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Practice the local lingo to make the most of your African experience with us
09 Jan 2017


Traveling across the plains of African with us will expose you to a variety of incredibly assorted cultures. The languages Ndebele, Setswana and Nyanja are decorated with a chorus of clicks that foreign tongues fumble around. Each destination has a unique set of beliefs, values and customs, and remaining culturally aware as you travel will enable you to build successful relationships in diverse environments. Addressing people in a way in which conveys respect in their culture subsequently shows that you have respect for their culture, in turn making locals more receptive to your presence and perhaps creating a platform for international friendships to be formed. A little bit of effort goes a long way, and we have put together a short tutorial on basic communication in Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Botswana Setswana is the national language (90% of the population are said to speak Tswana, so it is useful to have a few phrases under your belt!). Botswana can be translated to "place of Tswana and the local community are called Bat swana, or Tswana people. Batswana people have a powerful attachment to their land, and this attachment is resonated in the national anthem “Lefatshe la Rona”- Our Country. This title encompasses the pride that Batswana people have for their beautiful land and its bountiful resources. The national currency is “Pula” which also means rain. Not only is this featured on the coat of arms but it is also frequently exclaimed at public gatherings as a salute and cry of approbation. Setswana falls into the Bantu and Khosian language groups, which are sometimes referred to as the click languages because of their integral click sounds.

“Laleme le le lengwe ga le a lekanela”- one language is never enough

Zimbabwe The flag of Zimbabwe is a colourful representation of the country’ core values and resources. The black band that run through the centre of the flag represents the black majority of the people who live in Zimbabwe. The red bands that lie on either side of the black are symbolic of the blood that was spilt during Zimbabwe’s fight for liberation and independence. The yellow signifies the exorbitant mineral wealth of the country, and the green represents the country’s vegetation and agriculture. The flag contains a white triangle, onto which the Zimbabwe’s national emblem (the Zimbabwe bird) is superimposed. The white colour of the triangle represents peace in the country. Finally, the red five-point star symbolises hope for the future. Zimbabwe is named after Great Zimbabwe, the twelfth- to fifteenth-century stone-built capital of the Rozwi Shona dynasty. The name is thought to derive from dzimba dza mabwe ("great stone houses") or dzimba waye ("esteemed houses"). Treat yourself to a stay at Linkwasha camp in Hwange and test your Ndebele competency.

“Ulimi olulodwa lulutshwana”- one language is never enough. Journey with us into this diverse and culturally rich continent. Open your eyes and let the perceptions and ways of life of others enrich your mind and broaden your knowledge of the exciting world we live in.

Zambia The Nyanja language flows through the lips. The name is derived from the word chinyanja, meaning “language of the lake”, which pays tribute to the relaxed rhythm and steady flow that moves a conversation in Nyanja.


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