Wednesday is our Man Around Nairobi Day. Today we feature James Murua who is well known for his love of the Tusker lager brand and The Arsenal football club. He works for The Star newspaper editing its society pages as well as contributing to a weekly column called “Nairobi living.” For fun, he blogs at JamesMurua.com the leading blog on African literature and nairobiliving.com, a pioneering Kenyan lifestyle blog.
1. Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I was born and raised in Nairobi. There was a bit of moving while growing up but my fondest memories were of my sojourn in Buru Buru estate in the 1980s and early 1990s. In those years it was “the place to be” before Governor Mutua gave Machakos this moniker.
Growing up was playing football, shake, rounders, and chess as well as going to neighbouring estates on “adventure.” I grew up with many good people who moved to the USA when all the young people were fleeing in the 1990s. It was also a time of trauma in Kenya and we got to see it in Nairobi; we learned to survive and eventually thrive in madness.
2. What do you love about Nairobi?
It’s a wonderful little town and I kinda like the familiarity that I encounter on a daily basis. The beauty about this town is that you will always be able to see new things every day if you are looking.
Its people who know what they want going about their business knowing how to deal with the clueless. We work hard here.
It’s a happening city socially and if you can afford it there is no better place to have a great time than this city. We play hard here.
3. What would you change about Nairobi?
Change? It could be safer; the marauding thugs that Brigadier Ali and Minister Michuki had kicked off the streets making the Central Business District a delight are back and they aren’t playing.
Nairobians also need to learn just how amazing the city they live in is. It is a rare type of Metropolis that cannot be found anywhere else on the continent. If they knew they would change their attitude about Nairobi post haste. The city could be better but it is doing well all factors considered.
4. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
I am a professional in the media business and those who want to do well, they are best placed in Nairobi. It is the centre of the region so when you want to follow up a story or cover anything Nairobi is usually a good starting point.
What could be better? I wish it would be possible to easier identify world-class professionals from the quacks. World-class doesn’t mean the person driving the best car; a quack doesn’t mean the person coming to your office in dusty shoes. World-class is the person delivering the best. If there is a way this could be done, this town will be moving fast.
5. If you had a tourist friend coming in from outside the country what three things would you say to sell them the idea that Nairobi is worth visiting?
The bar scene in Nairobi has been made famous by the likes of Westlands “Electric Avenue” and the 1824 effect in recent times. In truth, the city is amazing where going out is concerned. For the best pork town try the West Mall in Nairobi West, for the best mbuzi try Kenya Motor Sports Club in South C. Tents and Rumba in Buru Buru estate has a very cool Rumba night going for it. The estates have very good offerings.
Shopping for tech. I don’t know how we do it but this city has some of the most reasonably priced tech products out there. I have friends who come here just to shop for iPhones and the latest tech products… from Europe!
The beautiful people: you will find the hottest people in the region living here. Seriously. These hot people come from all over the region and all over the planet.