One of my favorite things while traveling in Tanzania was learning the language. In Africa, the people learn their tribal tongue as their first language, and Kiswahili as their second. Seeing as how there are many, many tribes throughout Africa (and therefore many dialects), Kiswahili was created to unite all of the African people.
These are some words & phrases I learned:
Jambo! - Hello
Habari yako? - How are you?
Nzuri - Good
Jina lako ni nani? - What is your name?
Asante - Thank you
Karibu - Welcome/you are welcome
Thafadhali - Please
Mambo! - How’s it going?
Poa - It’s cool/it’ s going
Nimetoka Amerika - I am from America
Naipenda - I like
Habari za asubuhi - Good morning
Poa kichizi kama ndizi! - Fresh like a banana!
Pole - Sorry
Mzungu - White/western person
Nakupenda - I love you
Remember your favorite childhood movie, “The Lion King”? You learned some Kiswahili & you didn’t even know it!
Rafiki - Friend
Simba - Lion
Mufasa - King
Pumbaa - Pig
Hakuna matata - No worries
Being able to learn some of the language was gratifying, not just because it’s intriguing to learn a new tongue, but because it allowed me to better connect to the local people. I feel that as I greeted the locals in their language, they were appreciative of me learning a part of their culture.
I intend to study more Kiswahili while I’m at home, in hopes of returning to Africa someday.