Boda boda, daladala among new words included in the Oxford Dictionary


The word “boda boda” has been adopted into the 9th edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary as an English terminology.

The new words added to the latest edition, published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), were drawn from local dialects in the East African region.

The Collins and Macmillan dictionaries define the term as a bicycle taxi or a bicycle rider in charge of a motorcycle.

According to the dictionary, boda boda is defined as a type of motorcycle or bicycle with a space for a passenger or for carrying goods, often used as a taxi. . An example of a sentence where it features reads like: “There were boys on boda bodas riding on Kampala’s street.”

The term has its roots in English words ‘border border’ shouted by riders in Busia, Kenya.

They ferried people from outlying areas in the county, a former district, to Busia town. Small- scale traders on the Kenya-Uganda border in the late 1980s to early 90s wanted cheap transport to ferry goods like cooking oil, wheat flour, and soap from Kenya to Uganda.

For many Ugandans, it is a transport mode of choice if one is running quick errands around town or trying to get to hard-to-reach areas and has come in handy to absorb most of the unemployed youths.

They would export things like maize to Kenya. Motorbikes came in handy as cheap, quick and convenient to ferry the goods. Since then, it has grown by leaps and bounds.

People have been reacting to the inclusion:

Other words from the region now added to the Oxford dictionary include; mwananchi – meaning an ordinary person, a member of the public; Daladala – (in Tanzania) a small bus that is used as a taxi; sambaza – (East African English) to share good or useful things with other people; and mwalimu – (East African English) a word that you use before the name of someone who is respected as a teacher.