How to Say Goodbye in Every Major African Language

Crowd In Abengourou, Ivory Coast
••• Crowd In Abengourou, Ivory Coast. Yann Arthus-Bertrand/ Getty Images

Africa is a very diverse continent made up of 54 countries, all with unique cultures, traditions and customs. Each one also has its own languages, in addition to an astonishing variety of different local dialects. In total, it is estimated that there are as many as 1,500 to 2,000 languages spoken across the African continent. Knowing which one applies to the country or region that you plan on traveling to is often tricky; and to make things even more confusing, the official language is often different to that spoken by the majority of the local people.

Some African countries have multiple official languages, with Zimbabwe boasting the most of any country in the world with no fewer than 16 government-approved tongues. In Zimbabwe (as in many other Southern African countries), several languages use clicks and are not written phonetically, making them especially hard for Western visitors to master. However, while becoming fluent in any African language is unlikely without years of practice and tuition, it's a good idea to try and learn a few key phrases ahead of your vacation.

Your effort will be much appreciated by the local people that you encounter on your travels, and goes a long way to break down the barriers built by differences in lifestyle, culture and wealth. In this article, we look at how to say "goodbye" in each country's official language. Where the official language differs from that spoken by the majority of a country's people, the latter is also included. Where there are several official languages, the most widely spoken ones are listed. 

How to Say "Goodbye" in: 

Algeria

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Berber: Layhannike

Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau

Benin

French: Au revoir

English: Goodbye

Setswana: Sala sentle (to person leaving)/ tsamayo sentle (to person staying)

Burkina Faso

French: Au revoir

Mossi: Wend na kon-d nindaare

Dyula: An bè sogoma (see you in the morning)/ an bè sini (see you tomorrow)

Burundi

Kirundi: N'agasaka

French: Au revoir

English: Goodbye

Cameroon

French: Au revoir

English: Goodbye 

Cape Verde

Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau

Cape Verdean Creole: Te logu/ ti prosima vez

Central African Republic

French: Au revoir

Sangho: Gue ngozi

Chad

French: Au revoir

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Comoros

Comorian: Kwaheri (singular)/ namkwaheri (plural)

French: Au revoir

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Cote d'Ivoire 

French: Au revoir

Democratic Republic of the Congo

French: Au revoir

Djibouti

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

French: Au revoir

Somali: Nabad gelyo/ nabadey

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

English: Goodbye

Equatorial Guinea

Spanish: Adios

Eritrea

Tigrinya: Selamat

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

English: Goodbye

Amharic: Teanastellen

French: Au revoir

Gambia

Mandinka: Fowatido

English: Goodbye

Twi: Mah krow

English: Goodbye

Guinea

French: Au revoir

Fulani: Jippu jam/ saito minfotti

Guinea-Bissau

Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau

Guinea-Bissau Creole: Na bai

Swahili: Kwaheri

English: Goodbye

Lesotho

Sesotho: Sala hantle (to person staying)/ tsamaya hantle (to person leaving)

English: Goodbye

Liberia

English: Goodbye

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Malagasy: Veloma

French: Au revoir

Chichewa: Pitani bwino/ tionana

English: Goodbye

French: Au revoir

Bambara: Kan-beng

Tamashek: Harr sad

Mauritania

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Hassaniya: Salamah ahlaykum

Mauritius

Mauritian Creole: Allez bye

English: Goodbye

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

French: Au revoir

Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau

Afrikaans: Totsiens

English: Goodbye

Oshiwambo: Kalei po nawa

Niger

French: Au revoir

Hausa: Sai watarana

Hausa: Sai watarana

Igbo: Ka omesia

Yoruba: Oh dah-boh

English: Goodbye

Republic of the Congo

French: Au revoir

Kinyarwanda: Murabeho

French: Au revoir

English: Goodbye

Sao Tome & Principe

Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau

French: Au revoir

Wolof: Ba beneen

Seychelles

Seychellois Creole: Orevwar

French: Au revoir

English: Goodbye

Sierra Leone

English: Goodbye

Krio: We go si bak

Somalia

Somali: Nabad gelyo/ nabadey

Zulu: Sala kahle (to person leaving)/ hamba kahle (to person staying)

Xhosa: Usale kakuhle (to person leaving)/ uhambe kakuhle (to person staying)

Afrikaans: Totsiens

English: Goodbye

South Sudan

English: Goodbye

Sudan

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Swaziland

Swati: Sala kahle

English: Goodbye

Swahili: Kwaheri

English: Goodbye

Togo

French: Au revoir

French: Au revoir

Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Luganda: Weraba

Swahili: Kwaheri

English: Goodbye

English: Goodbye

Bemba: Shalapo

English: Goodbye

Shona: Chisarai zvakanaka

Ndebele: Lisale kuhle

This article was updated by Jessica Macdonald on May 17th 2018.