Daily commutes across Nairobi in a matatu can be hectic. Heavy traffic and loud music is hectic enough. The thought of having to ask the conductor for clarification on what it was he said makes it even worse.
Sheng has been on the slow and steady rise to the language that it has become today.
Over the years, it has borrowed words from parent languages to build to its glossary. This glossary is best experienced in Kenya’s fast-moving matatu industry.
Here are some of the sheng’ words you expect to hear in a Kenyan matatu:
Rwabe: What on earth could this mean? Well, Rwabe is slung for Ksh.200/=.
Soo: ‘Soo’ is probably one of the oldest versions of sheng’ there is. ‘Soo’ simply translates to Ksh.100. In context, soo mbili will mean two hundred or ‘rwabe’ if you have been following this glossary.
Kinde/Das: This refers to Ksh.10/=.
Mbaula: This is slung for Ksh.20/=.
Bob/Tenga/Kapa: This is slung for Ksh.1000/=
Punch: This is slung for Ksh.500/=
Finje/Chwani: This is slung for Ksh.50/=
Salasa: Drawn from the term thelathini, ‘salasa’ is slung for Ksh.30.
Donda/Konkodi: This is a term that refers to a conductor in the local Kenyan matatu.
Feature Image Courtesy: Nairobinews.nation.co.ke