How to Say Thank You in Africa

How To Say Thank You African Languages
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When traveling to a new country, it's easy for things to become lost in translation. This is especially true in Africa, where there are between 1,500 and 2,000 recognized languages. If you want to transcend the language barrier, however, learning to say a few words in the native tongue is a great first step. African societies are typically both polite and respectful, and so being able to say thank you is key when it comes to making new friends and establishing a good rapport with the local people.

 

Since most African countries are multilingual, it's always best to use the country's official language if you're unsure about a local dialect. Where there are multiple official languages or an unofficial language that is still widely used, this guide will include these translations as well; however, this list is by no means exhaustive. 

Angola

  • Portuguese: Obrigado (Thank you, when speaking to a man)
  • Portuguese:  Obrigada (When speaking to a woman)

Botswana

  • Setswana: Ke a leboga
  • English: Thank you 

Burkina Faso

  • French: Merci 
  • Mossi: Barka
  • Dyula: I ni che

Cameroon

  • French: Merci
  • English: Thank you 

Cape Verde

  • Cape Verde Creole: Obrigadu
  • Portuguese: Obrigado (Thank you, when speaking to a man)
  • Portuguese:  Obrigada (When speaking to a woman)

Cote d'Ivoire

  • French: Merci 

Egypt

  • Arabic: Shukran 

Ethiopia

  • Amharic: Amesegënallô

Gabon

  • French: Merci
  • Fang: Abora

Ghana

  • English: Thank you
  • Twi: Me daa si

Kenya

  • Swahili: Asante
  • English: Thank you

Lesotho

  • Sesotho: Ke a leboha
  • English: Thank you

Libya

  • Arabic: S hukran

Madagascar

  • Malagasy: Misaotra
  • French: Merci

Malawi

  • Chichewa: Zikomo
  • English: Thank you

Mali

  • French: Merci
  • Bambara: I ni ce

Mauritania

  • Arabic: Shukran
  • Hassaniya: Shukram

Morocco

  • Arabic: Shukran
  • French: Merci

Mozambique

  • Portuguese: Obrigado (Thank you, when speaking to a man)
  • Portuguese:  Obrigada (When speaking to a woman)

Namibia

  • English: Thank you
  • Afrikaans: Dankie
  • Oshiwambo: Tangi unene

Nigeria

  • English: Thank you
  • Hausa: Nagode
  • Igbo: Imena
  • Yoruba: E se

Rwanda

  • Kinyarwanda: Murakoze
  • French: Merci
  • English: Thank you

Senegal

  • French: Merci
  • Wolof: J erejef

Sierra Leone

  • English: Thank you
  • Krio: Tenkey

South Africa

  • Zulu: Ngiyabonga (Thank you to one person)
  • Zulu: Siyabonga (Thank you to several people)
  • Xhosa: Enkosi
  • Afrikaans: Dankie
  • English: Thank you

Sudan

  • Arabic: Shukran

Swaziland

  • Swati: Ngiyabonga (Thank you to one person), Siyabonga (Thank you to several people)
  • English: Thank you

Tanzania

  • Swahili: Asante
  • English: Thank you

Togo

  • French: Merci

Tunisia

  • French: Merci
  • Arabic: Shukran

Uganda

  • Luganda: Webale
  • Swahili: Asante
  • English: Thank you

Zambia

  • English: Thank you
  • Bemba: Natotela

Zimbabwe

  • English: Thank you
  • Shona: Ndatenda (Thank you to one person), Tatenda (Thank you to several people)
  • Ndebele: Ngiyabonga (Thank you to one person), Siyabonga (Thank you to several people)