Mastering Time-Telling in Swahili: An Awesome Step-by-Step Guide

October 16, 2023 No Comments
Time-Telling in Swahili

Time is an essential aspect of our daily lives, and the ability to tell time in different languages opens doors to understanding and immersing oneself in various cultures. Time-telling is integral to everyday communication in East African nations and throughout the Swahili-speaking coastal regions. Swahili, a Bantu language with a rich history, provides unique and intriguing ways to express time.

In this step-by-step guide, we will look into the art of mastering time-telling in Swahili, exploring the language’s expressions for different hours of the day and night. Whether planning a trip to the Swahili Coast, connecting with Swahili-speaking communities, or simply expanding your linguistic horizons, understanding how time is articulated in Swahili is a valuable skill. 

Mastering Time-Telling in Swahili

6:00 a.m. (Saa Kumi na mbili asubuhi)

Time-Telling in Swahili

Saa Kumi na mbili asubuhi translates to 6:00 a.m. in Swahili. It marks the beginning of the morning hours when the day is just starting.

Example in a sentence

“Ninaamka saa Kumi na mbili asubuhi kila siku ili kuanza siku yangu kwa nguvu.” 

(I wake up at 6:00 a.m. every day to start my day energetically.)

Time-Telling in Swahili: 7:00 a.m. (Saa moja asubuhi)

Saa moja asubuhi translates to 7:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s the time when most people are beginning their daily activities.

Example in a sentence 

“Najifunza lugha kila siku saa moja asubuhi kabla ya kuanza kazi.” 

(I study languages every day at 7:00 a.m. before starting work.)

8:00 a.m. (Saa mbili asubuhi)

Saa mbili asubuhi translates to 8:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s a common time for the start of the workday.

Example in a sentence

“Mkutano wa kwanza wa siku huanza saa mbili asubuhi.” 

(The first meeting of the day starts at 8:00 a.m.)

9:00 a.m. (Saa tatu asubuhi)

Saa tatu asubuhi translates to 9:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s a time when many workplaces are fully operational.

Example in a sentence

“Saa tatu asubuhi ndio wakati bora wa kupiga simu kwa wateja.” 

(9:00 a.m. is the best time to call customers.)

Time-Telling in Swahili: 10:00 a.m. (Saa nne asubuhi)

Saa nne asubuhi translates to 10:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s a mid-morning hour when people are engaged in various tasks.

Example in a sentence 

“Mkutano mkuu utaanza saa nne asubuhi katika ukumbi wa mikutano.” 

(The main meeting will commence at 10:00 a.m. in the conference room.)

11:00 a.m. (Saa tano asubuhi)

Time-Telling in Swahili

Saa tano asubuhi translates to 11:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s late morning, approaching noon.

Example in a sentence 

“Kipindi cha mapumziko kitaanza saa tano asubuhi kwa dakika kumi.” 

(The break will start at 11:00 a.m. for ten minutes.)

12:00 p.m. (Noon) (Saa sita alasiri)

Saa sita alasiri translates to 12:00 p.m., which is noon, in Swahili. It marks the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest point.

Example in a sentence

“Tutakutana ofisini saa sita alasiri kwa chakula cha mchana.” 

(We will meet at the office at 12:00 p.m. for lunch.)

1:00 p.m. (Saa saba alasiri)

Saa saba alasiri translates to 1:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the early afternoon when many people have lunch.

Example in a sentence

 “Mkutano wa utekelezaji utafanyika saa saba alasiri.” 

(The implementation meeting will take place at 1:00 p.m.)

2:00 p.m. (Saa nane alasiri)

Saa nane alasiri translates to 2:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the early afternoon, and people are engaged in various activities.

Example in a sentence

“Mkutano wa timu utafanyika saa nane alasiri ili kujadili mipango ya juma.” 

(The team meeting will take place at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the plans for the week.)

Time-Telling in Swahili: 3:00 p.m. (Saa tisa alasiri)

Saa tisa alasiri translates to 3:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the mid-afternoon when people often experience a brief energy slump.

Example in a sentence 

“Saa tisa alasiri ni wakati bora wa kunywa kahawa ili kuongeza nguvu.” 

(3:00 p.m. is the perfect time to have coffee to boost your energy.)

4:00 p.m. (Saa kumi jioni)

Saa kumi jioni translates to 4:00 p.m. in Swahili. It marks the late afternoon as the day transitions into the evening.

Example in a sentence

“Mafunzo ya michezo yataanza saa kumi jioni kwenye uwanja wa michezo.” 

(Sports training will start at 4:00 p.m. at the sports field.)

5:00 p.m. (Saa kumi na moja jioni)

Time-Telling in Swahili

Saa kumi na moja jioni translates to 5:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s early evening when people often return home from work or school.

Example in a sentence

“Saa kumi na moja jioni ndio wakati wa kawaida wa kufanya mazoezi ya jioni.” 

