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How to Say Warrior in 20+ African Languages

In traditional African societies, warriors held a special place of honor and respect. These individuals embodied the ideals of strength, courage, and protection. They were trained in combat from a young age and often served as defenders of their communities.

Warriors were not only responsible for safeguarding their tribe or villages but also extended their protection to neighboring communities in times of need.

African communities had unique names for their warriors, each reflecting their people’s distinct cultural traditions and values.

Let us explore the words used to describe warriors in various African communities.

1. Njamba

In Kikuyu, a language commonly spoken in Kenya, a warrior is called Njamba. A more suited phrase used is “Njamba ya ita.” According to the Kikuyu culture, Njamba could both be used to refer to a male or female warrior.

2. Shujaa

The Swahili word for warrior is shujaa. This word was commonly used during the MAUMAU war, acclaiming a holiday called Mashujaa Day to commemorate those in the first line during the fight for freedom.

3. Ibutho

In Zulu culture, the word used to refer to someone equipped to participate in war is Ibutho.

4. Dagaalyahan

The Somali name for a warrior is Dagaalyahan, derived from the word “Dagaal”, which means warring or conflicting.

5. Dike

In the Igbo culture, warriors are regarded as community heroes. It is no wonder that the Igbo word for warrior is “Dike”, translated in English as hero.

6. Iqhawe

Similar to the Igbo culture, the Xhosa people hold individuals who put their lives safe with the highest regard. The Xhosa word for warrior is Iqhawe, which can also be used to mean hero.

7. Jagunjagun

Warriors fought for their people in the traditional African communities. But in modern society, most nations and cultures have replaced traditional warriors with soldiers.

In Yoruba culture, warriors and soldiers are one entity, referred to as “Jagunjagun.” The name is derived from the Yoruba word “Jagun,” which means “battle.”

8. Vegter

The Afrikaans community refers to their warriors as “Vegter,” a fighter. The Afrikaans language also borrows from other languages, such as Dutch. For instance, a warrior can also be called “Soldaat”, which means “Soldier”, both in the Afrikaans and Dutch languages.

9. Jarumi

The Hausa language uses “Jarumi” to refer to the community’s warrior, knight, or hero. A warrior is also called mayaƙi.

10. Umurwanyi

War is not something new to the Rwandan people. Many probably grew up hearing war stories of the genocide that existed between the Hutus and the Tutsis. Therefore, “Umurwanyi”, the Kinyarwanda word for Warrior, is not new to many ears.

11. Murwi

“Murwi” is the Shona word for a warrior.

12. Mohlabani

In the South Sotho or Sesotho community, the word “Mohlabani” refers to a warrior. They also use the word “Lesole” to refer to both warrior and soldier.

13. Oromo

The Oromo community refers to their warriors and soldiers as “Loltuu.” Often, the word used for a warrior who engages in hand-to-hand combat is “Qabsaa’aa”, which means fighter.

14. Portuguese

Several countries in Africa, such as Zimbabwe, use Portuguese as their native language. In Portuguese, the word for a female warrior is “Guerreira”, and that of a male warrior is “Guerreiro.” These terms can also be used to describe a fighter or brave person. A warrior can also be called “O Soldado.”

15. French

Most Northern and Central African countries colonized by the French still speak French as their mother tongue. In said regions, the French word for a female warrior is “Guerrière,” and a male warrior is referred to as “Guerrier.”

16. Arabic

In Arabic, “Muharib” refers to a warrior, combatant, fighter, militant, or champion.

17. Amharic

The Amharic word for a warrior is “Tewagī.”

18. Malagasy

The word “Mpiady” refers to a warrior in Madagascar.

19. Wolof

In Wolof, spoken in Senegal and Mauritania, is “Jàmbaar.”

20. Ewe

The Ewe word for warrior is “Aʋawɔla.”

21. Chichewa

In the Chichewa community, the word for warrior is “Wankhondo.”

Other African Words You Should Know:

Kenyalogue Contributor


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