Shembeteng: How to Speak Nairobi’s Latest Sheng


The new street language was created by a group of young men from Nairobi’s Kayole who identify themselves as Jeshi Jinga.

The new sheng in town, dubbed Shembeteng, is a testament of how fast sheng is growing in Kenya.

The new street language was realized by a group of young men from Nairobi’s Kayole who identify themselves as Jeshi Jinga.

Shembeteng made its way to the internet and it is thought to be the hardest sheng to be understood so far.

However, in this article, looks at the meaning of Shembeteng and how to use it.

Shembeteng meaning 

Basically, Shembeteng is adding specific terms to normal words; be it Swahili, English or Sheng to make it longer and giving it a hidden meaning.

This is to mean that you can only understand the language when you know how to skillfully insert the terms into your words.

Such terms include mboto, mbata, mbiti, mbete and mbutu among others.

If you looked at the stated terms keenly, you will notice that its is almost similar to English vowel system, aeiou.

Shembeteng example

In this example, we are going to use Mboto and come up with a sentence that will give you a better understanding of Shembeteng.

English: Kevin came, took the mangoes and ate all of it.

Kiswahili: Kevin alikuja akachukua maembe na akazila zote.

Shembeteng: Kevin alikam akachukua maembe na akakula zombotote.

As seen here, we added mboto to zote, a Swahili word for all of it, to make it zoMBOTOte.

READ ALSO: Ngumi mbwegze, kuomoka: List of sheng phrases that trended in 2020

Shembeteng words and their meaning

  • Naskimbitia – I can hear
  • Nakulombotove – I love you
  • Mazembete – girls
  • Mzimbiting – an older man or a dad
  • Lumbutuku – dressing smart
  • Kizumbutungu – English
  • Mshombotosh – a grandmother
  • Mrombotoko – mother
  • Jimbitinga – stupid
  • Rumbutungu – money
  • Kuntaka – a fool
  • Zombotote – all of it
  • Nakuhambatate – I hate you
  • Kiambatasi – a little
  • Wambatangu – mine
  • Fomboto – follow
  • Gembeteto – ghetto
  • Jembeteshi – a group or a gang

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