7. Akili mjini, nguvu kijijini.
Tack that on your walls—and tattooed in your brain.
12. Nairobi is an expensive city—14th overall in Africa. You wake up hivi and KSh. 2,000 is gone. That is the rate to wake up in this city. Nairobi is a designer label sewn into a workman’s overall.
13. Everyone knows getting conned here is foreplay. But when the cons start ignoring you in tao, that is a marriage consummated. Nairobi is considered the green city in the sun for a reason. Look at the number of naïfs getting robbed everyday through the same manner! You quickly discover, this town is a roll of the dice, a blessing and a curse, a stepping stone or a stumbling block. Nairobi is for the everyman—the wajuajis and vichwa ngumus. We work hard for the soft life. You can make it, but it much more makes you.
33. Jesus wouldn’t nail it (hehe) in Nairobi.
34. Unless He, Jesus, decides to perform miracles at Archives. For a fee. Nobody does shit for free in this city—especially not for a man with a tombola of talents as Jesus.
47. Smokie and mayai pasua run our stomachs like cartels run Nairobi. Coincidentally, they are the same thing. But anyone with half a brain knows that mutura, the street’s subway is where it’s at, and then some. Second to a man’s barber is the mutura guy. The mutura guy, should be dangerously unhealthy, a hard-core thug who met Jesus (at Archives) and is borderline obese—or strategically skinny. His beard should inspire its own insurance category. There is no in-between.
49. In between his hair is where the mutura guy stuffs the toothpick, which he occasionally inserts in his mouth and uses to pierce the mutura every so often. Mutura sold in the morning is sus. Mutura eaten in peace is even more sus. Mutura that you doubt is the best without a doubt.
5. The light skin is always the side chic.
8. Those who have “Ni God” money hardly worship said God.
16. What is the difference between mama, mamaa and mumama? Spelling. Which is why in Nairobi, height depends on how tall you are.
24. Kenyan ladies call you babe a day after meeting them. Babe is thrown around like corruption. If they don’t call you babe, hawakurank. You are poor. Poor! Kubabaye! But, usiweke kwa roho. Si ni me nakushow, babe.
75. If you want to bury a dead body, do it at the cemetery. At cemeteries they are always digging graves. You can dig a few inches deeper, cover it and the coffin will cover the body. Nobody thinks to check cemetery for a dead body.
88. Speaking of, if Nairobi was a woman, it would be chic: tall and lanky with long legs and an ass like a rainbow.
90. An ass is what you are if you get conned by those legit scammers who dip their tongues in honey and douse their necks with Sauvage Dior with that ‘kwani-utadoism’ attitude. Especially avoid if he has a fanny pack or a beard (or both) and his Instagram handle is monikered ‘official’.
13. Hotdog ya Quickmart is the truth with a capital T.
3. Pipeline is a great place to live—if you don’t live in Pipeline.
54. Kilimani used to be the it estate. Now, the Chinese are trying to fit the whole of Nairobi there. And they are succeeding—is there a content creator who does not live in Kilimani? Hopeless malnourished Chihuahuas on balconies watch as their masters sniff glucose. There is a party, you are invited if you have a fanny pack and flip-flops. Kili, the estate that headlines gazetis for its gangland nightclubs because some hapless flamboyant twenty-something year old crossed the wrong guy and paid with his life. Kilimani is Pipeline wearing a Gucci belt.
66. Okuyus used to run this town. Then came the Indians. Presently, the annexation of Eastleigh has rendered Somali booty the talk of the town. They are everywhere. We should have seen it coming. You cannot be Somali, without ‘mali’.
2. River Road is the vena cava of this city. That part of town where you don’t grow up with a silver spoon, but a silver tooth. I was welcomed to the city here—by getting sold a fake phone. I had saved for a year for that Nokia Asha. Nokias give me trauma. Moi Avenue, over there, nourished by the capillaries of the Luthulis and Latemas separates the hoity totty from the hoi polloi. Tom Mboya, hivi down, is where you’ll find Altona Fish & Chips. El Paradiso.
19. You don’t ask for change. Take it. This is especially good advice if you are in a matatu.
41. If you find yourself 1-v-1 with an avocado and say, “Hii nitakula kesho.” You have already lost that war.
14. Do you know kuna watu wa Java, watu wa CJ’s na watu wa Art Caffé? And then there is you. Mtu wa watu.
27. There was a time when being a Nairobian (coming from Nairobi didn’t necessarily equate to being Nairobian) was the stuff. Now, patrolling the streets of Nairobi when it switches from metropolitan NBO to seedy Nairobi to gung-ho Kanairo—like being trapped in a scene of the Goodfellas—one thing sticks out. Nairobi is a Mafioso town. It’s not for every Tom with a dick in a hurry.