FAQs and Jargon

Here are a few terms and phrases that you will help you understand and enjoy posts on this blog.

  1. Kanyari – This is the street name for the Scania Bus model F310. It has been rated at 310 horsepower. It was nicknamed after the controversial Bishop Kanyari who encouraged his followers to plant seeds of Kshs 310 to enjoy blessings.
  2. Jembe – Not a very pleasant word. Refers to instances where a passenger opts not to book a bus but instead board away front the office and the spoils are shared between the crew.
  3. Kupiga Debe – The act of soliciting for passengers especially near another company’s offices. Also applies to generally speaking in favour of one company.
  4. Hino – You may have seen trucks written Hino on the road. Hinos here solely refer to ladies. Friday is their special day.
  5. Sambaza – Introduced by Safaricom as a way of sharing airtime. It means a small piece of wood often used to bridge the gaps between seats in a matatu to allow it carry an extra passenger. Mostly found in the rural areas.
  6. Mchinku or Tecno – Buses from the East more so China. They were once regarded as very weak and could melt under the hot sun. The myth has been busted and everyone seems to be headed to China for units to add to their fleet. The latest addition being by Modern Coast.
  7. Mrengo or Mrengoville – Buses that have no distinctive schedules or stopovers. They will stop anywhere and everywhere to pick and drop passengers.
  8. Tulela – These are buses built on trailer aka tulela chasis. The delicate art of transforming trailers into buses for PSV use. Notably the practice has been adopted by Modern Coast, Simba, Dreamline, Mash, Nairobi Bus and recently Buscar.
  9. Posho – This still has no clear definition. It remains a grey area.
  10. Migingo – These are circumstances where two buses have the same name but different owners. One company goes to operate officially whereas the other operates Mrengo style.
  11. Jeshi – Group of touts and in some cases fans who continually make noise about a certain bus and often advocate for it to be filled ahead of all the others.
  12. Groundie – An invention of Timothy Wallace aka Waiganjo aka Halfman. Its the art of taking photos of a bus with the camera placed on the ground. The result is a worm’s eyeview of the bus. How he thought of this still remains a closely guarded secret.
  13. Omata – A device that limits the speed of a vehicle to the specified value. 80Kph for Kenya.
  14. Mkeka/Punchline – This is the wide mud flap place at the rear of a bus. Often it bears a message that is meant for the opponents or fans. Its also has a crucial function of preventing sand blasting of the vehicle at the rear.
  15. Keria Code – Corrupted version of Carrier Code. This covers vehicles that have the traditional luggage carriers mounted on top of the bus or minibus.
  16. Lieskin – Girls considered to have a different skin tone other than the one they were born with. Mostly very light. They also have blonde tendencies.
  17. Usiku Sacco – Those who take over the streets and social media to take photos and post after hours.
  18. Ligi – Happens when different buses are scheduled and actually leave at almost the same time. The way they will try to get to the common destination is referred to as ‘Ligi’ with emphasis on who will get there first and safely.

Now you won’t go wondering what a certain word means. Kindly let me know of any more terms that have been used on this blog and whose meaning you have no clue.



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