Kenya Prepares, Sends Tips For Obama On Urban Street Slang

Kenya Prepares, Sends Tips For Obama On Urban Street Slang


Kenyans are sprucing up for Barack Obama’s visit later this month, and they have a few tips of their own for the U.S. president including some Kenyan slang that they say will make him sound cool — or cooler.

Nairobi is getting a $500,000 makeover along the highways Obama will travel, according to WorldNewsGroup.

BBC journalists suggest that instead of using the normal “jambo” greeting for hello, Obama use the street-slang version, “mambo vipi,” which they said is cooler.”

“Mambo” is classic street slang for “what’s up?” in Stone Town, Zanzibar and most of urban East Africa, according to MatadorNetwork. It means, “things” or “issues” and is often paired with the word vipi (how) as in, “How are things?”

BBC Pop Up, a travelling bureau, is in Kenya through July filming stories suggested by local residents including one involving slang used in urban Kenya.

BBC asked Kenyans to tweet tips for Obama to #bbcpopup.

These are some of the tips Kenayans suggested for Obama during his visit:

– Make sure you eat mrenda (jute mallow plant) and ugali (a starchy, polenta-like side dish) before leaving Kenya.

– Don’t take the taxis from the airport. They are too expensive.

– Bring a mobile Wi-Fi card so you can work in your car. Traffic can be bad.

– Make sure you visit Lwang’ni Beach in Kisumu for the best fish.

– Don’t miss out on eating nyama choma (roasted meat).

– Visit your father’s grave and surrounding area.

– Visit wealthy and poor neighborhoods to get a feel for the city’s visual diversity.

– See wildebeests crossing the Mara River. The great migration is happening now.

– Dance a traditional Kenyan jig when you step off Airforce One.

Check out this video for more Kenyan urban-hip slang tips.