In prison, forms of black slang and African languages are used to code conversations to prevent non-black inmates and staff from understanding the communication. These languages are taught to gang members who carry these back out into the community.

They also serve as a racial recruiting tool. One of the favorite forms is the African Swahili tribal dialect.

The following is a portion of a prison-copied version of the underground publication, "New Afrikan Swahili Dialect Dictionary" from the Black Panther Party Press.

SWAHILI/ENGLISH

ASANTE/Thank You

BABU/Grandfather or Father

BASI/That's All

BIBI/Grandmother

BIKIRA/Virgin

DADA/Sister

DHANI/Think

GNYE SHUKRANI/Thankful

HAJA/Need

HATA MOJA/None

JAMAA/Family

JINA/Name

KIJANA/Youth

KITU/Thing

KUANDIKA/Write

KUENDA/Went, Go or Gone

KUJARIBU/Try

KUPUTA/Throw

KUWA/Was

LA/No

LAZIMA/Must

LINI/When

MIMI/I or Me

MJANE/Widow

MKE/Wife

MTOTO MCHANGA/Girl or Baby

MTOTO WA KIUME/Boy

MUMNE/Husband

MWALIMU/Teacher

MWANAMKE/Woman

MWANAMUME/Men

MWANA DAMU/Man

MZAZI/Mother

NANI/Who

NDUGU/Brother

NIJIA/Way

NINA/I Am

NINI/What

NJDYO/Yes

MNO/Too

SASA/Now

SI/Not

SISI/We or Us

SIYO/No

UEYE/He or She

UKE/Vagina or Womanhood

UTU/Manhood

UUME/Penis

WA/Be

WAO/Them

WAPI/Where

WAZO/Thought

WEWE/You

Related Blog Post:

Do You Speak Swahili?

Author

Richard Valdemar
Richard Valdemar

Sergeant (Ret.)

Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

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Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

View Bio
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