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Hazel Mwaka Mwazonga
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Africa > Kenya > Useful Info
Submitted on Jun 05, 2019 Useful Info

Swahili slang you must know when visiting Kenya

  • Knowing some little bit of Swahili will definitely make communication easier for you in Kenya and here are some of the essential words you must know:

Habari/ Jambo

  • Both words mean "hi". Normally you extend your hand for a handshake when saying hi.

Asante.

  • It means thank you.

Pesa

  • The Swahili word for money

Tafadhali/ samahani

  • Tafadhali means, please
  • Samahani means excuse me
  • However, in Swahili, both words can be used in the same context.

Mzungu

  • This is the word Kenyans use to refer to whites in general. Expect people to refer to you by the word mzungu rather than your name.

Mama and Baba

  • Mama is a word used to refer to a mother and women in general. Here it's common to say mama mzungu meaning white lady.
  • Baba is used to refer to a father or men in general. It's used in the same way as the word mama.
  • KEYNOTE; Very many Swahili words are direct derivatives of English words and you'll be able to catch up as the locals speak. For example
  1. Television- Televisheni
  2. Shilling- shililingi