28 hot terms you need to know while in Kampala!

I believe that one of the most core qualities of human beings is the ability to communicate and language is the vehicle through which communication happens. Speaking the same language fosters relationships. Interesting to note is that within every language, new informal vocabulary develops that is referred to as slang.

Slang changes often to match the changing social, political or economic atmosphere, but some hot terms live on for a looong time.

If you happen to find your self in Kampala, be sure to know these  hot terms (slang) right down to your fingertips.

  1. Rolex: Kampala’s most popular street food consisting of a chapati and fried egg
  2. Nsenene: grasshoppers, one of the popular snacks
  3. Banange: there’s no English equivalent for this word. But it’s sort of an exclamation almost similar to ‘oh gosh’ or ‘omg’
  4. Bambi: this has no english equivalent but can be used as ‘oh dear’
  5. Wolokoso: depends on the context it’s being used. It can mean reckless talk or gossip or rumors or uncoordinated ideas.
  6. Mazongoto: originally means a double bed but has also come to mean sex
  7. Bunkenke: to be all tensed up or walking on eggshells
  8. Bonga / Kubonga: a way to greet using your fists
  9. Kiwani: a fake item or fake news
  10. Kichupuli: counterfeit item or money
  11. Muzungu: Caucasian or sometimes used to refer to anyone that speaks with a foreign accent
  12. Kyokka: interjection that is similar to ‘but’
  13. Wa’ma: no English equivalent, can be similar to my dear (used to endear oneself to a third party when in disagreement with a second party)
  14. Mob: a lot
  15. Congs: congrats or congratulations
  16. Kidandali; can mean a certain genre of local music
  17. Boda boda: motor bikes used for transportation, can also be used to mean the bike drivers
  18. Ku stagi: words said when you want the taxi driver to let you off at a bus stop
  19. Paka last: to mean eternity or to the last drop
  20. Amasape: someone who loves to be in the limelight/ showbiz
  21. Kafulu: someone quite skilled in something
  22. Kika: intense
  23. Bagayi: guys
  24. Kablaza: close friend
  25. Yaala:  being broke
  26. Beerakko: Airtime credit, to be paid later
  27. Mobile money: cashless money transactions through telecom providers
  28. Charlie: Buddy
Boda boda credits GIlbert daniel Bwette
A boda-boda in Kampala (Credits: Bwette photography)

NB: This list is nowhere near exhaustive, it would be great to hear from you about those hot terms that didn’t make this list. Please add them to the comments’ box below.


Changing the narrative. Telling my African story



8 thoughts on “28 hot terms you need to know while in Kampala!

  1. Learnt a few words during my stay in Uganda over a decade ago. Some may not be properly spelt
    *Katikati, meaning immediately
    *Chika or is it spelt kyika/kika, the opposite of wolokoso. I know “ki” is sometimes/maybe always pronounced as “chi”
    *Webale meaning thank you
    *Webale nyo meaning thank you very much
    *Oli otya meaning hello
    *Wasuze otya meaning hello, good day, good afternoon. Can’t recall exactly
    *Sebo meaning Mr., sir, perhaps man
    *Nyanbo meaning Mrs., Madam, perhaps woman


  2. And the foods:
    *Pilau- rice (reddish/brownish) with beef chunks
    *Matoke- unripe banana meal
    *Mandazi- donut equivalent
    *Posho – corn meal
    *Kabalagala- pancakes equivalent
    * 🤔 -millet meal


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