It is not the usual tales of the ICC, the AU or which politician slapped the other that brought me to my knees as I laughed at the absurdity of it all. Rather, it was the story about a consignment that was impounded by the Kenya Revenue Authority at the port of Mombasa.
As the story goes, the consignment had not been declared, so the taxman decided to open the container to ascertain its contents. The employees were shocked to find paraphernalia that could only be described as bizarre. The consignment comprised of plastic human skeletons, skulls, limbs, palms, huge black spiders, tombstones, corpses, mummies and bats.
Kenyans are known to be peculiar people and as expected, the story gained massive attention with pious speculations of who could have been behind the importation of the ‘bizarre’ consignment. Some people started to link the consignment to the much-rumoured existence of the occult, satanism and Illuminati. One could imagine folks at some media outlets rubbing their hands in glee at the splash they would use when the time came.
The nature of this consignment and the time of its appearance are not entirely coincidental. This consignment has showed up in October, the month a celebration known as Halloween is commemorated. For the sake of knowledge, Halloween is a sort of ‘holiday’ in the Christian calendar, which has been celebrated for centuries in remembrance of all faithful departed believers.
In modern times, the Halloween, happening on October 31 every year, has been popularised by Hollywood movies and TV shows. Thus, many of us in East Africa are familiar with the idea that folks wear scary masks and costumes around this time.
The shocking consignment might have come through because some wily entrepreneurs have observed the changes in partying habits in October and expected to make a killing out of it. The idea was sound, but the execution was not going to work, what with our unfounded mortal fear of anything that could be construed to be weird.
The problem is that the entrepreneurs who probably were hoping to make a killing during the Halloween celebration decided to remain mum over the issue. They did this for obvious reasons: the unforgiving Kenyans would give them a very weird brand in the foreseeable future regardless of whether their intentions were genuine or not.
Fear not consignment owner. You can still make a killing in Kenya in relation to Halloween celebrations. This is because you can be sure that whatever parties were scheduled to happen are still on. All you need to do is go into an overdrive and design some new scary paraphernalia for the Kenyan masses.
Avoid working with these strange concepts like black spiders and tombstones. They won't work for Kenyans. You need to localise the offer, I suggest that you come up with things that will scare, but not to death. How about commissioning a bunch of workmen to do masks of the Ugandan, David Matsanga who is fiercely protecting our President and Deputy President from the ogre that is the ICC? With his steely gaze and constant yelling on our TV screens, he is a man who must be giving many children in this country nightmares.
If that is too scary, perhaps you should consider making outfits of the most scary government officials in town, Nairobi City Council askaris. This might not seem to be scary to someone outside the country but most locals know the true terror they embody. There is surely nothing as scary in modern Nairobi life as seeing a bunch of askaris descend on helpless women in downtown Nairobi. The women, with children strapped on their backs, hastily gather their mangoes or tomatoes in lessos and flee in the middle of the mayhem.
To the seemingly shrewd entrepreneurs behind the bizarre consignment impounded in Mombasa, you could target the younger party goers. You could ask your workforce to double their efforts and produce many masks of Judge Ian of Tusker Project Fame. Ian is known for giving mean remarks to contestants on the biggest reality show in the region. On account of how he acts, I wouldn't be surprised if his own child sang him 'happy birthday' on his big day, only for the innocent child to be castigated for poor diction and a week voice. I have a feeling that a mask of the terrifying judge would be such a hit that you will forget that little consignment you had to let go in Mombasa, dear business moguls wannabe.
Nick's Grill, Koinange Lane
I am not sure who Nick is, but this Nick’s Grill is really small. On Koinange Lane where it is located, it is a famous joint which sells food alongside another one in the Java House franchise. The grill is not far from Java House, Koinange street and is always packed with customers every time I visit. I have been there so many times in the last few months that I can consider it among the places I visit regularly.
What makes this grill so special? As you pass-by, you will be surprised by the presence of a big hole in the building. With the look of a typical Nairobi bar, the décor is nothing to write home about. The space is enough since there is one large room with some seats at the back. The seats, placed in sets of fours around a table are befitting for this kind of a place. They are of different colours among them green.
There are a few TVs overhead, which screen nature programming, a favourite for those who visit the place regularly. The punters here are typically not the young people you would meet in Nairobi pubs in supras, coloured t-shirts and jeans. It is more mature in here with a higher number of male frequenters. Shirts, slacks and ties are popular here. Majority of the frequenters walk in with the latest copy of their favourite newspapers, the Star featuring prominently.
The location of the place is convenient for those who wish to use public transport, making it highly recommendable. However, this is not the biggest selling point in my opinion. There’s a gentleman who does some grilling at the entrance of the place. The biggest selling point as far as I am concerned is the services offered, especially the ‘goat choma’ which is accompanied by ugali and kachumbari.
I don’t know how they prepare it, but it is really well prepared and at a fair price of under Sh500. I always find myself placing an order whenever I am in the vicinity. With my cold Tusker that goes for Sh180, this may be a better place to catch a beer and have some meals at a reasonable price when I am in town.
A quick review of the venue; Good: Excellent food, great service, convenient location, clean washrooms, TV screening football and National Geographic. Bad: Decor is not inspiring. My verdict: The crowd is a bit older and the decor is uninspiring, but the ‘goat choma’ here is one to die for. They deliver on their grill promise.