A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently expressing her disappointment in the average Kenyan’s inability to carry out a conversation in Kiswahili. I understood her disgust J. I was born and have grown up in Mombasa. But over the years, I’m afraid I have lost my fluency in the language. I speak for many in the corporate and social world who have one time or the other found themselves developing a headache by simply trying to keep up with a Kiswahili conversation or get one going for that matter.
Here are a few ways I have developed in trying to turn around my ‘disability’ to work for me. Not many people are willing to try Kiswahili as an ice breaker. All you really need is a smile and a hint of confidence!
Make Kiswahili your starter. “Jambo!” It works for me every time! I use this greeting indiscriminately. It gets my audience loosened and tickled and after we try and keep the momentum going and fail two sentences in, we both relax and get back to business.
Samahani, unaitwa nani? Kiswahili is an effortlessly polite language. Instead of the expected English version, surprise your target with this melodious line and I promise a smooth sail from there on out.
Asante! I hold this one close to my heart and it’s one of the common ones..
Kwaheri yakuonana! It promises to make a lasting impression on your audience and a call back if it’s a business deal related conversation.
Ni hayo tu, kwa sasa! That’s all for now!