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November 21, 2018

Real Husbands of Nairobi, Episode One

The Vogue Cafe, National Museum of Kenya
The Vogue Cafe, National Museum of Kenya

In the recent past, the explosion of pay TV in Kenya has seen more and more residents of this town access televion programmes from many parts of the world. All one needs to do is buy a decoder and pay the monthly subscription to the cable companies.

So what do people get to watch when they pay up to Sh6,000 a month? Reality TV. Although there a myriad other programmes like sports and drama, reality shows have become a huge part of TV content in the western world.

Shows like Big Brother, Survivor and The Amazing Race are big in the US capitals and so Kenyans on pay TV also get to watch and are amazed.

The beauty of Kenya is that we love to get in on the action where there is a slot. The beginning of reality TV industry locally has seen the production of shows such as Pasua, Patikana and the like. They tend to show the subject in an embarrassing situation and viewers are always eager to see the subject’s reaction.

The downside of that type of reality show is that the subjects are rarely allowed to give consent for all of us to see their humiliation.

The producers of those shows must spend a lot of time in court handling law suits from angry victims, so this is definitely not sustainable.

There is hope for budding TV producers though.

One of the most interesting reality show on Pay TV is the ‘Real Housewives’ series. It started with the Real Housewives of Atlanta and then spun off into the Real Housewives of New York. This show could do very well in Nairobi if done properly. The show would be dubbed, ‘The Real Husbands of Nairobi’.

This reality show would feature a typical Nairobi husband and the trials and tribulations he goes through on a day to day basis.

The show would include a diverse group of people from different age and income brackets and how they deal with their everyday challenges.

Husband number one would be from a typical prominent family. When busted for philandering with a person Kenyans like calling “mpango wa kando”, their significant other would be filmed meting out serious punishment. As one of the punishments, his wife would open a blog then go ahead to unleash every little intimate thing that went on in their marriage. This would leave the man looking very bad to his colleagues. The show producers would film his rection whenever a new blog post goes up, leading to huge ratings in a very short time.

Husband number two would be a poor man and he would be filmed heading to work in a matatu. The humiliation element would come in as he listens to the matatu radio.

The breakfast show hosts would be talking about the inadequacies of men, and women would call in lambasting men for all manner of ills.

A discussion about men being unable to perform their conjugal duties for instance would quickly heat up. Men would be blamed for every wrong thing in the world, including global warming, leaving the poor husband dealing with nasty looks from every woman in the matatu even if for all they know, he isn’t the one being discussed.

As he sits, his head cowered waiting for someone to save him, a man would call in and say the in question has another lover somewhere, painting men in absolutely bad light. This husband would lose all hopes of salvation and the look on his face would be worth millions of shillings.

Husband number three would be the frugal type and a committed believer of the ‘Do it Yourself’gospel. Since he would already be spending enough money on groceries and other basic stuff, he would decide to fix plumbing problems in the home himself instead of calling a plumber.

The camera would focus on this gentleman repairing his sink. With a spanner, he will start fiddling around until water starts spilling on the kitchen floor. Within no time, the kitchen would be a little lake. A professional plumber, whose number can be handily found at sign on a nearby tree would come to rescue the situation.

He (very few plumbers are women) would give our formerly superhero husband a six figure quote for repairs and the look on the hubby’s face will be priceless. This is especially when he is informed that the initial job could have cost a few hundred at the most. That kind of a show would be a must watch for Kenyan TV viewers. Over to you TV producers.


Venue Review:  The Vogue Cafe, The National Museum of Kenya

It was full house as the Storymoja Hay Festival rolled into town for yet another festival of literary genius from around the globe. The event was hosted at the National Museum of Kenya and I being a huge fan of the written word was not going to miss out on meeting some of the more well know names in African literature including Nigerian/American Teju Cole.
While enjoying the activities at the festival I learnt of the resident drinking and eating place of the museum called The Vogue Cafe. This is a little place at the centre of the facility where one can eat and drink that I never knew existed until very recently.

It has a few couch type chairs hugging the walls as well as your regular Nairobi seating style with round table and metal and wood chairs.

The walls here incidentally allowed a person to look out into the museum on all sides. This was because it had a lot of glass as its “wall” element so you could imagine how cool it was to watch the activities of a very busy courtyard as everyone went about their business.

The service in the place was excellent and I had to wonder whether this was because of the festival or it was the norm. Due to the event of the day, the crowd was a mix of folks from different age groups from children to the old professors and everyone else in between.

The place is greatly for the book lover as there are no TVs in sight that would cause unnecessary distraction. It is a good place for people out on a date, as there are very few distractions.

My usual cold Tusker was going at Sh250, which was reasonable, considering the location and service at the cafe. The menu had a mix of things from the snack department to full meals and the masala chips which were quite good.

The washroom was a solitary unisex facility which is rare in this town but they were clean.

Good: Clean washrooms, decent decor, great service, disability friendly,

Bad: Pricey, the solitary washroom is clean but unisex.

My verdict: One of the hidden gems in Nairobi where the hospitality business is concerned. Great for a quiet meal with a lady friend or family member.

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