(5:00 p.m. is the usual time for evening exercises.)

6:00 p.m. (Saa kumi na mbili jioni)

Saa kumi na mbili jioni translates to 6:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the early part of the evening when people often have dinner.

Example in a sentence 

 “Tunaalikwa kwa chakula cha jioni nyumbani kwa marafiki saa kumi na mbili jioni.” (We are invited for dinner at our friends’ place at 6:00 p.m.)

Time-Telling in Swahili: 7:00 p.m. (Saa moja jioni)

Saa moja jioni translates to 7:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the evening when many social and recreational activities begin.

Example in a sentence

“Tamasha la muziki litafanyika saa moja jioni katika uwanja wa michezo.” 

(The music concert will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the sports field.)

8:00 p.m. (Saa mbili usiku)

Saa mbili usiku translates to 8:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the early night when people may relax at home.

Example in a sentence

 “Saa mbili usiku ni wakati mzuri wa kuangalia filamu pamoja na familia.” 

(8:00 p.m. is a great time to watch a movie with the family.)

9:00 p.m. (Saa tatu usiku)

Saa tatu usiku translates to 9:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the late evening when many people prepare to wind down for the night.

Example in a sentence 

 “Ninapenda kusoma vitabu saa tatu usiku kabla ya kulala.” 

(I like to read books at 9:00 p.m. before going to sleep.)

10:00 p.m. (Saa nne usiku)

Saa nne usiku translates to 10:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the late evening when many people have finished their evening activities and are preparing to rest.

Example in a sentence

“Saa nne usiku ni wakati wa kupumzika na kutazama televisheni kabla ya kulala.” (10:00 p.m. is the time to relax and watch TV before going to bed.)

Time-Telling in Swahili: 11:00 p.m. (Saa tano usiku)

Saa tano usiku translates to 11:00 p.m. in Swahili. It’s the late at night when most people are asleep or getting ready to sleep.

Example in a sentence 

“Saa tano usiku ni saa ya utulivu na amani kwenye mji.” 

(11:00 p.m. is a time of quiet and peace in the city.)

12:00 a.m. (Midnight) (Saa sita usiku)

Saa sita usiku translates to 12:00 a.m., which is midnight in Swahili. It marks the start of a new day.

Example in a sentence

“Sherehe za kumkaribisha mwaka mpya zitaanza saa sita usiku.” 

(The New Year’s Eve celebrations will begin at midnight.)

1:00 a.m. (Saa saba usiku)

Saa saba usiku translates to 1:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s the early morning, and most people are still asleep.

Example in a sentence

“Saa saba usiku ni wakati wa utulivu kabisa katika mji.” 

(1:00 a.m. is the quietest time in the city.)

2:00 a.m. (Saa nane usiku)

Saa nane usiku translates to 2:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s the early part of the morning when only a few are awake.

Example in a sentence 

“Saa nane usiku ni wakati wa pekee wa kufanya kazi bila vurugu au kelele.” 

(2:00 a.m. is a unique time to work without disturbance or noise.)

Time-Telling in Swahili: 3:00 a.m. (Saa tisa usiku)

Time-Telling in Swahili

Saa tisa usiku translates to 3:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s still the early morning, and many people are in deep sleep.

Example in a sentence

“Saa tisa usiku ndio wakati bora wa kufanya utafiti bila kuingiliwa.” 

(3:00 a.m. is the best time to conduct research without interruptions.)

4:00 a.m. (Saa kumi asubuhi)

Saa kumi asubuhi translates to 4:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s the very early morning when dawn is breaking.

Example in a sentence

“Saa kumi asubuhi ni wakati wa kupata hewa safi na kuanza siku mpya kwa nguvu.” 

(4:00 a.m. is the time to get some fresh air and start the day with energy.)

Time-Telling in Swahili: 5:00 a.m. (Saa kumi na moja asubuhi)

Saa kumi na moja asubuhi translates to 5:00 a.m. in Swahili. It’s the early morning when the day is just beginning.

Example in a sentence

“Saa kumi na moja asubuhi ni wakati wa kufurahia asubuhi na kuamka na jua.” 

(5:00 a.m. is the time to enjoy the morning and wake up with the sun.)


Mastering time-telling in Swahili is more than learning the clock’s numbers; it’s an immersion into a vibrant culture and language. Swahili’s rich history and unique expressions for each hour reveal the heartbeat of East African life. By embracing Swahili time-telling, you connect with tradition and heritage. 

Keep practicing for every “Saa tano asubuhi” (5:00 a.m.) or “Saa moja usiku” (1:00 a.m.) you utter in Swahili, you step deeper into the captivating world of this East African language. Welcome to the realm of Swahili time-telling! Karibu!

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I'm an elementary school teacher who loves what she does! I enjoy creating resources in my Native language "kiswahili". My goal is to spread the beautiful language of "Kiswahili" inside and outside the classroom. Thanks for stopping by! Read More

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