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February 21, 2019

New invasion of the gated communities

New invasion of the gated communities.
New invasion of the gated communities.

I don't know if its an age thing, but recently I have noticed a certain genre of advertising doing the rounds – that of gated communities in various parts of the country. The most prestigious of these are the golf estates where those who buy in will be able to play golf at world-class courses designed by the best in the game. For those who cannot afford those high figures, one can still get to enjoy some of the best facilities out there that money can buy within reason.

The amazing thing about these advertising, especially where they do it in print or web, is that these homes never show the actual houses. If you who want to take part in this amazing new concept, you the potential buyer are given an impression of what the artists think the development looks like when complete. Therefore, don't be surprised to see a Utopian view of families as they are seen as being attractive in the picture – father, mother and children.

The children usually one of both sexes are typically portrayed with the boy riding a bike and the young woman playing with dolls. The 3D father will be seen driving into the complex supposedly after working hard to ensure this fulfills his manly duty of sweating for his family's bread. Meanwhile, the mother is imagined in this world-class kitchen cooking up a storm to ensure her family has the right amount of the right type of nutrients in their meals.

Amazing lifestyle

These are great ideals for those of us who aspire for an amazing lifestyle that has been approved by the style police. The one only problem is these images don't really resonate with many of us who have grown up in this town. Some of us grew up in Buruburu estate, which was supposed to be this world-class community, and within a few years 'extensions' were seen in the home which were three or four stories high. Every single space was taken up by wily property owners, and now the jewel of Nairobi life is much less than it was envisioned.

The problem for the Buruburu developer was they were trying to build for an African that didn't exist in huge numbers just yet. Perhaps those who are designing these new gate communities should stop developing for an imaginary African – one who aspires and develops them for those who are already here.

Let's start with the schools. Folks need to have access to good schools for their kids so that you can convince those who are buying the homes to move in. The problem with the schools around these exclusive areas tend to be less than exclusive –these are the types of schools where principals think it's a good idea to hire three Toyota Probox vehicles to shuttle 80 kids for a school trip.

With these kinds of problems, you will most likely find the kids who would possibly live in these communities will be waking up at ungodly hours and shuttling long distances to access their school.

For the older kids, the one who are transitioning from primary school to high school, or high school to college, a different facility needs to be put up. This one – which for the sake of clarity would be called the “base” – would allow the young girls to sit around and chat about issues of importance in the world. The same applies with boys who need mental stimulation of their peers in a safe and welcoming environment.

So many bushes

These communities seem to be curved out of remote parts of the city with premises they are only five minutes off the main highway. When you head to the plot, you see so many bushes and scrub that they will respectfully pull up all their car windows. After all, lions are currently at the top of the news attacking people who are foolhardy enough to travel in parks without pulling them down in South Africa. So they should be closer to the city so that we don't have to be afraid of being considered an appetiser for the king of the jungle. This especially applies when the drinking parent decides to come in the middle of the night, having escaped Alcoblow, only to be eaten by a lion.

On the part of the kitchens being portrayed, we need to be realistic as well. They need to include spaces for those who couldn't be bothered to cook and microwave everything. Alternatively, they should leave spaces where people can leave livestock outside the kitchen and then fatten them for a major holiday.

Venue Review: Platinum 7D Lounge, Drive Inn Arcade, Nakuru

It was a special weekend. The country was celebrating the Madaraka Day weekend so many had made an effort to do something special with their loved ones. Then for the sports fanatics, out there England, Spain and Germany had decided to have cup finals for their leagues on the Saturday night. This was the weekend when I was at the Drive Inn Arcade, Nakuru, just as you are getting into the big tourism hub in the Rift Valley.

The Drive Inn Arcade is an interesting animal. It is a large complex which hosts several little pubs with names like Eddy's Pub – but the big one is Platinum 7D. This was where I watched the big matches where England's Arsenal and Spain's Barcelona FC won their countries cups on Saturday night. I was there with a good friend of mine, Fidel Juma, and his friends from Nakuru.

Platinum 7D is very big. The main area is a building and one side has no wall – the internal area looked to be the main place. We settled down, and this weekend there was a sponsor at our table who opted to fund us drinkers with a bottle of whiskey, which was downed with enthusiasm. The bottle of Jameson was retailing at Sh4,000.

As the evening wore on, there was a change in the character of the place. There was a tent opposite the lounge which I hadn't paid attention to initially, but it turns out this was part of the place. It was filling to the brim with revellers who were dancing to the music from the DJ who was spinning from within the venue.

The people who were clearly having a blast were an interesting mix of locals mainly, and a few imports from other parts of the country. The one thing they all had in common was they tended to be younger – between their 20s and mid 40s, and professionals in their makeup.

A quick recap of the venue

Good: Decent décor and services, clean washrooms, TV for the sports fanatic, emergency exits sorted, disability friendly.

Bad: Out of the way for those stuck in Nairobi.

My verdict: When you are in Nakuru you must check out the Platinum 7D lounge – one of the most happening places in the country.

Twitter: @jamesmurua

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