The year is already winding down and like we did this year, we will soon start to say happy New Year again. This is also the best time to start planning your travel itinerary.
As the clock strikes midnight after December 31st, friends, couples, and families call out well wishes for a happy New Year. If you intend to travel to any destination in Africa in 2023, start by learning how to say ‘Happy New Year’ in their local dialect.
Speaking local dialects, even if is just a few words endears you to the local community. We have compiled a list of ‘Happy New Year’ phrases in 25 different African spoken languages. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
#1: Barka da sabon shekara (Hausa)
‘Barka da sabon shekara’ is the Hausa way of saying Happy New Year. The Hausa language is one of the main African spoken languages in the northern part of Nigeria. It is also the fifth-largest language on the African continent.
This language has more than 50 million speakers in Africa. Most Hausa speakers live in Northern Nigeria and the Southern Republic of Niger. The language is also popular in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Benin Republic, and Chad.
Hausa originated from a dialect in Kano, Nigeria, where most of the Hausa native speakers are located. The Hausa’s are proud of their language and will always pride it over any other language. They see speaking their language as a form of respect. See this resource if you want to learn Hausa.
#2: Heri ya mwaka mpya (Swahili)
If you want to say Happy New Year in Swahili, it is ‘Heri ya mwaka mpya’. Interestingly, Swahili, or Kiswahili, is the fourth most spoken language in Africa. Swahili is a Bantu language spoken as the first language among the Swahili people in East Africa.
The language has more than 200 million speakers in Africa. However, only about 15 million people speak it as a first language. Also, Swahili is the official language in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It is often spoken in countries like Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and the Comoro Islands. If you are planning a trip to one of the eastern or southern African nations, learning how to say Happy New Year in Swahili can change your experience of the continent. Check this resource if you want to learn Swahili.
#3: Ezi afọ ọhụrụ (Igbo)
Do you want to say Happy New Year to anyone in Igbo language? Then say ‘ezi afọ ọhụrụ’. The Igbo language is one of the main African spoken languages in Nigeria. People that speak Igbo are called Ibo people, and they live in the southeastern part of Nigeria.
Igbo is the fifth most prominent language in Africa. It has official status in Equatorial Guinea, where it is recognized as a regional language. The Igbo language has more than 30 million speakers in Africa. Additionally, the Igbo language has more than 20 dialects, with Central Igbo being the most popular. If you are interested in learning Igbo, see this resource.
ALSO READ: 10 Most spoken African Languages in Africa
#4: E ku odun, eku iyedun (Yoruba)
You can say ‘e ku odun or eku iyedun’ if you want to wish someone a Happy New Year in the Yoruba language. The Yoruba language is one of the main languages in Nigeria, and it is also spoken in other West African countries.
People who speak this language can also be found in Ivory Coast, Benin, The Gambia, Ghana, Togo, and Sierra Leone. About 50 million people speak Yoruba as a first language and about 5 million do so as a second language.
Yoruba people are famous for their reverence to elders. Men are expected to prostrate to greet their elders and chiefs while women go down on their knees. Remember this reverence when saying Happy New Year to someone older than you. This resource will teach you how to speak Yoruba.
#5: Barka be hitandere hesere (Fulani)
‘Barka be hitandere hesere’ means Happy New Year in the Fulani language. The Fulani language, also known as Fula, is a Senegambian language popularly spoken by more than 40 million Africans.
The dialect stretches across West and Central African countries. Fulani belongs to the Atlantic geographic group within Niger-Congo. Fula people speak Fulani from the Senegambia region and Guinea to Cameroon, Nigeria, and Sudan.
The Fulani people of West Africa are mostly pastoralists and nomads. They take pride in their flock and often move long distances with their animals for forage. Get this resource to become a pro in speaking Fulani.
#6: Sanat jadidat saeida (Arabic)
Happy New Year in Arabic is ‘Sanat jadidat saeida’. The Arabic language is a southern-central Semitic language spoken in a large area, including North Africa, most of the Arabian Peninsula, and other regions in the Middle East.
It is essential to know that more than 100 million Arabic speakers are in Africa. The Arabic language is the official language of Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. It is also spoken in Tanzania, Western Sahara, and Somalia. Want to learn Arabic? Check out this resource.
#7: Bonne année (French)
Bonne année, in French, means Happy New Year. French is a European language that was introduced to Africa through colonization. More than 120 million Africans speak French as their first or second language. The French language first originated in France. Some African countries speak French alongside their indigenous languages.
