This is the flag of Zimbabwe, a country in Southern Africa.

Shona lesson for travelers

This is the flag of Zimbabwe, a country in Southern Africa.

Speaking a bit of the language of the country you are travelling to is always a good idea. Locals will appreciate the effort and will respond positively. So far, I have learned a bit of Xhosa (one of the 11 official languages in South Africa) and Chichewa (most spoken language in Malawi). Shona is the most spoken language in Zimbabwe, a country in Southern Africa. There are around 9 other languages besides Shona but everyone understands Shona.

So far I have only been to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe but most of my friends in South Africa are Zimbabweans that’s why I was super keen to learn a bit of the language in order to be prepared when I finally travel more of Zimbabwe. I put together a list of basic words and phrases that you might need while traveling Zimbabwe. Also check out my video that I did with my Zimbabwean friend Sidney that will help you with the pronunciation. You can find it at the bottom of this post.

Hi/ Hello                                       

  • Wakadii (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Makadii (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Good morning!                          

  • Wamuka sei! (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Mamuka sei! (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Good night sleep nice!            

  • Urare zvakanaka! (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Murare zvakanaka! (used for more than one person or to respect older people)
  • Urare bho! (slang – used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Murare bho! (slang – used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

How are you?

  • Wakadii hako? (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Makadii henyu? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)
  • Zvirisei? (slang – used within the younger generation: How are things?)

 

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I am fine and you?

  • Ndakasimba ko iwewe? (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Ndakasimba ko imimi? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)
  • Ndiri bho ko iwewe? (slang – used within the younger generation : I am good. What about you!)

 

What is your name?

  • Unonzi ani? (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Munonzi ani? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)
  • Munonzi vana-ani? (used for more than one person)

 

My name is…..!

  • Ndinonzi ….!

 

Thank you very much! 

  • Ndinotenda!

 

May I have a beer please!

  • Ndipewo doro!

 

May I please have some food!

  • Ndipewo chikafu! (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Ndipeiwo chikafu! (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Yes!

  • Hongu! (formal)
  • Ehe! (slang)

 

No!

  • Kwete! (formal)
  • Aiwa! (slang)

 

I am sorry!

  • Ndine hurombo!

Goodbye!

  • Toonana!
  • Ndokubata! (slang – used within the younger generation)

 

Where is the toilet?

  • Chimbuzi chiripi?

 

I LOVE YOU!

  • Ndinokuda! (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Ndinokudai! (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

I love you too!

  • Ndinokuda neniwo! (used for one person of same age or younger than you)

 

Do you speak English?

  • Unotaura chirungu here? (used for one person of same age or younger than you)
  • Munotaura chirungu here? (used for more than one person or to respect older people)

 

Is there someone here who speaks English?

  • Pane anotaura chirungu here?

 

How much is it?

  • Imarii?

 

I need help!

  • Ndinodawo rubatsiro!

 

I don´t know!

  • Handizive!

 


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White person/people 

(just for people to know once they hear the words)

  • murungu (one white person)
  • varungu (more than one white person)

 

numbers

  • 1 – poshi
  • 2 -piri
  • 3-tatu
  • 4-ina
  • 5-shanu

 

For the pronunciation check out my video with my Zimbabwean friend Sydney:

Have you ever learned a bit of the local language before traveling to a country? Let me know in the comments!

 

Would you like to read and see more about my Africa trips? Here we go!