It is another Wednesday and time to meet one of the men who work and play in Nairobi. Today’s Man Around Nairobi is Edwin Mukabi. Edwin Mukabi has been a Technical and Research Manager for the last 3 years who does not look like one. His hair is partly to blame and he says his eccentric nature does not make it any better. He believes in charting his own path rather than following defined notions of success. He says he is a bandit in that way. Happiness means everything to him and is not found in financial gain. And that’s divine. When he is not being a corporate fluff, he dabbles in writing, mostly poetry on https://thedivinebandit.wordpress.com/ but only when inspired never as a task. He also plays football, mostly on his phone as age catches up and create original art from things he collects over time. The art is not for sale. It is just another part of him that tells his story.
You can find him on any social media (IG, Twitter, Facebook) by just typing @thedivinebandit.
1. Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I was born in Kijabe Hospital. I grew up in a little village called Uplands somewhere deep in Lari but I mostly say Limuru as people understand that location better. In a way I could say I grew up in Nairobi as at the age I am now, at least 10 years of it have been spent in Nairobi. This would be my formative years as a teenager.
How I moved into calling Nairobi my home is a funny story. I had always loved my “shagz” and always looked forward to going home over the high school holidays. This was until in Form 3, one my friends who lived in Buru Buru (We also sang in the Alliance High School choir together) convinced me to join him for tuition at Kenya Teachers Training College in Gigiri. I was soon later to learn that it was more about shooting pool, playing table tennis and of course meeting girls from other schools than actual tuition. Thus my love for Nairobi was born.
I investigated every nook and cranny of the CBD. I attended events, acted in plays and taught salsa (I know, hard to believe). With educational stints at Alliance Française, UoN and the then infamous Kenya School of Professional studies, here I am writing about Nairobi yet I see the “Kwaheri Nairobi” sign every evening as I head home.
2.What you love about Nairobi?
First, I have to apologize to you Rayhab. Here I am as a guest in your house and I’m busy editing the question in my head as it has bothered me in all the previous “Man around Nairobi” editions I have read. It is definitely not the Grammar Nazi in me that I love about Nairobi.
I love a lot about Nairobi. This includes the fact that we are always à la mode, especially in technology. We know what’s happening, even if it does not always serve us positively. Nairobi is the true definition of a global village. You have everyone and everything encompassing a myriad of cultures. Some failing miserably at it but fact is we do try. Even “Pilau Njeris” walk around masquerading as Biryani but it’s all good. What is life?
3.What would you change about Nairobi?
The apathy, oh Lord, the apathy. People who live in Nairobi seem to have adopted a vein of utter indifference especially with things political, criminal and/or concerning human rights. Yes, they will make noise about it the most but the next day, due to the hustle and bustle of the city and the search for the next day’s meal, all is forgotten.
I also wish I could expand Nairobi. Move more offices to its outskirts, that way we can decongest the city. I avoid the CBD like a matatu with no speed governor (laughs) because the plague is too mainstream.
4. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
It is really great to work in Nairobi. From the available technology to the way we embrace innovation. I could not ask for more. The only thing we need is security. As a market researcher, moving around and getting successful interviews has sometimes become hindered because of this.
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.
Despite the insecurity, we still remain a hospitable people. A beer later,friend forever.
Art abounds, from music, graffiti, theatres and so many writers/bloggers. Nairobi never has a dull moment.
The culture is to vie for. We are blessed to have all different Kenyan cultures meet at a central point. No matter how much people have tried to stay deeply rooted in their original culture, there will always be the Nairobi culture which is a mesh of all available attractive traits, best dances and the most orgasmic of food.