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Banki or Benki? Opinion divided over new banknotes

Kenyans on Twitter have discovered an ‘error’ on the newly unveiled banknotes which have been in circulation since the beginning of the month of June.

With their impeccable microscopic eye that sees even the minutest detail, the online community has picked out a grammatical ‘error’ on the new notes which had initially gone undetected.

It all has to do with the way the word ‘bank’ has been spelled in Swahili on the new notes.

Many of them are of the opinion that ‘banki’, as spelled on the notes, should have been ‘benki’.

As the online debate raged, the Central Bank of Kenya spokesperson, Wallace Kantai, attempted to exonerate CBK.

“But surely. It’s been ‘Banki’ since 1966,” Wallance tweeted.

But the netizens would hear none of it.


“Inapaswa kuwa Benki, Banki ni tafsiri sahihi,” Amos Flakex said.

“Kiswahili ni benki na siyo banki,” Casmil Chache wrote.

“Jina banki na benki ni sawa, yote yametoholewa tu,” Tech Matt commented.

“What I know Kiswahili sanifu ni benki… hiyo Banki imekua rounded to sheng’ ama,” I am that African stated.

“Fungua Kamusi yako ya Kiswahili sanifu. Maelezo bayana kuwa Benki au Banki yoyote ile ni mwafaka,” Wamwea responded.

“Waswahili wanasema ni kutohoa au kuswahilisha ivyo basi ukisema ‘banki kuu au benki kuu , “tangi au tenki” ni sawa kwa maana ni nomino (noun) iliokopwa kutoka kingereza,” Kipto Chepkwony said.

“This is why I keep saying Kenyans are petty. The word ‘Banki’ has been on even the old currency, it has never been ‘Benki’. But, somehow, some of you are just noticing it now because you’re idle and feel like throwing a tantrum for no reason,” Ian Duncan wrote.

In essence, both words are grammatically correct and can be used interchangeably, although ‘benki’ is the correct Swahili translation of the word bank, while ‘banki’ is the combination of the English and Kiswahili word.