It’s another Wednesday and time to meet a man who makes Nairobi look cool. Our Man Around Nairobi is David Muriithi. David Muriithi is both a creative and a businessman. You may know him by the name DJ D-Lite. David describes himself as a creative entrepreneur, realtor, talent and event manager, music promoter and DJ. Whoever said men cannot multi-task has clearly never met David. He is the Managing Director of Creative Enterprise Centre, a regional capacity building centre. He is also a retired auditor. He is an active board member at The Kenya Copyright Board and also chairs their Audit sub-committee. David is also currently the Finance Director of a family owned Investment group Six Arms Ltd.
1. Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I was born and raised in Nairobi until the age of 14 then moved to England for 13 years before I moved back to Nairobi.
Growing up in Nairobi in the 70s and early 80s was a fantastic and memorable experience. Nairobi was both beautiful and safe. I spent the best part of my youthful weekend cycling around my ‘hood’ (Ridgeways/Garden Estate). We also held daytime house bashes nearly every other weekend where no alcohol was present and people danced to music from a cassette player a.k.a Ghetto Blaster. The weather patterns were very predictable and December holidays to Mombasa were to norm. The issue of tribal differences did not even feature.
Moving to England at the tender age of 14 was a cultural shift (as well as a weather-related one too). Luckily I settled in well. However, people there were less friendly. Racism was rife and for the first time in my life I was aware of my race. There were some areas of London that I couldn’t pass through in the evenings. However the arts areas and culture life was astounding. I attended various international music concerts, visited many art galleries and toured the various heritage sites the UK had to offer. This experience was much unlike my growing up in Nairobi although I did attend a Boney M and Millie Jackson concert at KICC in the mid-70’s. However, I never really got used to spending 9 months in dreary weather.
Coming back home in my late 20’s was a bit of a relief. I was glad to be back in Nairobi as a young auditor working for Ernst & Young after transferring from their London office at my request. I was homesick and ready to come home and contribute to the development of my city and country. I found a city that had matured and densely populated as well. Buildings had sprung up everywhere and the greenery had drastically reduced. Crime was a real problem and driving around at night was a fearful task. However, on the other hand, business opportunities were immensely available. Deals were being cut left right and centre.
Nairobi had firmly established itself as the financial capital of Eastern Africa. People were much more cosmopolitan and a number of western-styled restaurants lined the leafy suburbs of Lavington and Westlands as well as Gigiri. The discotheque had slowly been replaced by the bars and people had begun getting obsessed with health and fitness. However, people were less friendly and we’re constantly in a rush, much like my earlier London experience.
2. What you love about Nairobi?
Growing up in Nairobi in the 70s (gives approx. age away) what I loved MOST about Nairobi was the abundance of trees. Every street, road and neighbourhood had trees. What I currently love about Nairobi is the abundance of fantastic restaurants and vibrant nightlife.
I also love the ease of road access (only spoilt by the traffic). There’s a fantastic restaurant or bar/lounge in every corner and the Arts & Culture environment is totally vibrant. People have become more environmentally aware as well. Neighbourhoods have begun to get friendlier occasioned by the various neighbourhood associations. Security has improved in general.
3. What would you change about Nairobi?
Without a shadow of a doubt…the TRAFFIC!!!! And I’d light up neighbourhoods a lot more (Can I slip in fixing potholes as well). But I think an even bigger problem is the growing slums. This is a social time bomb about to explode.
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 real estate as well as business training professional. Nairobi, especially the outskirts, is perfectly suited for both industries. There is a massive housing shortage in Nairobi and people are tending to move to the outskirts of the city or the neighbouring counties. This translates to business opportunities for me.
On the training front, Nairobi has a huge number of training centres and “meet-up” venues as well as business hubs for entrepreneurs. I can’t complain.
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.
ONE: The people are the friendliest on the planet.
TWO: It’s the only city in the world with a National Park smack in its midst.
THREE: The nightlife is amazeballs 🙂 (Is that word officially in the dictionary?)
If you would like to interact with David find him on twitter at @davidmuriithi.