Boda boda is one of the latest additions to the 9th edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary but Kenyans and Ugandans are already fighting over its originality and copyright.
The two countries have taken it to social media to debate how the commonly used term in the East African region came to be and who between Kenyans and Ugandans were first to use it.
The 9th edition of the English Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary, published this week, define boda boda as a motorcycle or bicycle with a space for a passenger or for carrying goods, often used as a taxi.
In East Africa, boda boda is used to refer to bicycles and motorbikes used to ferry people over short distances at a small fee.
Though the Oxford dictionary gave a Ugandan example to illustrate its meaning in a sentence, “Boys on boda bodas riding on Kampala’s streets,” the term is believed to have originated in Kenya’s border town of Malaba in Busia County.
Riders who ferried people from remote areas in Busia County toward the border with Uganda used to shout “border border” hence corrupting the English words to boda boda.
In the border town, most times people avoided using Matatus because they were expensive and unavailable while boda boda rides required no paperwork to be ferried to your destination.
The term has now spread across Kenya and East Africa. In Kenya, boda boda have been blamed for numerous road accidents and kidnappings.