WORDS, SLANGS AND PHRASES YOU SHOULD KNOW WHILE IN UGANDA

If you’re planning to visit Uganda, on your vacation, here are some of the words use/slangs which are commonly used. These words and phrases are regarded as informal but are commonly and widely used in Uganda to communicate to a particular group of people, community or context of people .Many of these words are well spread across country

The definition of the  word “Muzungu”

The word Muzungu comes from Kiswahili, where ‘zungu’ is the word for spinning around on the same spot. That dizzy lost look was perfected by the first white people arriving in East Africa – or so the story goes – and Ugandans haven’t stopped laughing at us yet!

The meaning of the word Mzungu or Muzungu?

According to Wikipedia, Mzungu is the southern, central and eastern African term for a person of foreign descent. Literally translated it means “someone who roams around aimlessly” or “aimless wanderer” (from the Swahili and Ganda words). It’s now commonly used in most Bantu languages of East, Central and Southern Africa, especially in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

Wachizungu or Bachizungu are literally ‘things of the aimless wanderers’ and have come to mean Western culture, lifestyle and cuisine. Anyone who looks like they are from outside East Africa/Africa is called a Muzungu

Muzungu-how-are-you?

If you’re a white person coming to Uganda, get used to it: this is a way of greeting a white man in Uganda you will have this greeting running through your brain from morning until night as you move around Uganda.

Like it or love it, if you are a muzungu, you stand out like a sore thumb. Children and groups of excited kids/pupils will cheer you from the sidelines and screaming at you,

Muzungu! Bye!

You may think you’re the first white person these kids have ever seen, but that’s probably not the case, Muzungu bye means “bye bye”  kids they keep on waving at you saying muzungu bye even if its their first time to see u

If you’re a muzungu in Uganda, these are some of the words and phrases you shold use and look Ugandan don’t feel shame to talk or ascent you will make instant friends

 

 

As always it is a culture to great any where in the world even in Uganda we do great people politely and gentle. In the morning you may great “Wasuze otya”   Good Morning he or she will reply you with Bulungi meaning good and fine.

Good afternoon or Good Evening: Osiibye otya, this is used to great you in the evening or afternoon hours

Their also other greetings depending on day or night

  • Hi:  Ki kati the ki is pronounced Chi
  • How are you?:  Oli Otya
  • The answer is -I am ok: Gyendi the G here is pronounced like a J”
  • Have nice day:  Siiba bulungi
  • when going to bed or leaving for the night we say  Sula bulungi meaning good night
  • : Weeraba means goodbye to one person in plural we say mweraba
  • OK:  Kale
  • No thanks:  Nedda
  • I do not know:  Simanye
  • What time is it?:  Sawa mmeka?
  • How much is it?:  Ssente Mmekka?
  • I do not have any money: Sirina Sente
  • I love you: Nkwagala
  • I am:  Nze (your name)
  • Thank you:  Weebale
  • Thank you very much:  Weebale Nnyo
  • Please come in:  yingira
  • Excuse me in order to get someone’s attention:  Owange
  • Please sit down:  Tuula wansi
  • Pardon me, what did you say?:  Wangi or Ogamby Ki?
  • apologize by saying I am sorry:  Nsonyiwa

 

Addressing People:

  • Madam: Nyabo
  • Sir:  Ssebo
  • Mwami
  • Mrs Mukyala

Sharing your feelings:

Ndi means I am

  • angry:  ndi munyiivu
  • cold:  mpulira empewo
  • am full:  ndi mukkufu
  • happy:  ndi musanyufu
  • hot:  mpulira ebbugumu
  • hungry:  Enjala ennuma
  • sad:  ndi munakuwavu
  • scared: ntidde
  • sick:  ndi wulwadde
  • thirsty:  ennyonta ennuma
  • tired:  nkooye
  • worried: ndi mweraliikirivu
  • I like:  Njagala
  • I do not like: Saagala
  • Muyaye,This refers to a non-formal person who is so much into illegal stuff, wants the extra tip. It can be used to mean someone “sharp”. Muyaye is the singular form and Abayaye in the plural.
  • Kiwani, This was their and people were using it but later was most popularized by a local singer and now Bobi Wine A.K.A (Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu) who is now Member of Parliament. This came after the hit song titled Kiwani in 2007.This is used to mean a lie/Fake/Duplicated.
  • Twegweko, It means let’s link up some other time .
  • Kyali, This is used to mean Friend, colleague, brother.”Oyo guy kyali wange literally meaning that guy is my friend.
  • Majje, this is a recent slang that was invented by singer Ziza Bafana. It has a close meaning to Kyali (friend) but it is mostly used to mean someone with a similar character. For example, if I know of someone that loves hanging out a lot he/she definitely becomes a Majje…
    Majje in the right manner means the Army.
  • Deemu simply means Girlfriend, wife etc
  • Loo, It’s a word means strong willing/braveness to act…For example if someone is quick to start a fight, can walk alone in the wee hours of the night, can approach any girl with no fear …etc
  • Sala pressure tis word was invented by singer Mun G. It’s hidden meaning is go slow or hold something with care.
  • Beelamu, This means to be sharp. For example, if I said Gwe man ‘Belaamu’ it literally meaning please be sharp, attentive or coordinate.
  • Mu Kinti, Refers to someone who is a better financial position or in a decision making position. This word was mostly used to describe the people who are working with government more the presidential tribe mates who used to say we’re in power

 

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