18 July 2018

Kenya: Cha Muhimu Ni Uhai - 11 Kenyan Phrases and What They Mean


1. Pambana na hali yako

This literally means "deal with your situation". It is used when a person does not want you to lump them together in your bad situation.

For instance, if you are complaining about Kenyans being broke, someone who claims to be doing better can use this phrase. It can also be used -with a light touch- by a person who does not want to offer help once you reach out.

2. If you know you know

This is used as a caption on social media where a person does not want to described what is happening in a picture.

In most cases, the picture may be cryptic and people might have to spend some time analyzing it.

3. Hata sijaskia vibaya

Popularized by comedian Njugush, the phrase is used to express feelings of hurt but in a sarcastic way. While it means your feelings are unhurt, the phrase is actually used when those feelings are extremely hurt.

4. Cha muhimu ni uhai/bora uhai

This is perhaps the most popular phrase on social media currently. It loosely translates to "life is the only thing that matters". It is used when a person is unable to achieve their targets or dreams and needs to take some comfort.

5. Utajua hujui

The phrase was popularized by the mysterious policeman calling himself Hessy wa Kayole on Facebook. He would use this to warn criminals that their days were numbered. And within a few days, the criminals would be shot dead.

In ordinary conversation, the phrase is used to warn another person that they will lose in any form of contest they engage you in.

6. Acha niende hivi nakam

This comes in hand when something leaves one speechless or is too petty to warrant a comment. It is used when one doesn't want to say anything concerning the matter.

7. Niko Ma Bablas

Hangover, origin from people who chew miraa. Drunkards "stole" the phrase from them. Means the same for both groups now.

8. Form ni gani?

What's the plan? It is used mainly over the weekends and holidays to set up meetings with friends.

9. Ita madem niko na mzinga

When one has a plan for the night and no girls. Usually, the one saying this will have drinks -and may be food- ready and wants a male friend to bring along some women.

10. Amekula L

This means to lose something; where one has lost a bet has been turned down by a girl. For instance: Meek mill took an L from Drake.

11. Lamba lolo

We also don't know what this means. Any idea? Comment below.


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