How to say hello to a South African
May 3, 2013




Heita! Hola! Howzit! Sawubona.   South Africa has 11 official languages, many more cultural and linguistic groups  and a bunch of different greetings. Here’s a quick crash course in South African greetings to help you  ‘tune‘  like a local.

10 ways to say hello to a South African

Even though many South Africans speak English, that doesn’t mean you’ll always understand us. With a lot of local slang,  South African English has a flavour of its own, borrowing from Afrikaans as well as the country’s many African languages. Here are 10 ways to say Hello South African style ->

1. Howzit – A traditional South African greeting that translates roughly as “How are you?” or simply “Hello”.
2. Heita – An urban and rural greeting used by South Africans. A cheery slang form of saying “Hello”.
3. Aweh – A South African slang word used to acknowledge something or greet someone.
4. Sawubona (First person singular)– If you would like to say hello in isiZulu, say “Sawubona”  meaning “greetings”.
5. Molo (First person singular)  – You can also try greet a South African in Xhosa by saying “Molo” which means “How are you doing?”
6. Unjani – This is another way you can greet someone in isiZulu meaning “Hello”.
7. Thobela – Thobela means “How are you?” which is a formal way of greeting someone in Pedi.
8. Dumela (Setswana) – Mainly used with the Tswana people, this can also be used to greet a South African.
9. Hoe gaan dit? – Taken from Afrikaans, which means “How are you?”
10. Sharp Fede – South African township greeting meaning “Hello, how are you?”

Source: http://achieverblog.standardbank.co.za/content/10-proudly-south-african-ways-say-hello

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Meruschka Govender

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There are 7 comments

  • What a lovely piece! I am really loving your blog! Keep up the Good work!

  • Sam johnson says:

    Hi, I really like this blog entry it was very useful for me with regards to an assignment I am currently doing.I am a first year Journ student at Rhodes. Would it be possible for me to use this picture in my article?

    • Meruschka Govender says:

      Hi Sam. You can use the picture, as long as it is not for commercial purposes. Please do credit the image to me in your article.

  • Rene Jimenez says:

    Hi, after reading this amazing post i am also delighted to share my know-how here with colleagues.

  • Dave says:

    Hi. You may want to check some of your greetings. Molo is hello in Xhosa. Unjani means how are you in Xhosa & Zulu. Thobela means hello in Sepedi and I’m pretty sure sharp fede should be sharp mf’ethu. Just trying to help.

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