Random Nairobi snapshots


Consider the old tree. Stem fat like a Githongo stomach and filled with history before I was born. Before Sir Evelyn Baring (fuck him). Before Tippu Tip killed our elephants in Tsavo and Meru. Before a woman with love-bitten tits slit open Luanda Magere’s wrists in the shadow. The stem is fat with hundreds of years.

The old tree looked beautiful in the then savannah where Tippu Tip eased bloody tusks out from the surrounding M. Maxilio Labials. But here, next to the kiosk and my Toyota Noah and Westlands Butchery (with dead and skinned pig hanging from a curving hook made of solid grey steel), the old tree looks ugly. Looks like it needs to be butchered. Give Nairobi City Council a saw and let them puncture past its bark and slice it the hell out of here; slit the mutherfucker’s wrists because it’s in my way. It casts a shadow on me. It’s not your city.

On Facebook, you mzungu, you have created the ‘Save Nairobi Tree’ page. And you mzungu, your friends are posting in there. They are commenting on photos of the old tree that has over the centuries laid down networks of roots, ten thousand curly curvy paths underground; hooked up with roots of other old trees and together they suck up the moisture and water and food and minerals from the Nairobi underworld. Moisture and water coming out as facebook tears. But it’s not your city.


Nairobber X is sitted in a boat. With every oar move, his posture swings from a little bit right to a little bit left, like a pendelum that has almost lost power. There is splash and there is drizzle. We are looking at him from the side. If we looked at him from the front, we would see him bow a little bit forward then lean a little bit back. And if we saw him from the back, we would not bother seeing him at all because the Times-Towered giants would be stacked across the sweep of the panorama.

We are looking down the grassfields and toward the Uhuru Park boating pond. Sunlit water, an arching bridge and ice-cream men bored at the footpath edges.


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