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Useful Xhosa phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Xhosa, a Bantu language spoken mainly in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and Northern Cape in South Africa, and also in Botswana and Lesotho.

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal, sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person).

To see these phrases in many other languages click on the English versions.

English isiXhosa (Xhosa)
Welcome Siya namkela nonke
Hello
(General greeting)
Molo (sg)
Molweni (pl)
How are you? Unjani? (sg)
Ninjani? (pl)
Reply to 'How are you?' Ndiyaphila, enkosi. Kunjani kuwe?
Ndiphilile enkosi, unjani wena?
Long time no see Molo (sg)
Molweni (pl)
What's your name? Ngubani igama lakho?
Igama lakho?
My name is ... Igama lam ngu ...
Where are you from? Uvela phi na?
I'm from ... Ndivela e...
Pleased to meet you Ndiyavuya ukukwazi
Good day Ube nemini emnandi
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Uben' emva kwemini entle
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Ubusuku obuhle
Good night Ulale kakuhle
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Hamba kakuhle (go well)
Sala kakuhle (stay well)
Good luck Amathamsanqa
Cheers!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Impilo!
Have a nice day Ubenemini emnandi
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Ukonwabele ukutya kwakho
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Uhambe kakuhle
I understand Ndiyaqonda
I don't understand Andiqondi
Yes Ewe
No Hayi
Maybe Mhlawumbi
I don't know Andazi
Please speak more slowly Nceda uthethe ngokucothisa
Please say that again Ndicela uphinde
Khawuphinde utsho
Yitsho kaphinda
Please write it down Cela uyibhale phantsi
Do you speak Xhosa? Uyakwazi ukuthetha isiXhosa?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Ewe, kancinci
Do you speak English? Uyakwazi ukuthetha isiNgesi?
How do you say ... in Xhosa? Uthini ... ngesiXhosa?
Excuse me Uxolo!
Ndixolele!
Forgive Ndixolele
How much is this? Yimalini?
Sorry Ndicela uxolo
Thank you Ndiyabulela
Enkosi
Reply to thank you Wamkelekile
Where's the toilet? Liphi igumbi langasese?
This gentleman will pay for everything Lo mfana uzakubhatala yonke into
This lady will pay for everything Eli nenekazi lizakubhatala yonke into
Would you like to dance with me? Ungathanda ukudansa?
I love you Ndiyakuthanda
Get well soon Uphile ngokukhawuleza
Leave me alone! Ndiyeke!
Help! Nceda!
Fire! Umlilo!
Stop! Yima!
Call the police! Biza amapolisa!
Christmas and New Year greetings Sininqwenelela iKrisimesi emnandi noNyaka omTsha ozele iintsikelelo.
Sininqwenelela iKrisimesi emnandi noNyaka omTsha ozele amathamsanqa.
Birthday greetings Wonwabele usuku lo zalwa.
One language is never enough Ulwimi olunye zange lonela
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
Inqwelo etshitshiliza phezu kwamanzi izele ziipalanga