7 popular phrases you should know as a Kenyan

The new norm that Kenyans use to express themselves

7 popular phrases in Kenya
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If there is something Kenyans are good at is coming up with a phrase and making it the new norm.

The statements are playful yet they can express how Kenyans feel. 

This could probably be a way for one to avoid expressing vulnerability openly but gangster points muhimu.


Here are 7 phrases that are currently trending: 

Mambo imechemka
Image: Twitter

1. Mambo imechemka

The artist KRG The Don was the first person to use this phrase.


He first said it in a Facebook post in November 2022 before it became popular the following year.

To add on he released a song using his expression "Mambo Imechemka" early this year.  

The statement means things are getting more interesting.

For instance there is a fight and it goes from words being thrown around to fists, mambo imechemka.

It is used where scandals are likely to pop up.

Hii imeenda
Image: Twitter

2. Hii imeenda

The phrase emerged during the 2022 elections period.

The opposition leader, Raila Odinga was having one of his rallies in Kericho when Junet Mohamed, the Suna East MP used the phrase to imply that the presidency was gone.

The expression is used in situations where by something or someone is no longer available.  

When you send money to the wrong account and they withdraw it, hii imeenda

When the person you liked gets into a new relationship, hii imeenda.

Na iwe funzo
Image: Twitter

3. Na iwe funzo

Have you ever done something and you thought you would get away with it, and then you did not?

This is where the phrase comes in.

It is used when one ends up in a situation that gives them character developments.

Parents can constantly use this expression on their children.

You discipline them and then finish off with na iwe funzo.

Sasa hizi ni nini
Image: Twitter

4. Sasa hizi ni nini

It is a direct translation of “What Are These”

The words are used to express a feeling of disappointment or unpleasantness.

When you buy bundles and before you use them they are out, sasa hizi ni nini

When there is mad traffic in the morning and you are running late for work, sasa hizi ni nini.

Mapema ndio best
Image: Twitter

5. Mapema ndio best

This term was first used by Kevin Oreso, a former MCA aspirant of Maringo Wanza Ward when he first joined politics in 2020.

He revealed that he made the phrase as a slogan with the youth being his main target audience. 

And for sure the phrase stuck.

“I decided to quit football and join politics. I was targeting the youth and then crafted the message mapema ndio best,” he said.

The point he wanted to pass across is that it is important to deal with duties early.

When one uses it they basically imply that it is better to start with or deal with or accept something early.

For instance, It is okay to start drinking at noon, mapema ndio best, you get it?

Heri wewe
Image: Twitter

6. Heri wewe

When you are in a bad situation and someone else is doing better than you, run away with this expression.

It can only be used where another party is involved.

Let’s say you bank at the same bank your employer does, meaning when salaries are being distributed you receive yours earlier compared to others, si heri wewe.

When someone has access to a place or anything that you don’t, si heri wao.

Hujui jokes
Image: Twitter

7. Hujui jokes

If there is a statement that is almost every Kenyans staple, it is this one.

It fits in where someone takes something that was said seriously when it was not intended that way. 

As much as it is applied in non-serious situations one should be careful with how it is used.

An insult or an aggressive statement can be hidden behind it to dismiss your reaction to disrespects.  

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