Totally random end-month post! (Miura Daichi)

It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge k-pop fan for some time now (and yes! I knew of and loved Psy before the whole Gangnam madness!) But recently my attention has been caught by one Daichi Miura, a fine live perfomer and a superstar in his own right (or atleast in my mind he is!) He’s been likened to MJ a number of times and for good reason as he somehow manages to sing and dance to live music and makes it look so darn effortless! My newest obsession for sure and considering that lately I’ve been endlessly singing along to his tunes my Japanese skills might just be about to experience some much needed improvement-watch this space!

(And the point of this totally random post is: if any kind soul has a recent DM concert DVD lying around and wouldn’t mind parting with it for say 20 quid? Please give us a shout and share the goodies! ‘Onegaishimasu!’ (90 degree bow!)

Daichi in action:

(And I just belatedly realized this is my 100th post-happy days! Here’s to a 100 more! Akhsanteni sana!)

LESSON #53: Methali…#3

Methali: Mtu ni watu (a person is people)

This is basically the equivalent of the English ‘no man is an island’ which pretty much means everybody needs other people in his life to be able to do or be anything, one can’t do it all by themselves. Read More

Daladalas in Bongo…

If you haven’t been to my city, Bongo, (that’s Dar for those who aren’t familiar with the term), you’ll find that daladalas are the most popular form of transportation for the common mwananchi (citizen). What daladalas are is simply mini buses that were introduced back in the 90’s when before that all we had were these huge buses that took forever to arrive and only did limited trips at that. They were named after the  TSH 5 coin (dala– street slang for ‘the Dollar’ I suppose) that was the original fare when they were first introduced. They come in the small version:

daladala small

Or the big version:

daladala big

At the moment however daladalas are just about the most annoying thing in the city due to the congestion they cause, but we can’t do much about them as most of the city dwellers depend on them to travel around. But annoyances aside, let’s learn some daladala- related must know stuff!

First, daladalas can stop anywhere as long as there’s no traffic cop lurking around. This is Africa it’s how we roll! So you can basically just go to the main road and expect to flag down a passing daladala as you would a taxi! Thing is they are all privately owned so all the driver and his side kick are thinking is to make enough money to take to the boss as agreed beforehand then the rest is all theirs that’s why they would stop anywhere to pick up a passenger and make as much money as they can. Daladalas are also very easy to spot as their routes are always in huge letters on the ‘front face’ (as seen in the pictures).

Secondly, if you ask nicely enough you can be dropped off wherever you wish, not necessarily the fixed stops. These ‘favour stops’ so to speak are what we call msaada (help). So what you do is, very kindly ask the conductor or driver to drop you off at xyz place, it has to be an easily recognizable place so they know beforehand exactly where you are referring to. For example where I live is not a stop but a ‘msaada’ so I always have to say “Naomba msaada Super!”. (‘Super’ being the name of our unofficial stop).  Most of the times you will be granted your ‘msaada’ but don’t act like you were just denied your basic human right if they say no, it’s just a favour they are doing you.

Thirdly, daladalas tend to get quite crowded especially during rush hour so you’ll encounter just as many people standing as those sitting. If you’ve been to London, think the Central Line in the morning or evening-down to the ridiculous smells especially during the summer! But if crowds aren’t exactly your thing, fear not, there’s plenty of taxis to go around!

Lastly, and this is the most important bit, daladalas take for-ever to arrive at their destination! So you’d be well advised to give even up to 2 hours of extra time if you need to be somewhere promptly. As I mentioned, they tend to congest the roads so much that traffic can be at a standstill for quite a bit. Here’s a tip though, if you need to go somewhere minus the hustle and overcrowding and at quite a reasonable speed, lunch time is the best time! No traffic, no people, you just cruise all the way to your destination!

And if I’ve just about managed to scar and traumatize you to the point of cancelling that Dar trip you were planning…… not so fast! Soon these pesky daladalas will be a thing of the past as they give way to some pretty cool public transportation system. We can hardly wait! Here’s a sneak peak…karibuni Dar!


(one of the BRT bus terminals under construction)

LESSON #52: In the bedroom (chumbani)


  • Bedroom- chumba cha kulala (vyumba vya kulala)
  • Bed- kitanda (vitanda)
  • Mattress- godoro (magodoro)
  • Bed sheet- shuka (mashuka)
  • Blanket- blanketi (mablanketi)
  • Pillow- mto (mito)…(hands up if u know the other meaning of ‘mto’!)
  • Pillow case- foronya
  • Wardrobe- kabati la nguo (makabati ya nguo)
  • Mirror-kioo (vioo)
  • Sleepwear- nguo ya kulalia (nguo za kulalia)

Ochu Sheggy’s ‘Kiingereza’

A funny,  satirical sort of tune. ‘Kiingereza’ means English and the guy is saying he can speak English-albeit only after he’s had a drink or two! Tanzanians are well known in EA for not paying that much attention to the English language and this is kind of making fun of that fact.

