A-Z of Only in Nairobi (M-Z)
ps:- can I begin by saying I love Kenya and Africa soooooo much. Love to you oh sweet continent and all peoples of Kenya and Africa.
· Miniskirts being raruriwad – back then it was kawa to hear such storos and apparently kina Mungiki revived that bad tabia, even in Mombao kulikuwa na recent backlash against hipster traos. I’d say wacha kuonea wasichana.
· Mkate na chai: that combo was so popular. If you went to someone’s hao they’d give you chai and akida with blueband/jam, ilikuwa kama the law. But then if you were entertaining people from outside Nai and you gave them those thin tao slices of mkate they’d feel like you nyimad them (nje ya Nai they pendad those mambig slices of bofuro).
· Mkojoo mahali popote: people used to take the saying “Mwenye haja huenda choo” too literally. Remember those signs telling people “usikojoe hapa” then manos would kojoa precisely on the signs. If your hao’s fence bordered a public road it would be kojolewad kabisa.
· Mkokotenis: those people could kanyanga anyone, when they came people just ran to the side of the road/street, and walikuwa barefoot or wearing akala siku hizo. Yenyewe they were really strong, for one person to carry all those fruits and vegetables and sacks of potatoes it must require mingi nguvu.
· Mobile photographers: I pendad those people sana, they were so industrious. Na for real they didn’t toroka with your pictures. Hata they used to be in tao, and in places like Uhuru Park, but they’d also circulate round Estos offering to take photos (I think they had a bell).
· Names like: (for shops:) International Kiosk, Wanyama Butchery, Consolidated Fish & Chips Inc., (for businesses:) Mikono Juu Security Services, (places:) Ngomongo, Gorovani, Matopeni (for TV characters:) Tamaa bin Tamaa, Masanduku, Otorong’ong’o, Mzee Pombe, Mama Kayai, Inspector Sikujua … aah those names furahisha me so much
· Ndarama street religion: remember those dinis which used to walk through Nai on Sundays – even through Estos – singing nyimbo and pigaring ndarama. There were Wakurinos and other dinis, as well as Jeshi La Wokovu.
· Nyama-choma megacentres kama Kariokor: hakuna concerns za Environmental Health, those people knew how to roast nyake carbon emissions or no carbon emissions. There is even that song: “Kenya I love you like fish & chips, Kenya nakupenda kama nyama choma” aah hiyo patriotism ni ya saa ngapi?
· Piki-piki men: the KPTC (electricity) and water men used to drive piki piki, I wonder if they still do. One day I went near one of their pikipikis when the engine was running and it wekad a scar which is still hear to this day! Talk about mobile memorabilia.
· Riots a go-go: there seemed to be many riots especially siku za ‘Saba Saba.’ Uni students also used to riot like everyday, I kumbuka them being kimbishwad by the police with tear-gas. Especially outside central Nai, people used to mwaga mate at the thought of a “mob justice” episode, nevermind whether the guy’s innocent, and sometimes if they saw a crowd running they’d just join in and start running bila knowing why (stampede a go-g0).
· Small talk: kumbuka those casual conversations: mtu 1: “ati baba wa maziwa?” mtu 2: “e-eh, yule analeta maziwa.” Mtu 1: “o-oh.” And: mtu 2: “ati Simati? Nani huyo?” mtu 1: “si yule wa mama Simati.” Mtu 2: “o-oh huyo.” (loosely lifted from a Kienyeji song about a Mama Sofi who turned the singer’s hao into a “soko ya wanaume”) I penda that “pole pole ndio mwendo” small talk.
· Strange meats: err ever eat a donkey, rat, frog, pigeon, without knowing?? Apparently ziliuzwa ndani ya samos or in butcheries and no one would know. Also there were storos of chameleons hiding in sukuma wiki, and some woman sliced/cooked the sukuma without checking then her children were eating and asking “mmm which nyama is this?” You can also buy crocodile (tastes like chicken apparently) and ostrich in Carni – jameni, where do they draw the line?
· Temaing mate ovyo ovyo: maze woe unto your windscreen if someone just flung a splash of mate on it – aah funzo baya kabisa.
· Tuning methods: like ile ya kuita dame by saying “tsks tsks.” Other manos would just tell a chick to “kunja hapa” or “nitakununulia mayai na soda.” Weeh! Lakini in some parts of Nai the manos used that technique of stopping in his tracks and saying loudly “haiya, huyu ni bibi wangu! Wooiii Huyu ni bibi wangu aliniacha! Nilimlipia wanyama tofauti halafu akatoroka” then a crowd would gather and tell the chick to stop heparing from her husband and the man would beba her by force.
· Vibuyu: the craze for vibuyu arrived, although since the ‘70s people had been bebaing packed lunch in vibuyu. The craze of wekaing tea in vibuyu really caught on, and sijui they came in shiny colours (red, purple, blue) with a white kikombe on top. The way Kenyans love tea those makers of vibuyu could never go into hasara.
· Watu wa visu: do you remember those men who used to make raos in the Esto with that wheel-thing for sharpening knives? People would tokea from their haos carrying several knives to be sharpened.
· Zaaing of watoi in Kenya bus: there were so many storos of women giving birth in buses, on road sides, in tao, mpaka in Home Science lessons we were taught how to deliver a baby in such conditions (I kumbuka the list of required implements: razor blade, hot water, a leso, newspapers..) That’s Nai.