However, it has become the first language in some African countries, like Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Libreville, and Gabon. Other countries where French is widely spoken include Togo, Senegal, Seychelles, Rwanda, Re-Union, Niger, Mali, Madagascar, Guinea, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, DRC, Algeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Burundi.
We found a great resource that will teach you how to speak French. Check it out here.
#8: Baga Amata harayaan sii gahee (Oromo)
If you want to say Happy New Year in Oromo, it is ‘Baga Amata harayaan sii gahee’. Oromo is an Afroasiatic language that belongs to the Cushitic branch. It is a native language spoken in the Horn of Africa and some other countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, Egypt, and Kenya.
Also, Oromo speakers make up the third largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. The language is the third largest in Africa. Today, the Oromo language has over 50 million speakers in Africa. If you are planning to visit Ethiopia in the New Year, learn to greet in this language. Become a pro in speaking Oromo with this resource.
#9: Asugas D Ameggaz (Berber)
Happy New Year in Berber is ‘Asugas D Ameggaz’. It is important to know that Berber is Africa’s tenth most widely spoken language. Also, this language is one of the 26 closely related African spoken languages that constitute a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language group.
Also, Berber is widely spoken by about 40 million people in Northern Africa, throughout the Mediterranean coast, the Sahara desert, and the Sahel region. People who speak Berber can be found in Morocco, Algeria, Niger, Libya, a small group of people in Tunis, Egypt, and Burkina-Faso. Want to learn Berber? Get this resource.
#10: Melikami ādīsi ‘ameti መልካም አዲስ ዓመት (Amharic)
In Amharic language, Happy New Year is ‘melikami ādīsi’ ameti’. Amharic is the seventh most popular language in Africa. Also, it is the second-largest Semitic language in Africa, just behind Arabic.
Amharic is widely spoken in Ethiopia. There are about 22 million speakers of the language. Interestingly, it is one of the very few languages with its alphabet. The majority of Amharic speakers live in Ethiopia. Learn Amharic fast with this resource.
#11: Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar (Afrikaans)
“Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar” is Afrikaans way of saying Happy New Year. Afrikaans is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa. This language is popularly spoken in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana.
Afrikaans has more than 10 million native speakers in Africa. However, the number of speakers of the language across the globe is over 40 million. It is often the smallest actions like wishing someone happy New Year in their local dialect that often leaves the biggest impression. Learn Afrikaans fast with this guide.
#12: Jabulela unyaka omusha (Zulu)
If you want to say Happy New Year in the Zulu language, it is ‘Jabulela unyaka omusha’. The Zulu language is a Southern Bantu language of the Nguni branch spoken in South Africa. It is one of the official African spoken languages in South Africa.
It is also the language of the Zulu people, with about 10 million native speakers who primarily reside in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. However, there are about 15,000 speakers of the language in Swaziland and 38,000 speakers in Malawi. Want to learn Zulu? See this guide.
#13: Eƒé bé dzogbenyui nami (Ewe)
Happy New Year in Ewe is ‘Eƒé bé dzogbenyui nami’. The Ewe language is predominant in southern Ghana, the southern half of Togo, and southern Benin. However, the largest population of Ewe people is in Ghana, and the second-largest population is in Togo.
Also, the Ewe language belongs to the Gbe family of languages. It is estimated that there are 20 million speakers of the language cut across southwestern Nigeria, Benin, and Liberia. If you will be paying a trip to the Gold Coast during the Christmas holidays, add this language to your portfolio. Become a pro in speaking Ewe with this resource.
#14: Mwaka mwerũ (Gikuyu)
‘Mwaka mwerũ’ means Happy New Year in Gikuyu. This language is one of the most popular African languages today, with more than 7 million speakers. The Gikuyu is widespread in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Gikuyu language is of the Bantu family. Learn Gikuyu fast with this guide.
#15: Nyak’omtsha (Xhosa)
If you want to say Happy New Year in Xhosa, you say ‘Nyak’omtsha’. Xhosa is one of the predominant African spoken languages in South Africa and Lesotho. This language is similar to the Zulu language.
People who speak Xhosa are members of the Nguni ethnic group in Southern Africa, whose homeland is primarily within the modern-day Eastern Cape. It is estimated that there are over 8 million Xhosa speakers scattered all over Southern Africa. Also, another 11 million speak it as a second language. This resource will guide you to learn Xhosa.
