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 world's most romantic continents. 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 there are between 1,500 and 2,000 languages spoken there. Obviously, it's impossible to list them all 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:

Algeria

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

Tamazight: Hemlaghk (for a man), hemlaghkem (for a woman)

Portuguese: Eu te amo

Benin

French: Je t'aime

Setswana: Ke a go rata

English: I love you

Burkina Faso

French: Je t'aime

Mossi: Mam nong-a fo

Dyula: M'bi fê

Burundi

Kirundi: Ndagukunda

Cameroon

French: Je t'aime

English: I love you

Portuguese: Eu te amo

Central African Republic

French: Je t'aime

Chad

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

French: Je t'aime

Comoros

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

French: Je t'aime

Comorian: Ngamhwandzo

French: Je t'aime

French: Je t'aime

Lingala: Nalingi yo

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

French: Je t'aime

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

Equatorial Guinea

Spanish: Te amo

Eritrea

Tigrinya: Yefkrekaye (for a man), yfetwekiye (for a woman)

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

English:  I love you

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

French: Je t'aime

Fang: Ma dzing wa

Gambia

English:  I love you

Mandinka: Nye kanu laye

Ghana

English: I love you

Twi: Me pe wo

Guinea

French: Je t'aime

Guinea-Bissau

Portuguese: Eu te amo

Crioulo: Mi mistiu

Swahili: Nakupenda

English: I love you

Lesotho

Sesotho: Ke a go rata

English: I love you

Liberia

English:  I love you

Libya

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

Malagasy: Tiako ianao

French: Je t'aime

Chichewa: Ndimakukonda

English: I love you

French: Je t'aime

Bambara: Né bi fè

Mauritania

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

Hassaniya: Kanebgheek

Mauritian creole: Mo kontan twa

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

French: Je t'aime

Portuguese: Eu te amo

English: I love you

Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou

Oshiwambo: Ondikuhole

Niger

French: Je t'aime

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

Republic of the Congo

French: Je t'aime

Kinyarwanda: Ndagukunda

French: Je t'aime

English: I love you

Sao Tome & Principe 

Portuguese: Eu te amo

French: Je t'aime

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

Seychelles

Seychellois creole: Mon kontan ou

Sierra Leone

English: I love you

Krio: Ar lek you

Somalia

Somali: Waan ku jecelahay

Zulu: Ngiyakuthanda

Xhosa: Ndiyakuthanda

Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou

English: I love you

South Sudan

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

English:  I love you

Sudan

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

Swaziland

Swati: Ngiyakutsandza

English: I love you

Swahili: Nakupenda

English: I love you

Togo

French: Je t'aime

French: Je t'aime

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

Luganda: Nkwagala

Swahili: Nakupenda

English: I love you

English: I love you

Bemba: Nalikutemwa

English: I love you

Shona: Ndinokuda 

Ndebele: Ngiyakuthanda

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

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