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HISTORY & CULTURE

Different Ways to Say Hello in West Africa

23 Jun 2021

Everywhere, people have unique ways of greeting each other. Africa, thanks to its thousands of tribes has some of the most unique greetings, with hand-shaking being the most common. But, while it's taboo to shake hands with the left hand in Burkina Faso, it's prohibited to persons in mourning in the Gambia In Senegal, men shake hands, and women curtsy while Kanuri men in Niger say hello by shaking closed fists at the head of the other person while saying wooshay, wooshay (hello, hello). The Bambara of Mali says n ice (hello) while Yoruba men prostrate before the elderly.
  People all over the world have unique ways of greeting each other. Some groups; stick their tongues out at each other, bump their noses together, rub foreheads and noses together, bow, clap hands, sniff one another’s faces, etcetera. Most of these forms of greeting depend on the relationship between the greeters; intimate greetings such as sniffing the other person’s face are usually reserved for family and friends. Africa is an entire world on its own, given the thousands of tribes that call it home. These tribes have words in their languages which they use to say hello to each other, and usually, traditional gestures accompany these words of greeting. Among these tribes, some gestures are considered taboo and are taught to members from childhood. Here are some of the different ways countries and tribes in West Africa say hello. In Senegal, the various tribes including the Wolof, Bambari, and Soninke regard greeting as a kind of ritual that involves lengthy inquiries into the health and family of the other person. Saying a quick hello is seen as a sign of rudeness. The men shake hands while the women curtsy by bending down a little on one knee. In the Wolof language, jam nga fanane means good morning while jam nga yendoo is used to say hello in the afternoon.   The Ghanaian culture also calls for elaborate greetings that express interest in the well-being of the other party. They also shake hands, with both parties sometimes snapping their thumbs and middle fingers together. One interesting aspect of Ghanaian greetings is the greeting of several people in one location. Their custom demands that you commence the hand-shaking custom with the persons on the right side of the room, moving from right to left. Take a moment to imagine entering a room through a door on the left side, and having to walk to the right side of the room to begin the greeting ritual. If on entering a room you fail to greet the people present, all eyes will remain on you until you come to your senses. While shaking hands, the Twi-speaking tribes like the Ashanti say “mema wo akye” meaning good morning, or “agoo” which means hello.   The different tribes in Nigeria use their individual languages to say hello or good morning. The Yorubas greet each other by saying “ekaro” which means good morning; the Igbos say “ututu oma”, while the Hausas say “sannu” meaning hello or ina kwana which means “how are you”. Men of the Yoruba tribe while greeting the elderly prostrate on the ground with their heads raised up, while the women kneel with one or both knees. Igbo men slap their hands together before shaking and usually hold onto each other’s hands during the entire duration of the greeting.   In Burkina Faso, among the Mossi and Dyula tribes, the shaking of hands is a common form of greeting, but the act can only be done with the right hand. It is taboo to shake hands with the left hand. While shaking hands, the Mossi say “ne y yibeogo” while the Dyula say “i ni sogoma” meaning good morning. When the hands of a person of authority is shaken, the other person also grips the right upper arm of such person as a sign of respect   The Senufo, Bambara, and Dioula tribes of Mali all have hand-shaking customs that are practiced by both sexes. According to their custom, when someone enters a room, that person is, as a sign of respect, expected to shake the hands of all the older persons within, starting with the oldest. In Mali, you are expected to greet everyone you meet, even if they speak a different language. You are expected to greet them in your language while they reply in theirs. For instance, one person may say bonjour (French for good day) while the other person perhaps of the Bambara tribe replies i ni ce (which means hello)   In Gambia, though it is customary to shake hands in greeting, tradition prohibits shaking the hands of persons who are in mourning. Like most African countries and tribes influenced by Islam, Muslims in Gambia greet each other with the Arabic phrase assalamualaikum (peace be with you) and receive the reply walaikum assalam (peace be with you also)   A person from the Kanuri tribe in the Republic of the Niger shakes his closed fist at the head of the person he is greeting while saying “wooshay, wooshay” (hello, hello”) in a loud voice.

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Haunted Places in South Africa

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28 Apr 2021

Rwanda, so Interesting

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28 Apr 2021

African Dance STyles

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02 May 2021

Africa Mathematical Games

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02 May 2021