04 Mar



I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, a great city in East Africa.

We are five thousand and something feet above sea level so the air is cool and crisp, but the weather is schizophrenic because we’re smack on the Equator so the sun is closer.

You’ll be baked in direct sunlight, but we don’t need air-conditioning indoors.

We were colonised by the British until 1963 so we are (or were at least) VERY British. Hi tea, proper English, Ink pens not biros, School Uniform all round – actually uniforms for EVERYTHING!

The city is between three to five million strong. We have no minerals to speak of, so unlike many other African countries, we are Agriculture and Service industry driven…so highly educated (relatively) and rapidly computerizing.

Having said that, we have a game park that cuts across the city…read Central Park but wildlife for real, although this is not going to last.

I remember Giraffes licking windscreen wipers off windshields!

It’s a very green city when it rains, and a very yellow one when it doesn’t. Like many cities, it is cleanly divided between those who have, and those who do not…and this runs along colour lines, White and Asian on one side, and Black on the other, though Black Rich Kenyans are richer and more numerous. Strange that.

Growing up was great, we had everything you can think of, Betamax, Commodore, Eight Track, our roads were still in good shape and being newly independent, had everyone dreaming big.

Our transport system is chaotic…consists of a gazillion privately run mini-van called matatu’s that stop when they want, drive how they want and are fully pimped out.

That’s right, pimping began right here. Body Spoilers like 747s, music systems that blow windows out, television, satellite, drugs.

We don’t play cricket.

Football, Tennis and Running.

We eat copious amounts of food, our cuisine is a mix of Indian and Indigenous – we all eat it…Chickens and Goats are loved as pets, eaten as lunch.

We’re mostly, a very orderly society…no guns until recently. Now we’re heading America so where we used to walk, we know drive, and where the city used to be a pedestrian, we’re now fully suburban.

Nairobians are like City people everywhere; hurried, impatient and insular but this is only for part of the day. We drink a lot and party hard too.

Unlike South Africa though, we do not visit each other much. Very odd. Almost all our meetings occur away from our homes.

Weddings are loud colourful affairs…you really understand that we are forty-eight WHOLLY separate tribes with completely different languages, sharing a very tiny space. We’re very proud of that, and the political progress we’ve been making in the last few years.

In 1963 we were richer than Singapore, with a far better out-look…that was wasted. But watch this space.

Strange writing about home…you want to paint a picture but perhaps saying how you live in it would be more interesting! Shall attempt again tomorrow! With Photos!


-visit my poetry blog – Tomatos, Oranges and Other Fruit-


Posted by on March 4, 2011 in postaday2011


Tags: ,

5 responses to “Nairobi!

  1. lesser angel

    March 5, 2011 at 02:24

    Hey, Kolembo. Enjoyed your description of Nairobi – loved learning more about the place you’re from.

    One minor quibble. Kolembo says: “We don’t play cricket.” That probably needs a little qualification – BECAUSE Kenya is one of the fourteen countries playing in the current World Cup Cricket series. Eleven of Kenya’s current WCC team were born in Nairobi – only two and the coach were not.

  2. lesser angel

    March 5, 2011 at 02:33

    You probably only said that – about the cricket – Kolembo, because you thought that would draw me out of the woodwork, eh? (since I was watching the cricket when we first started talking with each other – all that long time ago).

    • kolembo

      March 5, 2011 at 11:09


      Got me a Nolan!

      Ya…ok…that cricket team is a political gimmick…designed to make us appear gentrified. Look closer…they’re actually using Tennis strokes…!

      No, actually, there has always been a tenuous reach for cricket, like it’s the homework we didn’t get done…there’s no way you’d get a group of Kenyans to sit down and watch cricket…have you seen our Rugby Sevens fans?!

      I tell you what though…it IS bringing Kenyans and Kenyan Indians together!

      Have packed my sis off to the Mara to see some game….so I’m gonna be coming at ya in MSF…if I can haul myself outta this place.

      Want to see the photos…by the way, I got it…I have to enable photos on gmail in order to see what you send.

      Loving you excrutiatingly madam! Pulled teeth over my poem yesterday…very lack-lustre performance…tell me what you think, I’m not attached to it all.

      Mwah, mwah, mwah….air kisses all round!

  3. Tilly Bud

    March 5, 2011 at 13:00

    This was fascinating to read.

    My husband visited Kenya a few times and loved it.

    Can’t wait for more – and the promised photos!

  4. lightdance

    March 6, 2011 at 15:58

    I earned something interesting. Thanks.


Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: