From nauo to kuomoka! Popular and catchy phrases of 2020


As much as many have cursed this year for lagging them behind owing to the pandemic, there has been lots of laughter, great music releases with mad albums and concerts, new artists coming up, new and fresh memes to share and so much more.

As always in Kenya we like to spice things up and go with the trend, in 2020 there some of those catchy phrases we are still using and are glued to us.

You’ve probably heard some on the latest tracks after all musicians are quick to infuse some of those trendy phrases on their songs for it to go viral.

Here are some of the trendy words used in 2020 that we can’t keep off people’s tongues:

Nauo– Nauo is the key word in 2020, artists can’t seem to get enough of the word. How it came to be is thanks to gengetone group Gotta City.

The word attracted Kenyans after a video of Gotta City’s Madocho went viral where he was dissing Mbogi genje who are also sensei’s when it comes to sheng’.

Till date not everyone understands what nauo is but we got your back. According to Gotta City in an interview with Kiss FM’s Jalang’o they said Nauo means to believe in oneself yaani kujitambua. Oh well, we love the new sheng’.

Nairobi shamba la mawe – Now this word became famous thanks to narrations of people of their struggles in the capital city.

In English when directly translated it means Nairobi, a rocky farm in which rocky is symbolic to mean how tough it is to survive in the city. Kenyans shared their experience being conned for the first time in the city and the hardships people face when trying to make it in the city.

There are lots of illegal and legal ways of making ends meet that is why Nairobi is indeed shamba la mawe.

Inaniaffect– As earlier mentioned some of these words become famous and artists are quick to make use of them in order for their song to become an instant hit.

Well for Inaniffect word, Timmy Tdat the rapper from Kasabuni was quick to jump on a collabo with the word as the title of the song, we have also heard it from Naiboi and the Band Beca’s song. Where did it come from?

The origin of the word is thanks to the new sought after comedian of the year Cartoon comedy whose video went viral after her content of complaining that deep English was choking, suffocating and affecting her. “TOO MUCH ENGLISH, TOO MUCH ENGLISH…INANIAFFECT, INANICHOKE, INANISUFFOCATE.” She said on the hilarious vlog and the word came to be a national anthem.

Chuma ya Doshi – Chuma ya Doshi was just but an innocent advert of a woman praising the metal used in the making of her gate terming it as strong and long-lasting but the advert funny enough came out as sexual with the description of the woman about the metal.

In sheng’ Chuma means manhood so you can just join the dot to see why the word caught our attention. In the advert she praises the metal ‘Chuma’ for being strong and satisfactory, what a naughty coincidence right?

Ooliskia wapi– Ooliskia wapi is probably one of the words that has spiced our year and cracked our ribs. The word is twisted from Kiswahili word Uliskia wapi which means in English where did you hear that from?

Well, the phrase went viral and used on many memes and hilarious videos. So where did the most loved phrase in 2020 come from?

The originator of the word is Tanzanian MP Seleman Bungara popularly referred to as Bwege. He used the phrase as a question posed to journalists on the claims that he had shifted to the Chama Cha Mapinduzi Party.

Sadly, not even the trendy word he came up with could save him from being re-elected as the Kilwa South representative as he lost the seat in their general elections.

Kuomoka – Kuomoka could mean depart but in 2020 the meaning shifted to mean making it life. The sheng’ word rose to fame and was used on various occasions.

Utawezana – It is safe to say that Utawezana has taken the crown as the trendiest song in 2020. The song done by Kaka Empire’s Femi One and Genge star Mejja hit the waves in a huge way.

With Azziad’s Utawezana challenge that made her the household name she is today for her impressive dancing skills, Utawezana is still part of us till date. With many branded T-shirts written UTAWEZANA and on the matatus. Utawezana iliweznana in 2020.

If you behave nomare (Normally) ….it will treat us abnomare (abnormally)-Kenyans and taking things lightly.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe has been up and down trying to make Kenyans understand how serious COVID19 is and ways of keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe.

His catchy phrase ‘IF YOU BEHAVE NORMALLY THIS DISEASE WILL TREAT US ABNORMALLY’ came as a warning to Kenyans to not take things lightly about the virus and adhere to the measures such as wearing of masks, social distancing and sanitizing.

Well, Kenyans made the phrase hilarious especially because of the Kikuyu accent of the CS and the phrase became one to be used in memes, videos, songs. With Kenyans stressing the words ‘Nomare’ to mean normally and ‘Abnomare’ which is meant to mean abnormally.

Quarantine – The word quarantine was not known by many and for those who knew it wasn’t a word they often use so it sounded like a foreign or deep English for most Kenyans at the beginning.

Owing to the spread of the global pandemic the word became an ‘it’ thing with musicians such as Bongo Superstar Diamond Platinumz incorporating his fellow Wasafi records signed artists in one of the biggest hits in 2020 dubbed ‘Quarantine’.

Quarantine is an English word used to associate with the restriction of movement of animals, people and goods to prevent the spread of a contagious/infectious disease. It is the period of isolation to prevent the spread of an infectious disease.

Kunyonga monkey – Kunyonga monkey is still used and probably will sneak its way into 2021. The word has been used throughout the year, especially in memes. It means masturbation especially done by men.

Mtaachana tuu – Used as a phrase to discourage relationships. Mtaachana tu is a message sent to happy couples that the relationship will be short-lived since the couple will eventually break apart. Popular musician Bahati and his wife Diana Marua made use of the words to pull a stunt on Kenyans by faking their breakup only to release their song ‘Mtaachana tu’.

Unastruggle – Unastruggle means exactly as it reads struggling. The word came to be courtesy of Sauti Sol’s Chimano who used the word by stretching it in a hilarious way that Kenyans couldn’t help but carry it along in 2020 and even twisted it to ‘ UNASTRANGOOO’. The word is used when narrating a hilarious story or as usual in memes.

Kuforce issues – Kuforce issues is one of the phrases that has made it in 2020’s top list. It is used to describe a scenario where one seems like coming out forceful or becoming too much involved /clingy in an issue.

It will end in tears – So we have made good use of the phrase ‘IT WILL END IN TEARS’. The word is some sort of discouragement to people or things. It is used when one predicts the failure of something that would probably end badly.

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