Politicians use Sheng to woo youths, says Kang'ata

If politicians are in an urban setting, using Sheng can help them garner a following

In Summary

• Politicians have joined the bandwagon and are also using Sheng

Senator Irungu Kang'ata
Senator Irungu Kang'ata
Image: Courtesy

Nobody is pushing for Sheng to become a national language or anything, but the language is here to stay.

Politicians have also joined the bandwagon and are also using Sheng as an easy way to connect with the youth.

Speaking to the Star, Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata, who was once a DJ, said the reason he does not use Sheng is because of the people he represents. "If politicians are in an urban setting, using Sheng can assist them to garner a huge following."


He says as a politician, when using Sheng, it is also important to consider the people you are addressing because if the audience does not understand the words, they will consider you as being snobbish.

"The Sheng we used in our days is different from what we are using nowadays. Even with the kind of music played by our young generation depends on the audience," Kang'ata said.

For example, a youth born and raised in Murang'a county will be interested in Mugithi kind of songs, as opposed to those born in the city. "Many times, you have heard our President using the term 'wasee' when making his speech in rallies," he said.

Governor Mike Mbuvi is now popularly known as 'Sonko', a Sheng word for a rich man. Sonko joined the crop of young leaders when he first became the Makadara MP in 2010 through a by-election.

Youths called him Sonko because of his lifestyle. He ended up adding Sonko to his official name. Also, former Nairobi woman representative Rachel Shebesh branded herself with a Sheng slogan. She opted for 'Manzi wa Nai', Sheng for a 'Young woman from Nairobi'.

Peter Kenneth caused a buzz when he became the first politician to use a Sheng slogan, 'Tunawesmake', meaning 'we can make it', in his presidential campaign.