Let's Talk Nairobi, Kenya
by Kaya Omodele @TheAbeng
With these latest terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya this past Tuesday (January 15, 2019), there have been many negative images (however realistic and necessary they may be) released for the world to see. In this information age where "shock and awe" is more mantra than mere phrase, sensationalism is the holy grail.
For me though, there are far too many negative narratives of Africa and the African Diaspora. I understand that there is war and crime and violence all over the world and I reason about these realities here on The Abeng and My Conscious Pen regularly. But if all we discuss are negatives, then the narrative of the Black World, our diaspora, will be taken in as all grim and gloom.
But Africa and the African Diaspora are on the move, forward and upward, ever. And in this spirit, I am listing some of the most positive happenings in Nairobi, Kenya.
Five Things To Love About Kenya
1. Growing Economy. Kenya boasts the second largest economy in East Africa. (In 2015, Ethiopia, with a much larger population, overtook Kenya as the largest economy in the region). With a GDP growth rate for the past 5 years at around 5%, Kenya's economic growth is solid and above the United States'. And the projection for 2019: 5.8%.
2. Large, Vibrant Cities. Nairobi is a thriving, dynamic, metropolitan city, where over four million citizens hustle and bustle, repping more than 40 ethnicities. Hundred of multinational companies and NGOs have their East African/Central African regional headquarters located in Nairobi; on top of all that, it's also a tech and creative hotspot.
Millions all over the world are wondering what's wrong with #Nairobi.Why don't we show them the real Nairobi we all know.The beautiful city #Nairobi #ThisIsNairobi #RiversideAttack pic.twitter.com/WWRLPVAXgO— Patrick🇰🇪 (@PatricPatricks) January 15, 2019
3. Creative Kenya. One of the most intriguing qualities about Kenya for me as a writer is the fertile environment for creative storytelling. Young storytellers, whether authors or filmmakers, are encouraged to tell compelling stories, though sometimes faced with a government fight against unsavory content.
In April 2018, The Kenya Film Commission (KFC) promoted "My Kenya, My Story", a mobile competition in which they called on young, independent filmmakers to submit their smartphone, film projects. And the annual Slum Film Festival calls on filmmakers from slums and ghettos in Nairobi to submit their films showcasing stories.
Some of Nairobi's stories and storytellers:
Are you in Malindi and would like a copy(is) of any of my books? Hit me up. I am sending a package on Monday and can include yours. pic.twitter.com/LiNFr1eMT5— The Storyteller (@Eewangari) January 18, 2019
4. People of African Descent are Repatriating to Kenya Blacks in the African diaspora are moving to Kenya, Nairobi and Mombasa in particular, where we are finding business opportunities in an economic environment that's fertile for entrepreneurs with innovative and sometimes even simple hustles and ideas. For those of us thinking of African repatriation and business, keep in mind that value in any market can be found when a need in that market is identified, qualified and quantified.
When thinking of making Kenya (or any African country) home, or a business location, due diligence is paramount of course.
5. Kenya's Music Scene
While the attack on Nairobi was indeed horrific, that level of violence is not the norm for this thriving, young city. It's a shame that much of the media mainly report news in a way that commands clicks. While some of Africa is indeed at war within itself, most of Africa is on the rise or booming. As black writers, let's be responsible, balanced, logical, compassionate; let's place news about the Motherland in perspective.