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.


At 3:14 pm, Anonymous mshairi said...

Your blog should win the award for ‘best blog to read when one wants remember funny things and smile’:-) This is excellent – everything resonates – the vibuyus, tuning methods, small talk, etc. Thank you for the memories, memoire.

At 3:14 pm, Blogger Adrian said...

in addition to the "watu wa visu", there was also the barter trade guy - "maari kwa maari, maari kwa maari, maaari kwa maaaaareeee!!" (mali kwa mali).

crocodile meat: first tried that at mamba village in mombasa. tasted good.

do watchies and maids also count? i know they are not unique to our time, but we probably spent quite a lot of time with them. maids were often called "auntie".
the way they used to hit at each other is another topic...

At 5:03 pm, Anonymous Mama JunkYard said...

That miniskirt tearing! I went to Kenya when I was 15...and I had no idea that a teenager wearing hot pants could cause such a stand still!

I love the this A-Z. Is there an A - L part?

At 6:05 pm, Blogger nick said...

as usual great list

1.Mkate and tea

-oh yes.especially in those days of unsliced bread...relatives would heap like half the loaf on your plate and via the technique of sopping it in your cup of tea u could finish it and still have half the cup of tea
-do u remember loaves like broadways(which is still in nyeri), mother choice which took the taste of blueband to a whole new level

2.Piki Piki guys.
they were also those guys who used to go around selling bedsheets....

3.What ever happened to Jehova's Witnesses on Saturday Morning...wit awake magazine(a funny pun cause they'd literally awake the household with their incessant knocks)

4.Msichana! u have no idea what its like to be pressed like an iron and to find a solitary tree to relieve yourself... i condone urinating ovyo ovyo...but to quote Saitoti "there come a time...there come a time...." weh! cheza tu

5.mobile photographerr. oh yes the were a hit with the maids...who never find them...and soon guys can tell how ur digs looks like..because your household has been sprawled all over uhuru park as they display photo's not paid for

At 11:43 pm, Anonymous Mama JunkYard said...

"i condone urinating ovyo ovyo."

uuuwwwiii Nick, tabia mbaya hio that is disgusting. If women can wait till they find a decent place to wee, why can't men do the same?

@memoire..in Belize they still have the piki piki guys. Even the company that fixed our photocopier had their team of piki piki men

At 1:48 pm, Blogger Guessaurus said...

@Memoire - ati Jeshi la Wokovu - that was funny.

Does Chupa na ndebe count on the list - them people who came with ngunia's and exchanged empty bottles for like two shillings.

That was a brilliant list, made me miss home terribly.

@Nick - I was beginning to like you, that mambo ya kukojoa ovyo ovyo bila mpango has to go.

At 9:58 pm, Blogger Kenyan Pundit said...

Good stuff as usual!

There's a piki piki Pakistani guy who used to drive around estates selling bedsheets and bed covers. My mother never bought stuff from anywhere else.

At 4:53 pm, Anonymous djin amidzi said...

did you forget those folks visiting their shags relas with all their belongings(mattress, furniture, radio, blanket) at machakos bus stage, nyamakima etc, only to return with them at the end of the long weekend?

At 8:31 am, Blogger gishungwa said...

remember selling your dad's gazeti and the weekly review magazine to get cash that time a kg is like 5 bob. Of piki[iki by the KPLC guys still do that now pikis are the hottest means for any delivery.
The tuning methods ati auntie, siste and the wewe and if you are costo then the kissing sound.

At 2:22 am, Blogger Sikini said...

Speaking of vibuyus, who remembers mabuyus? What the heck were those, were they palnts, fruits or sweets? whatever thery were i pendad them! my favorite were red mabuyus!!

At 9:04 pm, Blogger mbils said...

manze those were the days!!!!!!!!!
I just kumbukad siku za closing the way kila mutu ata anavaa nguo za home and come with soda na biscuit. Then were the days we used to kata old tubes taya ati kutengeneze blada. I remember stealing our neighbours. ohh how we used to furahi when we hamo a tube. It was like finding a diamond in the rough. kumbuka kati ya nyota, shake, and {msongesho}that was played by drawing boxes on the ground and throw mawe and push with your foot without touching the line ohh also the game with round hoop we put on our waist and swing it??

He He remember safo when kids made motis with hangers and slippers old or new and our parents would get mad. Guys used to kimbilia old mkebe ya blueband,kimbo,na cowboy to make motis with them.

I remember some had custom detailing tayas za nyota ama slippers and some mud guards. Men those kids were creative.

Hebu pia boredom was not there kumbuka how we used to ride a taya with one hand and we would compete ati nani atakuwa namba 1.

whatabout taya with two sticks and water in the inside to reduce the friction. sijasahau mg'ari yani a thin round rim and either a kamba attached to it and then on to a stick and you kind of guide it to roll as you run or walk He he he.
sijui kama unakumbuka our famous african sledge mbeta!!!!!!!!!when we we used to chukua karai new or old and sit in it and take turns to push each other and compete. we also invented a mbeta with wheels ohhh the funnnn.

Also when it came to ice cream
Igloo used to be around and those mamas who sold home make ice in the streets in the ndoo. talking about peremende kumbuka goody goody,cigaret sweets.

talking about fashion i remember those moca {shoes} and pumps, plati, viatu za jesus. Je kaunda suit na zite trao pipe na skirt za pipe, sweta buggy and windbreaka na ngomas??? Na usisahau hairstyle zile yani punk, na rei. I wonder if the kids are as creative nowadays. It would be good intead ya kufuta sigara na kupoteza muda.

At 9:22 pm, Blogger mbils said...

talking about shoes before I sahau i just kumbukad snikers called asaki and lowman which used to rival north star my dad used to have them and they last quite a while.

At 3:44 am, Anonymous mwagadanihuitwababa said...

Any one remember taking a used tire to your local shoemaker to get your shoes resoled ?. Or taking him the tire and having him make you a pair of akalas ?. I grew up in Eastleigh and that how we "rolled". Pun intended.

At 12:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't laughed so loud in a long time. It's like walking into a kiosk with 5 bangas for bandika na chai and listen in on habari ya siku hi. Yes...its been almost 17 years since I've been home and it feels very fit to cheka with palos!
Endelea wasi!

At 10:59 am, Anonymous jemo said...

ha ha you have made my day with this blog, you go girl!
Now will someone tell me what was up with those akorino sects, they used to piga so much kelele mpaka wherever they were passing people just stopped what they were doing.

The mtu wa visu in our esto used to walk around with his equipment shouting 'sharp'! how creative.

Then those photographers in uhuru park, yaani they were so patient you would take snaps and pay depo then collect after a week. but enyewe they never hepad with your photos.

Walalos were the worst culprits when it came to temaing mate ovyo ovyo, you guy they could clear their throat and unleash red spit anywhere without warning! bana je huo ni ungwana kweli?

We used to call the ka big loaf of bread kumamayo ma kumanyoko, the day my fathe bought it we really had a ball.

I still have a smile on ma face....

At 1:31 pm, Anonymous kamagra said...

I like the way you share info about Nairobi, cuz a lot of people could think is not imortant, but in my case it's my passion...So thanks for that.

At 8:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

still always a pleasure reading this.

how about a comeback?

hope you're fine,

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