Say “I Love You” in 54 African Languages

We say “I love you” all-year round to friends, family, and significant others, but Valentine’s Day provides an extra-special occasion.

Take the opportunity to say “I Love You” in one of these languages from Africa’s 54 countries, and make sure to also check out our list of 54 ways to express your love through food, music, and more!


Afar – spoken in Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia: ko kicinio

Afrikaans – spoken in South Africa, and Namibia: Ek’s lief vir jou / Ek het jou lief

Akan/Twi/Fante – spoken in Ghana: Me dowapaa

Amharic – spoken in Ethiopia:  afekirishalehu  (feminine),  afekirhalehu (masculine).

Arabic – spoken in Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, and Western Sahara:

  • to a man – (ana uħibbuk) ٲنَا ٱحِبُّك
  • to a woman – (ana baħibbik) ٲنَا بَحَِّك

Bambara – spoken in Mali: M’bi fe

Bemba – spoken in Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, and Democratic People’s Republic of Congo: Nalikutemwa

Berber – spoken in Algeria: Lakh tirikh

Chichewa/Chewa – spoken in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe: ndimakukonda

Ewe – spoken in Togo, Ghana and Benin: Me lonwo

Yaounde-Fang (including Ewondo) – spoken in Gabon and Cameroon: ma dzing wa / ma gnôre wa

French – spoken in Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Comoros, Cote D’Ivore, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, and Tunisia: Je t’aime

Fula/Fulani – spoken in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Cameroon, and Mauritania: mi yidi ma

Ganda/Luganda – spoken in Uganda: Nkwagala Nyo

Gikuyu/Kikuyu – spoken in Kenya: Neguedete

Hausa – spoken in Niger, Nigeria: Ina Sonki

Igbo – spoken in Nigeria: A hurum gi nanya

Kamba – spoken in Kenya: Ningwendete

Kanuri – spoken in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon: Nya Raakna

Kirundi/Kinyarwanda – spoken in Burundi and Rwanda: Ndagukunda

Kikongo/Kongo – spoken in Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Republic of the Congo: Mono ke zola nge

Lingala – spoken in Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of the Congo: Nalingi yo

Luo – spoken in Kenya and Tanzania: Aheri

Luba-Kasai/Tshiluba – spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Ndi mukusua

Malagasy – spoken in Madagascar: Tiako ianao

Malinke – spoken in Gambia: ni bi fe

Mandingo/Mandinka – spoken in Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea-Bissau and Chad: Nye kanu laye

Mende – spoken in Sierra Leone: cale sa duie ca upeif

Moore/Dagbani – spoken in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo and Mali: Mi ndigui

Ndebele – spoken in Zimbabwe: Niyakutanda

Nyanja – spoken in Zambia: Ndikufuna

Oromo – spoken in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya: Ani sin Jaaladha

Oshiwambo – spoken in Angola and Namibia: Ondi ku hole

Portuguese – spoken in Angola, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe: amo te

Pular – spoken in Guinea: Mbe de yid ma

Punu – spoken in Gabon: ni u rondi

Sango – spoken in Central African Republic: mbi yé mô

Setswana/Tswana – spoken in Botswana: Ke a go rata

Shona – spoken in Zimbabwe and Zambia: Ndinokuda!

SiSwati – spoken in Swaziland: Ngiyakutsandza

Somali – spoken in Somalia: Wa ku jeelahay

Sesotho – spoken in Lesotho: Ke a o rata

Soussou – spoken in Guinea: iran fan ma

Spanish – spoken in Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, and Western Sahara: Te quiero

Sukuma/Nyamwezi – spoken in Tanzania: itogwa benekele ne benekele

Swahili – spoken in Burundi, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda:

  • Ninakupenda

Tigre – spoken in Eritrea: ana enti efete

Tigrinya – spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia: Y’fetwekum e’ye

Tsonga – spoken in South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe: na ku rhandza

Vai – spoken in Liberia, and Sierra Leone: Na lia

Wolof – spoken in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania:

  • Sopp naa la (I admire you – when courting)
  • Nopp naa la (between partners)

Xhosa – spoken in South Africa and Lesotho: Ndiya kuthanda

Yorùbá – spoken in Benin and Nigeria: Mo nifẹẹ rẹ

Zulu– spoken in South Africa and Lesotho: Ngiyakuthanda

This look at the linguistic diversity of Africa is not meant to be exhaustive or take into account the many dialects. But if you see a mistake or think the list can be improved, leave a comment below!

– Africa.com