Swahili slang (money)

Swahili just like any other language is choke full of some slang words which could be in Swahili or a foreign language, particularly English. Having been away from home for quite a bit, I am in no way, shape or form an expert when it comes to the latest slang in the streets of Dar & Nairobi so I’ll just go with what I remember as someone suggested talking about slang words once in a while. Slang in Kenya is called ‘Sheng’ while in TZ it is called ‘lugha ya mtaani’= street language.

I’ll basically mix up Kenyan & Tanzanian slang and hopefully I won’t be telling you slang words used 10 years ago and you end up embarrassing yourself! So let’s just hope you are in good hands 😉  For this ‘first edition,’ so to speak, let’s talk money…

  • Jero (pronounced ‘jelo‘)- TSH 500
  • Buku (or buku moja)- TSH 1000
  • (you can also say buku mbili, buku tatu…….etc)
  • Mapene/ Mshiko/ Mkwanja– money (TZ)
  • Chapaa/ Niado– money (KNY)
  • Kobole/ Ngovo– KSH 5
  • Ashuu– KSH 10
  • Pound/ Mbao/ Blue– KSH 20
  • Finje– KSH 50
  • Soo/ Red– KSH 100
  • (you can also say ‘soo moja’, ‘soo mbili’, ‘soo tatu’…etc)
  • Thao/ G/ Ngiri/ K– KSH 1000

As my vocabulary is very limited in this area, feel free to share whatever you know via the comment section and I will be sure to update this post with it.



The ‘Askari Monument’ in Dar es salaam

If NY has the ‘Statue of Liberty’ and Paris has the ‘Eiffel Tower’ then Dar es salaam, in Tanzania has the very famous and easily recognizable ‘Askari Monument.’  (askari= soldier). This was erected in honour of the African soldiers that fought during WW1.  Apparently it’s also situated at a place that marks the exact centre of downtown Dar- cool! The ‘askari’s’ rifle also points towards the equally famous Dar es salaam Harbour.

In Swahili we commonly call the statue ‘Askari wa Mtutu’ (or maybe that’s just me, I don’t know! ‘mtutu’= barrel of a gun). The statue has been up since 1927 and I’m pretty certain it will continue to be for generations to come to keep reminding everyone of the brave soldiers that were our great grandfathers.  So next time you are in Dar, be sure to look out for it, you can’t miss it! (Click here to read more).

Askari Monument then…

askari monument then

Askari Monument now…

askari monument


LESSON #51: Learn how to respond when called in Swahili

So there’s two main ways of responding when your name is called in Swahili. Men and women answer differently although I know a few women (ok notably one woman I happen to call mom!) who uses the male way of responding for some unexplainable reason (can’t blame her though she’s Kenyan-just kidding!)

For women, when ur name is called you can respond in a number of ways:

‘labeka!’, ‘labe!’, ‘bee!’, ‘abee!’– all these mean “yes sir! ” or “yes ma’am!” but we use them even in informal situations eg. when answering to parents.  So you wouldn’t really call dad and mom sir or ma’am but its just a form of respect for elders.  You can also respond this way to your peers if you wish. The most commonly used of these four are ‘bee and ‘abee (the other two are a bit too old fashioned) Note:  be sure to pronounce the ‘e‘ in the proper Swahili way or else you’ll end up saying things you dont quite mean! Click here to refresh your memory.

As for men the response is ‘naam!’ Again it means “yes sir!” or “yes ma’am!” but it can be used pretty much in any situation just like its female counterpart.

Naam!’ also means ‘certainly’, ‘of course’ or ‘definitely’, so if you are agreeing with someone or something you can also say ‘naam!’

And if you can’t be bothered like myself, you are welcome to use the many different universal ways of responding like eeh! aahmmh!…… etc which are pretty much acceptable especially in informal situations.


LESSON #50: Methali…#2

The  ‘methali’ goes like this: “upandacho ndicho uvunacho” which means what you sow is what you reap (a.k.a. u reap what you sow). This I don’t think needs much explanation cuz it pretty much is what it is!
To break down the verbs:
Read More