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When you travel to a foreign country, it is considered courteous to learn a few words (or more) of the local language. It is sometimes hard to do when travelling to Africa, as many of the countries have more than one, if not dozens of official indegenous languages. East Africa is cooperative in that Swahili is widely spoken in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda; with nearly 50 million people speaking it across Africa and some pockets outside of the continent. While you could easily communicate by only speaking English, a little effort can go a long way with local residents.

We’ll look at a few words and phrases in Swahili today that you can practice in advance of a trip. There will be future blogs with additional vocabulary; just search for them with the ‘Swahili’ keyword.

Jambo – hello

Mambo – hello (collq.)

Kwaheri – good-bye

Ndiyo – yes

Hapana – no

Asante – thank you

Asante sana – thank you very much

Si kitu – you’re welcome

Samahani – excuse me

Hujambo – how are you ?

Sijambo, asante – very well, thanks.

Na wewe je – and you?

Nzuri – fine

Practice these words and phrases and check back for more lessons soon!
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