The biggest buzzword in the world in recent times is conservation, and the trendy one right now where Kenya is concerned is saving the elephants. If you look at your TV screen or read your newspaper, you are likely to see folks like Paula Kahumbu or Kuki Gallman weeping over a carcass of a dead elephant whose tusks had been removed. Just this week, our Hollywood star Lupita Nyong'o jumped onto the elephant bandwagon with a dinner happening at one of our fancier hotels with participants contributing Sh10,000. The dinner was in aid of elephants with a charity called WildAid.
It's terrible what the poachers are doing to our jumbos. But it looks like this is the space for someone who wants to enhance their standing in the society and, or, bank balance. If the new business is conservation-driven then you know how sneaky Nairobi folks will take this trend and run with it with hilarious consequences. You can expect in the next few days to hear of the next generation of conservation NGOs from enterprising Nairobi residents.
The first conservation agency that will appear from nowhere will be KRAaid. This new civil society will be in charge of ensuring that suffering Nairobians are saved from the systems of the Kenyan tax body, the Kenya Revenue Authority. You will soon see folks having large dinners at the swanky Sankara Hotel dubbed Save The Taxpayer. The point of the dinner will be to find a way for the tax authority to revert to the old system where employers would submit tax returns on behalf on their employees, a much simpler exercise for all involved.
The dinners fare would include testimonies of the victims as well as videos to prove their case. The videos would show Nairobians as they weep while trying to fill in their tax details on a computer system that fails to respond. The video will follow the same people waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat as they remember they have to find a way to get their papers in to avoid a penalty. It will then end with the people in long lines as they finally decided that manual returns are the way to go. In this scene, you will see people shuffling over to the KRA counters frustrated for hours before they go home, and lie on their bed weeping as they put their thumbs in their mouths like toddlers.
With such a compelling message you will expect a groundswell of support that will see the tax authority rethink their methods of ensuring a whole nation is fully tax compliant.
This NGO will be aimed at those who are victims of the terror of social media platform, WhatsApp. This platform has in recent times been used badly by some with images and videos that were initially only meant for the eyes of two people. These media which depict folks in the nude or in acts that would leave immature folks of all ages traumatised will be the target of the dinner. Hosted at the posh Hemingways Hotel in Karen, the dinner will be called Save Us From WhatsApp! The aim of the dinner will be to ensure the owner of the social media network requests several levels of passwords before anything is sent from a phone.
The videos the dinner organisers would use to prove their case would include one of the children who had borrowed phones from their parents to play games, and the horror on their faces when they click in the gallery sections. The videos will also include a young woman who was happy to tape herself in action, but is now on suicide watch as her bedroom skills are spread on WhatsApp. With such terrifying images, you can be sure that the firm will change their sharing policies so that the madness can end.
There was a whole furore a few weeks ago when some poor fellows had their 'transformers' uprooted by angry women from a Central Kenya country. We can expect the next dinner called Save The Transformer at the Villa Rosa Kempinski aimed at raising money for self defence classes for potential victims. The money raised will also go to accessing reasonably priced drinks that are less potent so that people won't sleep so bad that they won't be amputated in their deathly sleep.
Sky Lounge, Cooper Road, Kisementi, Kampala
I spent a few days in Kampala recently as part of my personal contribution to East African Integration. This contribution includes spending money in that hospitality industry – to be more precise, drinking beer in the bars of the Ugandan capital.
One of the most enjoyable places for me during this period was the Sky Lounge which is opposite the famous Acacia Mall. I went there with friends after a long day of doing nothing and encountered what looked to be a very cool place. The lounge has three levels to it – unfortunately you can't have a wheelchair if you want to access any of them, which is sad.
We made our way to the top level which is at the second floor of the building and on the rooftop. Here we found a beautiful setting with a counter at its centre with various seating around it. We sat at the corner at some luxurious brown cane furniture with some very comfy cushions. The décor here was so good that it told me why Kampala arguably has the best night life in the region. There was a screen on the wall of the building on our right which was explaining that boy band Sauti Sol will be coming to Kampala soon.
Johnnie Walker had a huge sign that went across one whole wall of the venue – my host explained to me that this was a very popular place for whiskey drinkers. I wasn't interested in whiskey but lager, and my poison of choice while there was Nile Special, which was retailing at Uganda shillings 6,000 (Sh200). This might seem reasonable to a Nairobian but I am informed this is an extremely steep price to drink in Kampala.
Reflecting the prices, the people who were drinking looked to be more well off that the folks who had been giving me boda boda rides around town. They looked like businessmen or people at the top end of the management of the companies they work for. This is why I stood out so much with my torn jeans and rugged sneakers.
A quick recap of the venue:
Good: Great décor, decent service, clean washrooms, decent food, TV for those who need it
Bad: Pricey for Kampala, disability unfriendly, emergency exit not clear
My verdict: This is a great place to have your drink.