Kenyan Slang Explained

Kenya, has one of the most vibrant slangs in Africa that connects a total of over 40 tribes with just one lingo.

Just like Ebonic in the US or Pidgin English in West Africa; the fusion of native Kenyan languages, Swahili, and English has birthed phrases that are not only humorous but also deeply rooted in Kenyan culture.

Here are some hilarious phrases used in Kenya and their meanings:

“Naenda hivi Na-come!”

Literal Translation: I’m going this way, I’m coming!

Meaning: Used to communicate imminent return of someone taking a detour or short stroll.

“Uko na kichwa hard!”

Literal Translation: You are hard-headed!

Meaning: It signifies that someone is difficult or hard to control.

“Kuna deal nangoja!”

Literal Translation: There’s a deal I’m waiting on.

Meaning: Used to insinuate future value and in most cases the procrastination of payment & or value exchange.

“Unachoma Picha!”

Literal Translation: You are burning the picture!

Meaning: This phrase is used to refer to someone who is destroying the perception standard of an occasion, place or people.

“Bora uhai”

Literal Translation: As long as I’m alive.

Meaning: Life goes on, regardless of what challenges one may face, the most important thing is life in itself.


Literal Translation: Don’t bring it to me!

Meaning: This is a warning phrase, implying “Don’t mess with me.

“Sisi hao/Tupo site!”

Literal Translation: It’s us there!

Meaning: It’s a way of saying Let’s do this, we’re ready or We’re in the scene!

“Chill kiasi.”

Literal Translation: Wait a little.

Meaning: Often used humorously, this phrase can mean a short wait or an indefinitely long one.

These phrases are just a glimpse into the rich and humorous linguistic world of Kenya. So, the next time you find yourself in Kenya, throw in one of these phrases and watch the smiles light up! Rudi Nyumbani.

I am. See the world through a different lens.