How To Say Cheers in Swahili, direct from Nairobi

How To Say Cheers in Swahili, direct from Nairobi

We received a note from reader Jay who asked us this:
 
I looked at other websites, and they all say that the proper Swahili word for “Cheers”(drink toast) is “Afya” or “Vifijo”. Yours is the only place where I see “sawa.” These other sites also say that “sawa” actually translates to “OK” or “same.” Just curious, as I know how to say “cheers” in a handful of languages, and wanted to add Swahili to the list. Thanks
Great question. I asked our Swahili translator Carol about this, and here is her reply:
 
Cheers is an adopted word, hence it would not have a specific translation. For example, “Afya” means “Health” (a common noun) and “Vifijo” means “Celebrations” (a verb). The “Cheers” (acceptance or agreement) that we have on the Speaksheets would also mean “Sawa”. For example, if someone told you “See you next time” and you say “Cheers!” Same as saying “Sure” or “Ok”. The “Cheers” for toasting would closest be “Ishi Vizuri” meaning “Live Well”.
So we’ll make a change to our SpeakSheet for Swahili, and next time we visit Nairobi, we’ll be sure to use the proper expression. Ishi Vizuri!
Carol Kimari
Biography: Carol is a skilled project manager and content specialist located in Nairobi, Kenya. She also runs an online portal for Kenyan Moms.
Born: Nairobi, Kenya
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Website : The Kenyan Mom
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