Ugandan greeting phrases

Uganda is home to over 40 tribes and 40 languages  with current existing kingdoms being Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitaara, Tooro, and Busoga. Each of these kingdoms and chiefdoms has their languages and ways of greeting and in some cases, it is just a dialect of the original kingdom. They have unique cultural beliefs and practices, unique foods or ways of preparing staple localized food.

Ugandan People are hospitable and will welcome you with a smile on their faces as they greet you be it in the mornings, afternoons or evenings despite which corner of the country you go to. They greet you like they know you and it is assumed rude if you pass someone without inquiring how they are especially in the countryside out of the bustling cities and towns.

Some of the common greeting in the different languages are;

In central Uganda the major greeting in the morning is Wasuze otya nno? This is literally translated ‘how was your night? The reply is often ‘nasuze bulungi’, literally translating ‘I slept well’. In the Afternoon and evening it is Osiibye otya nno? ‘how was your day? And when retiring to bed at night it is Sula bulungi which is Good night.

In the southwestern part of the country, in the mornings, it is Oraire ota or Oraire gye? which means that, ‘how did you sleep’ or ‘did you sleep well’? If indeed you had a good night the response would be ‘ndire gye’.  In the Afternoon it is Osiibire ota for how is your day? Again if its a good day then the correct response ‘nsibire gye’ and the good night ‘oraregye’.

In the Eastern part, the Busoga region they greet in the mornings Wasuze otya eyo? How was your night? In the afternoons it is Osiibye otya eyo?  Which means how was your day?

In the North Eastern corner of Uganda, you shall find the tribes of Iteso, Karamojong, Ik,Jie, Jonam, Jopadhola and Kakwa. For example in Ngakaramojong Language, Ka Ie-ia? Is a greeting which basically means how are you? And Ejoka?  is Hello

In the Teso tribe and their language ateso, Biai bo apaaran? Means how is (the) day?

In Northern Uganda, specifically the Acholi the greeting in the morning is Itye nining, or Ibutu maber? translating to ‘did you spend the night well’. During the day ‘Irii nining’ translating to ‘Did you spend the day well?’




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