How to Say Goodbye in Every Major African Language

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 than the language 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. 

Algeria

  • Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah
  • Berber: Layhannike

Angola

  • Portuguese: Adeus/tchau

Benin

  • French: Au revoir

Botswana

  • 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

Egypt

  • Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah
  • English: Goodbye

Equatorial Guinea

  • Spanish: Adios

Eritrea

  • Tigrinya: Selamat
  • Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah
  • English: Goodbye

Ethiopia

  • Amharic: Teanastellen

Gabon

  • French: Au revoir

Gambia

  • Mandinka: Fowatido
  • English: Goodbye

Ghana

  • Twi: Mah krow
  • English: Goodbye

Guinea

  • French: Au revoir
  • Fulani: Jippu jam/saito minfotti

Guinea-Bissau

  • Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau
  • Guinea-Bissau Creole: Na bai

Kenya

  • Swahili: Kwaheri
  • English: Goodbye

Lesotho

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

Liberia

  • English: Goodbye

Libya

  • Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Madagascar

  • Malagasy: Veloma
  • French: Au revoir

Malawi

  • Chichewa: Pitani bwino/ tionana
  • English: Goodbye

Mali

  • French: Au revoir
  • Bambara: Kan-beng
  • Tamashek: Harr sad

Mauritania

  • Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah
  • Hassaniya: Salamah Alaykum

Mauritius

  • Mauritian Creole: Allez bye
  • English: Goodbye

Morocco

  • Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah
  • French: Au revoir

Mozambique

  • Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau

Namibia

  • Afrikaans: Totsiens
  • English: Goodbye
  • Oshiwambo: Kalei po nawa

Niger

  • French: Au revoir
  • Hausa: Sai watarana

Nigeria

  • Hausa: Sai watarana
  • Igbo: Ka omesia
  • Yoruba: Oh dah-boh
  • English: Goodbye

Republic of the Congo

  • French: Au revoir

Rwanda

  • Kinyarwanda: Murabeho
  • French: Au revoir
  • English: Goodbye

Sao Tome & Principe

  • Portuguese: Adeus/ tchau

Senegal

  • 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

South Africa

  • 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

Tanzania

  • Swahili: Kwaheri
  • English: Goodbye

Togo

  • French: Au revoir

Tunisia

  • French: Au revoir
  • Arabic: Ma'a as-salāmah

Uganda

  • Luganda: Weraba
  • Swahili: Kwaheri
  • English: Goodbye

Zambia

  • English: Goodbye
  • Bemba: Shalapo

Zimbabwe

  • English: Goodbye
  • Shona: Chisarai zvakanaka
  • Ndebele: Lisale kuhle
Was this page helpful?