X is for #Xaxa/#Xema

A-Z-KOT-phone-XKenya’s teenagers, like their peers the world over have taken to “txtspk” or SMS language with the country developing its own distinct style that includes Swahili, vernacular and sheng (Kenyan slang) words interpreted and abbreviated for the digital age. Words such as sasa (Swahili: Hi) and sema (Swahili: hey/how’s it going?) are instead written as xaxa and xema. The x often replacing s in text speak.

In Kenya, SMS language is even at times longer and harder to spell or read out than the original sets of words. Kenyans on Twitter frown upon the use of text speak despite Twitter’s 140 character limit and are quick to parade, ignore or whip at those who defer to tweeting this way.