How to say hello in West Africa

West Africa, of course, has many languages so it’s not always easy to now how to say hello.

Even officially, you would need to decide between French, English, Arabic or Portuguese depending on the country.

When it comes to Bambara, the answer is relatively easy. Regardless of the time of day, one can always just say:

I ni ce! (For one person)

Aw ni ce! (For multiple people)

(Here’s a video that covers the different times of day and how to respond appropriately)

But greeting is about much more than just knowing the right words to string together. There’s a whole culture around it and it’s often quite different than what we find in the West.

As such, I recently produced the following video for the popular channel of Easy Languages using footage from the series Na baro kè. It’s a series of street-side chats in Bamako, Mali that are edited into one coherent video:


A series of street interviews in Bambara in Bamako, Mali about greetings and saying hello.


Wanna see similar videos? Check out the whole Na baro kè series on the An ka taa YouTube channel.