Greetings in Swaziland

Respect, courtesy and patience are the key to understanding one another and even when language and culture gaps may divide us, sharing a common interest will see us meet as strangers and part as friends.
Here are a few key phrases of greeting to kick off your visit to Swaziland on just the right note:

(greeting) Sanibonani! "Good day!"
(response) Yebo! "Yes good day!"
(greeting) Ninjani? "How are you?"
(response) Sikhona, ninjani nine? "We are well how are you?"
(response) Natsi sikhona! "We also are well"
(question) likuphi lihovisi leti vakashi? "Where is the tourist office?" (appreciation)Siyabonga "We thank you"
(appreciation) Ngiyabonga "I thank you"
(farewell) Salakahle "Stay well"
(farewell) Hambakahle "Go well"


Language Problems?

With South Africa next door, our English has some local variations.

• bakkie - a utility truck, pickup truck
• biltong - cured meat, similar to jerky
• boerewors - spicy sausage from (Afrikaans) "farmer-sausage"
(usually made mostly with beef)
• book of life - national identity document
• braai - a barbecue, to barbecue (from Afrikaans)
• buck - a Rand
• bundu - a wilderness region, remote from cities
• cellphone - mobile phone
• dagga - marijuana
• dam - also used to mean a reservoir
• donga - a ditch
• flat - as in Britain this is used for an apartment
• geyser - domestic water boiler
• globe - as formerly used in Britain, a light bulb
• hey? - similar to "eh?" or "huh?"
• howzit - hello, how are you, good morning - of 'how is it', howzit is almost exclusively a greeting, and seldom a question
• is it? - an all purpose exclamative, can be used in any context where "really?", indaba - conference
• just now - idiomatically used to mean soon, later, or in a short while, but not immediately.
• kombi - a minivan
• mielie - an ear of maize (from Afrikaans mielie)
• mielie meal or pap- used for both maize flour and the traditional porridge
• muti - traditional medicine.
• naartjie - orange-colored citrus
• now now - idiomatically used to mean soon (sooner than just now)
• robot, robots - besides the standard meaning, in Swaziland this is also used for traffic lights.
• rondavel - round free-standing building, usually with a thatched roof
• shame - an exclamation denoting sympathy as in "shame, you poor thing, you must be cold"
• shebeen - illegal drinking establishment
• takkies - sneakers
• veld - virgin bush, especially grassland or wide open rural spaces

 


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