• Contributor, V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) – Democracy, Elections and Political Parties in Zanzibar(2000-2020).
  • Researcher, Providing for Peacekeeping Project – International Peace Institute (IPI) (2015-Ongoing).
  • Research in Popular Music and Culture (2019-Ongoing).
  • Research in Politics and Elections in Tanzania (Ongoing).

Shembeteng and the Rise of Popular creativities in Kenya

Jun 01 2022

Shembeteng and the Rise of Popular creativities in Kenya

By Nicodemus Minde

In the recent few weeks a new form of Sheng is emerging. Sheng is Kenyan street slang which has origins in low income urban settings of Nairobi. Dubbed a Shembeteng, this new variety of street slang, has been described by the Kenyan Dictionary as “sheng words that sound like they are encrypted”. The Kenyan Dictionary is a popular platform that decodes Kenyan popular verbal exegeses. It describes itself as a guide to understanding Kenyans. Apart from decoding the verbal exegeses, the platform is a space for reading contemporary Kenyan popular culture. The platform offers a humorous guide and hidden explanations of Kenyan mannerism and what it means to be a Kenyan away from the conventional. It has been argued that Kenya has struggled in its quest for a national and cultural identity but I believe the everyday lived experiences of a Kenyan constitutes a Kenyan identity.


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Nicodemus Minde
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