#16: Goredzva Rakanaka (Shona)
If you want to say Happy New Year in Shona, it is ‘Goredzva Rakanaka’. The Shona language is a Bantu language of the Shona people. According to the Ethnologue, Shona, comprising the Zezuru, Korekore, and Karanga dialects.
It is spoken by more than 8 million people. Consequently, you can find people who speak Shona in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Natives in most African communities always find it thrilling when a foreigner speaks their language. Learn Shona fast with this resource.
#17: Aw ni san’kura (Bambara)
‘Aw ni san’kura’ means Happy New Year in the Bambara language. Bambara, also known as Bamana or Bamanankan, is the official language of Mali. About 46% of the population of Mali speak Bambara as a first or second language.
It is estimated that about 16 million people across the globe speak Bambara as their mother tongue. However, the language has a wider distribution in West Africa than anywhere else in the world. Learn Bambara easily with this guide.
#18: Mangui lay ndokkel ci att bu bess bi (Wolof)
If you want to say Happy New Year in Wolof, it is ‘Mangui lay ndokkel ci att bu bess bi’. Wolof is the official language of Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania. It is also the native language of the Wolof people.
However, the Wolof people, primarily found in Senegal, constitute 40% of the population. Also, you can find people who speak Wolof in countries like Mali, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau. There are about 5 million Wolof speakers. Learn Wolof quickly with this guide.
#19: Afehyia pa (Twi)
Say “Afehyia pa” to your Twi friends if you want to wish them a Happy New Year. The Twi language is one of Ghana’s most famous African dialects. It is also a dialect of the Akan people, the largest of the seventeen major ethnic groups in the southern part of Ghana.
On paper, there are over 17 million Twi speakers. Also it is estimated that over 80% of Ghanians speak Twi as their first or second language. Like most other languages in West Africa, Twi is tonal. Become a pro in speaking Twi with this guide.
#20: Itumelele ngwaga o mosha (Tswana)
If you want to say Happy New Year in Tswana, it is ‘Itumelele ngwaga o mosha’. The Tswana language is a principal member of the Sotho-Tswana language group. You can find people who speak this language in Botswana and southern Africa.
Interestingly, it is essential to know that ethnic Tswana make up about 85% of the Botswanan population. Also, there are more than 5 million Tswana native speakers in southern Africa today. Want to learn Tswana? Check this guide.
#21: Mbu mwa bwam (Duala)
In Duala, if you want to say Happy New Year, you say ‘Mbu mwa bwam’. The Duala language is a dialect spoken by the Duala people and Mungo people in Cameroon.
It is one of the African spoken languages that belong to the Bantu language family, in a subgroup called Sawabantu. There are about 200,000 speakers of this language localized in Cameroon. Learn how to speak Duala with this guide.
#22: Mbembe mbu (Ewodo)
‘Mbembe mbu’ means Happy New Year in Ewondo. The Ewondo language, popularly known as Kolo, is the language of the Cameroon people. The language has more than 600,000 native speakers today.
The Ewondo language is a Bantu language. Also, Ewondo speakers live primarily in Cameroon’s Centre Region and the northern part of the Océan Division in the South Region.
#23: Ilufio ètussé (kposo)
‘Ilufio ètussé’ means ‘Happy New Year’ in Kposo. This language is the dialect of the Akposo people, mainly in the Plateau Region of Togo, west of Atakpamé, and eastern Ghana. The Kposo language has more than 200,000 native speakers today.
#24: Bamba mbou (Fang)
If you want to say Happy New Year in Fang language, you will say ‘Bamba mbou’. Interestingly, the Fang language is a Central African dialect of more than a million people. Most of them are in Equatorial Guinea and northern Gabon.
#25: Bonana / Mobu elamu (Lingala)
‘Bonana’ or ‘Mobu elamu’ means Happy New Year in Lingala, another popular Bantu language. Interestingly, about 45 million people speak Lingala as first or second language. You can find these people in the northern parts of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire).
It is also the primary language of the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, you will find speakers of the language in the bordering countries including eastern Gabon, northwestern Angola, southwestern Sudan, and southern Central African Republic. Learn how to speak Lingala fast with this guide.
That rounds up our list of ways to say ‘Happy New Year’ in different languages spoken in Africa. A warm greeting from the heart is not only a tradition but a mark of goodwill. Well, you can push your limit by learning other phrases in the dominant language of your chosen destination.
So, where will your first destination be in the New Year? Feel free to share with us in the comment box below. See the most spoken African language in Africa here.
Join African Vibes Community for more positive African news, interesting tips, and discussions.