On Google Images, Nairobi is a city with stories of a built environment. Occasionally the photo story begins with the silhouette of a zebra or giraffe, but ends with Nairobi’s skyline and expressway – so in essence, according to this widely used search engine, Nairobi is predominantly a concrete jungle.
But this city of brick and mortar was once marsh land and a watering hole for pastoral communities, which sojourned through the area briefly, maybe stopping overnight or stopping briefly for their livestock to replenish from the then-cool waters of the Nairobi River or River Mbagathi.
The location’s essence grew when it morphed from a railway depot town to the administrative capital in the early 1900s, and even much later when Africans finally became the majority population and equal rights were added into the constitution. Of note is that initially, the colonial administrators had preferred nearby Machakos town as the administrative capital of the colony over the mosquito-filled bog that Nairobi was then.
Through many changes, Nairobi has taken different shapes, but is famed for its famous tagline: The Green City in the Sun. Though it’s the people that call Nairobi home, the people that pass through Nairobi, and those that build Nairobi are the ones who make our city come alive. It’s in the way they look, the way they speak, laugh – and the vibe they borrow from, or add to Nairobi.