Shembeteng’ Master Leaves NTV’s Sign Language Interpreter Confused During Live Show

A group of young men from Nairobi’s Kayole who identify themselves as Jeshi Jinga introduced a new version of the sheng language dubbed ‘shembeteng’ and Kenyans are loving it.

The street language has taken the country by storm, especially among the young people with adults seemingly finding it hard to comprehend the language.

This was the case when the shembeteng’ fluent speaker identified as Master appeared in an interview on NTV on Friday, May 27.

It all began after the station’s 9pm news bulletin when the sassy anchor Olive Burrows invited Master to help her sign out the program before his interview on The Trend.

Shembeteng’ Masters. PHOTO | COURTESY


However, when he started speaking, the station’s sign language interpreter David Agondoa was left confused and froze on the screen not knowing what to do.

The Master said: “Kaeni rambatada, msiromboktoke, tuko NTV bumbutulu, sisi ndio tunachambatisha humbutu. Sisi ndio tunasembetewo humuasin. Shomoboto leo ni fambataya kaeni lombotokt. Msitombotokte (which is loosely translated as keep it locked).”

Agondoa seemingly had a problem comprehending what Master had said.
At one point, he is seen shaking his head in disbelief.

Watch the video below:

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 mbata, mbete, mbiti, mboto, mbutu among others.

If you looked at the stated terms keenly, you will notice that its is almost similar to the English vowel system, a,e,i,o and u.

Shembeteng words and their meaning

  1. Naskimbitia – I can hear
  2. Nakulombotove – I love you
  3. Mazembete – girls
  4. Mzimbiting – an older man or a dad
  5. Lumbutuku – dressing smart
  6. Kizumbutungu – English
  7. Mshombotosh – a grandmother
  8. Mrombotoko – mother
  9. Jimbitinga – stupid
  10. Rumbutungu – money
  11. Kuntaka – a fool
  12. Zombotote – all of it
  13. Nakuhambatate – I hate you
  14. Kiambatasi – a little

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