You have not stressed if you haven’t taken a moment and been like, “Hayi ndiyagowa”. Life is hard and every day we are just trying to make ends meet; but when the ends are not meeting we go through the most. In South African terms – “Siyagowa”.

A website called Africtionary describes umgowo as a Xhosa term used to tell someone that you are going through a lot.

The word comes in different forms like: mgowo, gowa, gowisha, gowishing.

Here are examples of how you can use the words in different contexts:


“Mgowo has me by the neck, I don’t have money to go to work tomorrow.”


“Gowa is making me sleep early to avoid thinking about my problems.”




“Jonga ndiyagowisha as we speak.”


“I am gowishing right now.”

So the next time someone asks how you’re doing and you know you’re not doing great, simply reply: “Ndiyagowa,” and they might even be gowishing with you.

If you enjoyed reading this, check out Ziyakhala ke manje here

Tell us: Have you been through Mgowo?