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.
- Rolex: Kampala’s most popular street food consisting of a chapati and fried egg
- Nsenene: grasshoppers, one of the popular snacks
- Banange: there’s no English equivalent for this word. But it’s sort of an exclamation almost similar to ‘oh gosh’ or ‘omg’
- Bambi: this has no english equivalent but can be used as ‘oh dear’
- Wolokoso: depends on the context it’s being used. It can mean reckless talk or gossip or rumors or uncoordinated ideas.
- Mazongoto: originally means a double bed but has also come to mean sex
- Bunkenke: to be all tensed up or walking on eggshells
- Bonga / Kubonga: a way to greet using your fists
- Kiwani: a fake item or fake news
- Kichupuli: counterfeit item or money
- Muzungu: Caucasian or sometimes used to refer to anyone that speaks with a foreign accent
- Kyokka: interjection that is similar to ‘but’
- 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)
- Mob: a lot
- Congs: congrats or congratulations
- Kidandali; can mean a certain genre of local music
- Boda boda: motor bikes used for transportation, can also be used to mean the bike drivers
- Ku stagi: words said when you want the taxi driver to let you off at a bus stop
- Paka last: to mean eternity or to the last drop
- Amasape: someone who loves to be in the limelight/ showbiz
- Kafulu: someone quite skilled in something
- Kika: intense
- Bagayi: guys
- Kablaza: close friend
- Yaala: being broke
- Beerakko: Airtime credit, to be paid later
- Mobile money: cashless money transactions through telecom providers
- Charlie: Buddy
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!”
“Akasipaka” which means having a crash on someone
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Omunanasi being highly drunk.
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
Amazing! Oh yes… ssebo and nyabo. Thank you for sharing.
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
Pilau is a personal favorite! Thanks for sharing.