Before I get started highlighting few slangs in Kalenjin Language, it is worth admitting that the many traditional languages have been urbanized and these are so latest in every part of the world, to every native and national languages.
Every language have had its fair share of new words, newly added syllables, interchanged syllables in the same old words, etc. . . and we find it interestingly funny.
I like the fact that my fellow Kalenjin people have their slang too. Though many communities in Kenya believe that Kalenjins are very primitive (washamba) people, I will beg to disagree because we have had numerous brothers and sisters out there amazing the world with their talents, wisdom and capabilities with which it brands Kalenjin as a trendy community.
Our slang has gone beyond socializing one on one to Television, where many have used our words to have fun, to amuse a congregation like in a stand-up comedy (recall ‘Stupit’ in Churchill Show?), to make a Kalenjin actor/character in TV Dramas, advertisements among others.
Mostly, Kenyan TV dramas like making Kalenjin characters to play as Policemen, who talk with a very strong accent of Kalenjin language.
Example: “Wee kijana, toa kitu kitogo kwa bolisi alabu tuwachilie wewe prii” which means;
“Hey you, give police something small (bribe) so that we’ll let you free”.
Sample Kalenjin Slang Words
Mlabataji – This is a Kalenjin slang that means an athlete. It is a combination of Kalenjin and Swahili. “-Labat- ” for run and the first “m” and the last “-ji” are Swahili syllables.
Anyone – This, if you read in English means anybody. Reading this pronouncing every letter makes it a Kalenjin word for “I am coming”. My non-Kalenjin friends like joking with this word. What a slang without modifications!!
Mursiik – This word has been used like it is a Swahili yet it is purely Kalenjin. It is the name to mean “Cuddled Milk”. I’ve heard non-Kalenjins using this word many times to mean the same thing as we do. The reason I concluded is that we are the original pioneers of this very sweet product and it is widely referred to using our very own language, because no one else can produce it as best as we do.
Actually this is my favourite drink.
Mataruu – I first heard this word near home, in the adjacent residents of mixed tribes, in Mogoiywet Centre. I wondered what they meant when suddenly all the kids ran screaming “mataruu, mataruu”. Immediately they stopped and gazed to a lined warrior-like boys moving very fast with unidentifieable regalia. I turned around to see what they were screaming for, only to realize they were running away from the scary “Kalenjin circumcised boys in seclusion“. We call them Tarusiek. So mataruu is Swahili-Kalenjin in a short form.
I love my Kalenjin!
Do you know more Kalenjin Slang words? Please add them below in the comments section.