Young people in the Ashanti regional capital of Kumasi have developed a new slang to rival the popular pidgin language which was imported into the country from Nigeria.
Code-named ‘Saka’, the reverse of the Akan word ‘kasa’ which means ‘to speak’, the slang is fast becoming an alternative to the pidgin language.
The ‘Keshey’ language, as it is sometimes called, mixes sounds from different popular dialects including Twi and English into one uniquely coined word.
Unlike other languages, Keshey has no exclusive alphabets or definitive sounds. Speakers of the language should only be smart enough to interchange the sounds and articulate swiftly.
“It’s like when you have a word, you just take the first pronunciation [sound] of the word and take it back, and take the back one and bring it forward. So you just change it and you have to speak it fast and when you are saying it, you have to change it in your mind fast,” a student told JoyNews.
He further said “the Accra people speak pidgin so we want to create our own language because as for Kumasi, everyone can speak Twi but now we have created our own language known as Keshey.”
The language is also the stock in trade of a new wave of young musicians in Kumasi, including Sean Black, Zamani, Papa Kumasi and the popular Asakaa Boys whose Kumerican music took the country by storm in 2020.
Starting only as a street code, the Keshey language is now a symbol of pride that many people in Kumasi yearn to be associated with, especially high school students.
“I feel attracted to the Keshey, I have the passion to learn but it feels difficult to learn it. Sometimes, when I see my friends speaking that particular language, I feel left out,” a gentleman revealed.
Another person indicated that he would like to learn the language because “if I see someone speaking it, it’s nice and the way they speak it is very good.”
Supporters of schools in the ongoing National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ), especially those from Kumasi, have been speaking the language.
“Our prayer is that God will help us to give the children and the elderly people the knowledge to speak the language because it is now becoming the whole thing in Kumasi; some of the Accra people also speak the language.”
For now, the language is spreading in Kumasi like wild fire. Maybe you should learn it.