continents on Earth. From the beaches of Zanzibar to the vineyards of Cape Town, from the sand dunes of Morocco to the endless game-filled plains of Kenya, there is magic in Africa that brings love to life. Knowing how to express that love is key, so in this article, we look at how to say "I love you" in a few of Africa's most prominent languages. In this way, you can add a touch of authenticity to special moments with your loved one (whether it's a whispered endearment or part of an elaborate marriage proposal).

Of course, "I love you" isn't just for partners and spouses. Most of the following phrases are also suitable as expressions of affection between families and friends. 

Note: Africa is the second most populous continent on Earth, and as such there are between 1,500 and 2,000 languages spoken within its borders. Obviously, it's impossible to list all of those languages here, so we've chosen the official languages of each country, and in some cases, the most widely spoken indigenous language as well. 

How to Say "I Love You" in:

Angola

Portuguese: Eu te amo

Botswana

Setswana: Ke a go rata

English: I love you

Burkina Faso

French: Je t'aime

Mossi: Mam nong-a fo

Dyula: M'bi fê

Cameroon

French: Je t'aime

English: I love you

Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

French: Je t'aime

Egypt

Arabic: Ana behibak (to a man), ana behibek (to a woman)

Ethiopia

Amharic: Afekirahalehu (woman to man), afekirishalehu (man to woman)

Gabon

French: Je t'aime

Fang: Ma dzing wa

Ghana

English: I love you

Twi: Me pe wo

Kenya

Swahili: Nakupenda

English: I love you

Lesotho

Sesotho: Ke a go rata

English: I love you

Libya

Arabic: Ana behibak (to a man), ana behibek (to a woman)

Madagascar

Malagasy: Tiako ianao

French: Je t'aime

Malawi

Chichewa: Ndimakukonda

English: I love you

Mali

French: Je t'aime

Bambara: Né bi fè

Mauritania

Arabic:  Ana behibak (to a man), ana behibek (to a woman)

Hassaniya: Kanebgheek

Morocco

Arabic:  Ana behibak (to a man), ana behibek (to a woman)

French: Je t'aime

Mozambique

Portuguese: Eu te amo

Namibia

English: I love you

Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou

Oshiwambo: Ondikuhole

Nigeria

English: I love you

Hausa: Ina sonki (man to woman), ina sonka (woman to man)

Igbo: A huru m gi n'anya

Yoruba: Moni ife e

Rwanda

Kinyarwanda: Ndagukunda

French: Je t'aime

English: I love you

Senegal

French: Je t'aime

Wolof: Dama la bëgga, dama la nob, bëgga naa la

Sierra Leone

English: I love you

Krio: Ar lek you

Somalia

Somali: Waan ku jecelahay

South Africa

Zulu: Ngiyakuthanda

Xhosa: Ndiyakuthanda

Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou

English: I love you

Sudan

Arabic: Ana behibak (to a man), ana behibek (to a woman)

Swaziland

Swati: Ngiyakutsandza

English: I love you

Tanzania

Swahili: Nakupenda

English: I love you

Togo

French: Je t'aime

Tunisia

French: Je t'aime

Arabic: Ana behibak (to a man), ana behibek (to a woman)

Uganda

Luganda: Nkwagala

Swahili: Nakupenda

English: I love you

Zambia

English: I love you

Bemba: Nalikutemwa

Zimbabwe

English: I love you

Shona: Ndinokuda 

Ndebele: Ngiyakuthanda

This article was updated by Jessica Macdonald on December 8th 2016.