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Site Last Update: 22 Feb, 2020
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Sheng (Kenya) Saying
In June, 2003 our African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Website will be five years "young" (or "old") depending on how you calculate. The "African Proverb of the Month" April 2003 takes a new step. Up until now we have been posting monthly African Proverbs both traditional and modern. Now we have a Sheng (Kenya) Saying which in English translates as: Use of brains begets wealth. It is contributed by Joseph Kariuki Muriithi, the Assistant Moderator of the African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Website in Nairobi, Kenya.

This Sheng language is a blend of Swahili, English and other local Kenyan languages (such as Kikuyu, Dholuo, Kamba, etc.). It started in the 1970s, picking up momentum in the 1980s and 1990s. This unique language has been attributed to the language complexity in Kenyan cities that attracts various languages. It has also been seen as the youth's attempt to carve out a niche for themselves, give themselves a special identity and communication style and mark out how distinct they are from the older generation of their parents. In the emotional realm of ethnicity, the Sheng language has been seen as an answer to the negative notions of ethnicity in urban areas given that no one ethnic group is able to identify with the language.

We hope other African youth will contribute their sayings, mottos, slang, and other contemporary expressions. This is a concrete way of showing how contemporary African Oral Literature is relevant to today's world especially in African cities. Please send them to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it