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Is Sheng On Its Way To Becoming An Official Language In Kenya? Lets Find Out.

It is in the early 1970’s, there’s a huge flow of Kenyans from ethnically fragmented rural areas to urban cities seeking economic opportunities. This has caused increased diversity and interethnic interactions. As a result, new medium of communication; a secret language for the youth growing up in this multicultural and multilingual urban environment of Nairobi slums is brewing up. They call it 'Sheng'.

According to experts 'Sheng' emergence in 1970’s and its popularity was due to the desire for the construction of new identity, specific to youth of Nairobi’s slums. 50 years later in 2021 'Sheng' has become widely recognized as a linguistic phenomenon. Despite being stigmatized and rejected by older generations for a long time. It has come to a point where if you can’t get rid of it you embrace it. 'Sheng' has weathered a storm of being a forbidden hooligan dialect in schools and public places to be a naturally accepted language in many areas. This has seen the rise of radio stations fully dedicated to 'Sheng' e.g. Ghetto radio which is an official 'sheng' station in Kenya.

Today 'Sheng' has surpassed the limits of Nairobi to other urban centers in Kenya and even beyond. A gift from the ‘ghettos’ of Nairobi to East Africa, it has permeated Kenyan culture. It has even surpassed the Kenyan boarders and you’ll hear sheng words in Tanzania and Uganda. From music, to advertisements and politics sheng has been used to entice the majority youths in Kenya who embrace it as their own and unique identity. 'Sheng' also symbolizes a desire to bridge the divides that are apparent throughout Kenyan society.

To some, 'Sheng' may seem like an invading language. Just like any other slang originated by the youth of today as a way for shunning older generation and making it look outdated. But the truth is that 'Sheng' represents more. From giving an identity, bringing up a more united generation of Kenyans, bridging the gaps between traditional and modern ways and most importantly breaking down ethnic barriers, 'Sheng' has proven to be an indispensable and unique tool of uniting us as Kenyans. 

So I really hope you found this article interesting. If you did, please do follow me for more enlightening and exciting stuff and don’t forget to share it. I’ve got brand new articles like this every week and when you are following me you’ll definitely get notified. As always thank you for reading.

Content created and supplied by: Tha_Godfather (via Opera News )

East Africa Kenyans Nairobi Sheng


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