How many of you have seen German brands with Kenyan sounding names and sometimes don’t even match what they are advertising?
Here are some brands:
Mavi in swahili isn’t a word worth using on a brand because it translates to feacal matter (shit). Though not originally German, as it comes from Istanbul in Turkey, it’s a brand you see plastered on many German online shops and even high end stores.
Mtu Aero Engines
A leading manufacturer of engines, engine moduls and components. Though the MTU used in the name is an abbreviation of Motoren- und Turbinen-Union GmbH, in Swahili the word mtu would simply translate to person.
This is a kikuyu name for a male though it could also translate to desert. It was started in 1843, so I’m not sure if a member of the enterprise was already here. The company develops, produces and sells PVC and aluminum windows as well as doors.
The Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (Ausstellungs- und Messe-Ausschuss), represents the interests of exhibitors, organisers and visitors to trade fairs. Auma is a luo name for a female and translates to one delivered into a prostrate position on the ground. A very famous Auma we all know is Auma Obama.
This hadn’t hit me until the infamous Paul Kobia hit the Kenyan news a while back. The famous Kobia in Kenya is abusinessman known for brandishing his guns whenever possible and is currently gearing up for the Senate seat in Nairobi.
However, the name Kobia comes from the Meru and it was originally used to represent an age-unit in the lubetta age set. An age unit is a group of young men that were circumcised at the same site by the same circumciser using the same knife. (Read: Transformation of the traditional circumcision rite of passage for Meru boys in Kenya: A critical response to HIV/AIDS and gang formation.)
Is an oilseed processing company that supplies protein meal for Germany’s large livestock industry. Depending on where you check the company goes under different names from Bunge GmbH, Bunge Deutschland GmbH, Bunge Limited and Bunge Europe. Bunge in swahili translates to parliament.
The Maritim Hotels were founded in 1969 in Germany and runs several hotels in Germany and around Europe. They also run the Maritim Academy and the Maritim Travel Agency. In Kenya, you will find no Maritim hotel, but very many people having the name as a surname. The name is original from the Kalenjin. Famous Kenyans you might now are: runner Julius Maritim; politician Andrew Maritim; AFIF winner Mary Cherop Maritim and Tessy Maritim.
The ambia brand is carried by XXL Möbel. It ranges from furniture to light fixtures and home accessories. In Kiswahili the word “ambia” translates to “tell“.
Fasihi GmbH is an IT company that works solely on webbased solutions for companies. Though this company is named after its founder, Saeid Fasihi, the name Fasihi in swahili basically translates to literature. Works pretty well as the company reads a lot of IT literature.
This is one famous swahili word and people love it. In Germany you have numerous companies with the same name from Karibu Holztechnik, Karibu Garten, Karibu Welt- und Regioladen, even the Orientation project at the FH in Köln is called Karibu FH Köln.
I guess this is the most misused Swahili phrase in the world. Made famous by the song in the Lion King: “means no worries”. There is no limit to where this is used in Germany. There is Hakuna Matata Project, Hakuna Matata Restaurant, Hakuna Matata e.V. and Hakuna Matata pub.