Nairobi’s lost glory

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Africa, Kenya
Tags: ,

Once Upon a time Nairobi was at par with New York, Singapore & every other major city in the world.That’s the gospel we have heard from the senior citizens of our beautiful country for years now. ‘To return Nairobi Lost Glory’ is one line that is synonymous with anyone who wants to win the elective race for the post that will puts them at the helm of managing our nations capital. I must hereby categorically state that I don’t believe in that talk, its quite cliche if you ask me.Has Nairobi lost its glory?

Now lets walk down the memory lane.What are the scenes, sites, and places events that made Nairobi glorious? Let’s go back into time.

In the early post independence days, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta embarked on an ambitious plan to turn Nairobi into Africa’s first world class city. It was widely expected he would chase away the whites who had colonised the country for years, under whose hands he had served a lot of torture and incarceration for not less than 7 years. However, armed with some knowledge he had acquired from his stay and study in the UK, he, just like Mandela, acquired a reconciliatory tone and asked them to remain to help in efforts of rebuilding a better, free Kenya that would stand out as the pride of Africa.

I mean, look around. He brought UN’s only headquarters in Africa, constructed the tallest building in Eastern and Central Africa that retained the onus more than 30 years.

Telephones

Nairobi — It once was a permanent feature of any street corner: a series of metallic red, yellow or white booths, some with people queuing to make urgent and not-so-urgent phone calls.

Communication-Phone-BoothsSome had glass doors, for that little bit of privacy, some were open, allowing you to clearly see a caller’s frustration as his call failed to go through despite the contraption ‘swallowing’ his hard-earned coins.

These were the days when mobile phones were none existent, and the kiosk owner used to be like you telephone operator so you tell your pals

Nipigie saa kumi kwa hiyo kiosk ya Mama Njoro

Translation, Call me at 4 o’clock at Njoro’s mum’s kiosk because that was the only way you could be reached those days, by scheduling phone calls.
Remember how almost every landline was locked till you had to master where all the buttons of the phone were so that you put like a long stick through the phone cage and try dialing numbers without seeing the buttons. Or you dial using the button for kataing calls so if you are dialing 227122 you press the button twice for two, seven times for seven etc.
I remember how the TV wall units back in the day all had doors which could be locked with a padlock thus restricting your TV time 🙂 I wonder why those units are not sold anymore and the way this younger generation are just a bunch of psychos.

Drinking chocolate
drinkingchoco1This drinking chocolate tins made the best sufurias when playing chamama, you never used to burn much while cooking bourganvillia stew over the candle stove lol. But thank God for Drinking chocolate because Cocoa was just too bitter albeit it made the best mixture if you were in a government boarding school, you MUST know what mixture is.

Roiko
roiko1Yeah back in the day it was Roiko Mchuzi Mix. You will never know the value of this spice till your forced to cook a meal without it. Kenyans in the diaspora suffer the most because food is just not the same without it.
Who remembers Roiko tomato sauce?? Aki for real it used to be there and it was delicious. I was heartbroken when they stopped making it, heinz, zesta all those had nothing on it!

Vaseline Hair Tonic
vtonicHa ha ha whose dad never used to use this mafuta for real?? I think even women used to use it. I still remember how it smells.
Who remembers Vaseline Mosquitoline? It was mosquito repellent but it used to smell so awful, being bitten by mosquitoes seemed like the better choice.

EAI products
eaiTree top was the yummiest juice ever! Till today I do not understand why they stopped making it. Okay word has it that just like quencher, pregnant women could induce abortions by taking it concentrated without diluting but why not just keep an eye out and make sure any women who are preggers did not drink it??
And why was everything in a can back in the day? Plastic had not yet been discovered?? But that’s a lie because there was plastic cutlery, buckets, etc.

Toothpaste had to be Close up, cooking oil was either Kimbo or Cowboy, bread spread was Blueband, petroleum jelly was Vaseline, soap was either Lux, Rexona or Geisha, juice was Tree top, Spices Roiko of course, lotion was either Vaseline Intensive Care or Lady Gay.
The Hairglo wave, you’ve got to feel it!

First up why couldn’t they just take a picture of their products rather than draw them?? The film could only fit the one picture of the couple??
I am one of those rare children who can say that I did not taste hairglo, apparently it was really sweet. I know someone who tastes gels and shower gels ever since she tried hairglo in the hope that they might taste just as good hi hi.hairglo

Magazines
It had to be this.
cowboy

Ni wakati wa tusker
Hebu jitokeze! Jionyeshi! Simama mbele ya watu!
tusker1Whoever was responsible for ads in KBL EABL needs to be brought back!! They were so cool and catchy. Remember the one for kazi! kazi! and Celebrate good times come on! Then compare them with the current ad, with funny people who don’t look East African dancing dancing, it is very lame.
The beer drinkers made it look so sweet that every kid couldn’t wait to get the legal age!

Remember Fanta apple, Fanta strawberry, Fanta cream soda yuck, Fanta passion, Fanta spurberry. I miss the variety.
Finally what I really miss from the good old days is goody goody, that delicious caramel chewy goodness.

Transport
Those were the days when public means of transport was one civilised society.Those were the days Nairobi had double decker buses on the streets.Kenyaat50-3jpg-400x266

Good old rides

Good old rides

Safari rally
East_Africa_1958-62_04_Kenya_-_Nairobi_14_EA_Safari_Rally

Train transport
train
Free train rides never began yesterday.Still you would arrive at this station built in 1901.Still stands today.
36326334.nairobi107

The photo poses
Yeah, these were legal too.
10369562_289819174511558_1830577700_n

Strong family values
10326546_757007047664771_373994279_nForget that Kenya had the earliest brothel in this side of Sahara in the name of Sabina Joy, men respected other people wives so much. Those were the days when having an affair was unheard of. If one had to, then marrying a second wife was the only option.

Police training

Riot_police_training

Riot_police_training

The streets
The streets were well lit clean and spacious. The current hustle and bustle was non existent. The streets had days when the city council would mop them clean with soap.images

River Road

River Road

 

Biashara st

Biashara st

 

Downtown, Nairobi

Downtown, Nairobi

The buildings

National theater

National theater

 

Jamia mosque

Jamia mosque

 

Holy Family Basilica

Holy Family Basilica

 

Nairobi University

Nairobi University

 

All Saints Cathedral

All Saints Cathedral

 

Norfolk Hotel

Norfolk Hotel

GOOD OLD DAYS INDEED

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