Kenya: Here Are the Buzzwords of 2018

31 December 2018

They say we should let languages evolve. Even English, one of the most rich languages in the world, gets new additions in the vaunted Oxford dictionary every end of the year. As long as people understand what you mean, then that is accepted as proper communication.

The year 2018 was no different for Kenyans. We invented words and phrases that made communication easier.

Below are some of the words and phrases that stood out:

1. Bora uhai/of importance is life

This was popularised mid-year when Kenyans were taking stock of the 2018 resolutions. Many had failed to even attempt and used this phrase(s) as consolation. They were glad to be alive.

2. Utajua haujui

The phrase was popularised by Hessy Wa Dandora, a phantom online police officer to warn criminals who were organising and bragging about their criminal activities on Facebook. He would later post images of their lifeless bodies, having been felled by police bullets.

3. Utaambia watu nini?

This was used by people in embarrassing situations and were afraid of facing their friends. It can be traced to DJ Shiti of The Real Househelps of Kawangware.

4. Pambana na hali yako

This came in handy when you did not want to help out someone who was in a sticky situation. It basically tells people to man up and deal with their situation alone.

5. Mjulubeng

This is euphemism for penis. It is common in the many Kilimani Mums groups on Facebook.

6. Handshake

A spin off for the famous meeting between president Uhuru Kenyatta and his political nemesis Raila Odinga, this was widely used even in social circles. It would mean a truce between warring parties.

7. If you know you know

This phrase was used when you did not want to waste time explaining things. After giving some bit if of information, which may be a picture or a video, you type this at the end. Those with the right context would immediately decode the message.

8. I'm not boarding

These were the words used by feisty Nairobi lawyer Miguna Miguna when security officers were forcing him to board a flight to Dubai for onward transfer to Canada when he was deported. People used the phrase when they did not want to be party to something.

9. 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.

10. Lamba lolo

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

11. Mtaachana tu

Mostly used on couples who have made it the business of the online community to keep their love lives in the public domain by constantly posting their private moments.


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