SHENG CORNER

‘Diaspora’ and other Sheng words for hoods in Nairobi

Some people refer to their hoods using an area code, like Number Nane

In Summary

• Some names are derived from the original, while others are completely different

Nairobi City
Nairobi City
Image: Reuters

Many Nairobians only come to the CBD for jobs and later go back to where most of them have rented houses. 

Well, each hood in Nairobi has its own name. Take, for example, Nairobi itself is called "Nai" in simple Sheng.

Some Sheng names for other hoods are mostly derived from their original name, like "Dago" for Dagoretti, "Emba" for Embakasi, "Westi" for Westlands, "Umo" for Umoja, "Buru" for Buruburu, "Getho" for Githurai, "Kasa" for Kasarani, "Zima" for Zimmerman" and "Kite" is Kitengela.

Other hoods' nicknames are completely different from their original names, like Lang'ata is LA (like the Los Angeles of Kenya). However, it is also known as LGT, the short form of the original name. Nairobi West is simply called "West", while South B and South C are just referred to as "B" and "C" respectively. Dandora is called "D".

Rongai is "Diaspora" because it is far from Nairobi CBD. It can also be called "Ronga." "Ungem" and "Ungwaro" are Kangemi and Kawangware.

Roysambu is "Roisa", Donholm is "Doni", while Kileleshwa is "Kile". Pangani is "Pango", Kariobagi South is simply "K-South" and Pipeline is "Paipu".

Some people refer to their hoods using an area code. Kayole is either called "Oyole" or 1960. Kibera is called "Namba Nane". Thirty-three is Emba while, 58 is Buru, 11 is South B, 9 is Eastleigh and 111 is Ngong.