On the Kenyan social scene, ‘Mpanasuu’ is the sheng (Swahili slang) word for a beautiful lady. It is derived and ‘corrupted’ from the original Sheng word ‘msupuu’. As with every language Sheng is continuously evolving. However, Sheng appears to evolve much faster than traditional languages. Since 2005, the trend has been to reverse or rearrange the order of characters in a word to come up with a new word. Further examples of this trend include:

Original English, sheng or swahili
word

New Sheng Derivative

Udaku (gossip)

ukuda

Maji (water)

Jima

Marry

Rima

Mjaka (luo)

Mkajaa

Msapere (kikuyu)

Mperesa

Enda (gone)

Ndae

Mtu (person)

Tumu


Matatu touts in Nairobi continue to play a deep role in shaping the language.