English is widely spoken as the lingua franca, though to varying degrees of fluency. British English is the dialect of the most educated, but Ugandan English often takes on a life of its own. Dozens of African languages are spoken in Uganda, the most common being Luganda, which is almost universally understood in Kampala. Swahili may come in handy in places, especially the North and East. Though many Ugandans do not speak Swahili at all, it is a common African trade language.

A few words or stock phrases in the various dialects are very easy to learn and most locals will be delighted to help you learn the highly ritualised greeting, and, in turn, every person that you greet in this way will be delighted to meet you.

  • oli otya (olio-tia) = how are you
  • bulungi/gyendi (bulunji/jiendi) = I am fine
  • kale (kal-eh) = ok
  • nyabo = madam; ssebo = sir
  • muzungu = European, but used more commonly to refer to all foreign and, especially, all white people
  • hujambo = hello, used everywhere

You will hear lots of ecstatic children waving, jumping, hopping and singing “jambo mzungu” as you roll past. (source: Wikitravel)

  1. sam
    July 2, 2013 at 3:19 am

    please help me find other people suffering with HH like me in Uganda am so alone!

    • September 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

      hello sam. thanks for writing..
      do not worry. remember that you are not alone in your condition.
      we can start helping you by writing more about yourself and your experiences here on this blog.
      when they will read your story, I am pretty sure your Ugandan neighbors with HH will relate to you; so start sharing your story now..
      tell them how eager you are to meet them.. 🙂

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