Unpacking Twende Tukiuke

On October 23, 2020, Safaricom introduced a new phrase into Kenyan lexicon: Twende Tukiuke. It was, as is usually the case with these things, a word in Kiswahili that usually has one well-known meaning, and its use by the company sparked debate about its other meanings, and there have been interesting conversations about it.

05 Jan 2021 . 8,580 Views

One of the most distinguishing features of Safaricom over the past 20 years has been its knack for coming up with memorable and mostly popular names for its products, services and campaigns.

There is a method and a process to developing the name, says Caroline Kendi, Head of Brand and Communications at Safaricom, and there is usually a Swahili translation of the word or phrase selected.

Twende Tukiuke was the phrase selected for the 20-year anniversary of the company. It’s the Kiswahili translation of ‘Let’s Go Beyond’, which speaks to Safaricom’s ambition to become more than a telecommunication company offering connectivity and a payment platform.

It encapsulates the ambition to be a purpose-led technology company, going into new areas while continuing to strengthen its traditional base business, which is to connect people.

The phrase sparked interesting conversations on social media and other spaces as people debated Safaricom’s selection of a phrase that many associated with negativity as the most common usage of the word ‘kiuka’ is in the phrase ‘kukiuka sheria’ which means ‘to break the law’.

Caroline and members of her team were happy when the debate kicked off as they had similar heated conversations before, during and after they picked the word to represent the message ‘Let’s Go Beyond.’

It was the same sort of conversations that followed the launch of Fuliza early 2019, and the Brand and Communications team was glad when Citizen TV hosted Swahili gurus Munene Nyaga and Nuhu Bakari to discuss the phrase, and proved them right.

The Newsroom spoke to Caroline about the process through which Safaricom comes up with these nifty phrases, what ‘Twende Tukiuke’ means and its relation to the brand promise launched when Safaricom marked its 19 years’ anniversary in 2019.

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7 comments

  1. Why do I not qualify for the lipa mdogo mdogo services

  2. Service delivery at the Naivasha branch isn't satisfactory

  3. Safaricom have greatly improved peoples life , for instance i sam being one of them , from how they offer their services , how their network reach every corner of the nation , its such a wonderful companyb, ... I greatly say # TWENDE TUKIUKE . I am one of you

  4. I don't know why but I keep reading the phrase in Kikuyu... Twende T?g??ke.. meaning let's go and come back ???? similar to naenda ni-come

  5. Your branding team is on another level. Keep going, 'Twende Tukiuke'

See also

  • Let’s go beyond
  • Safaricom@20
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