‘Wamlambez’ and other Sheng words trending

Meanings of those new words cropping up in Kenyan pop culture

In Summary

• A number of times you’ve heard a word or phrase and wondered what it means. Wonder no more.

Mbusi and Lion
Mbusi and Lion
Image: FILE

Sheng’ is a slang language that borrows words from different languages to enhance hidden communication to a group of targeted people, mostly young in age. The language is widely used in urban Kenyan setups.

However, Kenyans are now embracing the language.

As times goes by, words with different meanings are coming out with our youths. Did I forget to tell you that most Sheng’words come with the ghetto peole? Yes.

While most of us seem to jamming and going with the flow, not everyone understands the language.

Some parents find it hard to understand what their sons and daughters are saying when they communicate using the said language.

Though most people regard it as an unofficial way of communication, the language is gradually taking over, and its usage is slowly being accepted not only to young but also the old generation.

Did you know Sheng language is nowadays becoming a source of livelihood?

A good grasp of Sheng language can land you a lucrative job, like radio presenter or even as an interpreter.

That is why some radio stations have Sheng speaking programmes. Take for example Radio Jambo’ drive show, ‘Mbusi na Lion Teketeke’.

If you happen to listen to them, it’s either you learn or understand nothing.


From Kung’uta Kung’u Kung’u to Kuenda Mawinguni! That is their language, targeted at a specific group of people.

Not long ago, we were used to the simple ‘Matha’ na ‘Buda’ phrases. Now, we have gross words that even sound weird. Every now and then, youths make up words to hide the real meaning of what they really want to say.

A number of times you’ve heard a word or phrase and wondered what it means. Well, here are some of the new phrases and their meanings.

Also, did you also know that some Sheng’ words are abusive words but when used in Sheng’ they sound much better?

President Uhuru Kenyatta fist bumps with radio presenter Daniel Githinji Mwangi aka "Mbusii" at State House,Nairobi.
President Uhuru Kenyatta fist bumps with radio presenter Daniel Githinji Mwangi aka "Mbusii" at State House,Nairobi.
Image: FILE

Take for example, a word like ‘piga kuni’. Literally these are two words that translate to ‘beat firewood’ right? These words, however, used by vijanas, they mean ‘having sex’, something very different and far from the initial meaning.

Lamba Lolo: The direct translation of Lamba Lolo is licking a lollipop, but it has a hidden meaning. This is an action performed behind closed doors.

Wamlambez, Wamnyonyez: So, Decimal Records released a new song, ‘Drinx-na-Mayenx’, and in the song, they innocently used the words ‘Wamlambez’ and ‘Wamnyonyez’.

Now, these two words might seem like just any other, but they have a sexual meaning. The direct translation is lick and suck. If you know, you know! Are these two words trending in your area? I know they are!

Mayenx: This is a phrase people use when they want to throw a party. What they say is “Come na mzinga, nikona mayenx”.

What this basically means is, “Come with liquor, I have invited pretty girls to the party.”

So in short, Mayenx is sheng for girls. Girls are also referred with other sheng words like ‘Mangoko Lalez’ and ‘Tortoise’.

Bora Uhai: This phrase is used to depict gratitude, when one is happy to be alive. The phrase has also been used in songs by our own artistes.

Other Sheng words and phrases are:

Geuka Nikubeng: Turn around and let me make love to you.

Dundaing: Going out to party.

Shnack: When someone looks great, we tell them they look like a “snack”. Get it?

Rombosa: Whine your waist

Nyandua: Have violent sex

Well, be on the lookout for the words your friends are using ndio ukue kwa Rieng’, meaning be alert!