How to be successful middle class in Nairobi

Nairobi’s middle class are very predictable. They have an unwritten handbook that describes their habit to the core. If you observe closely you will notice that you either know someone  or have some of the habits I have shared below. Most of us,  have have found ourselves doing certain things that are uniform in our environments. So if you find something familiar in the list below, don’t judge …..just  laugh about it!

1. Listen to music that no one has ever heard of. Preferably Neosoul.

Make sure you make instagram stories about the songs and once in a while take a selfie with a totally unknown talented singer and call him the next big thing. Attend hardly advertised concerts and sip one glass of wine all evening. Make sure to liter our timelines the next day with photos of fellow social climbers with hashtags like #Squad

2. Create and attend strange meetup in Kilimani and give it a charity angle. E.g “The skirt suit meet up’ which was inspired by sad mosquitoes.

You can meet anywhere. In a salon, old abandoned mansion or even at a bustop. Just make sure to show up with your own supplies and phone. We need a selfie and 68 other photos of your self posing in different styles. How else will we know that you were present?

3. Use a taxi

If you can’t afford a car, remember that you are too ‘social media’ famous to use a Matatu. You can take a Matatu at night. Never use public transport in broad day light! I repeat and underline the word NEVER. Just don’t!What will people think? That you are poor? Where are your standards? Get serious!

Kisakwa wants me to quit smoking!

4. Accent

You can choose any accent apart from Ugandan, Nigerian and South Africa. There are so many accents, Yugoslavian, Indian, American, Bree-ish ….I mean just make a choice. It’s good for your CV!

5. Own several pieces of Kitenge.

You can actually wear anything like a Kitenge kitchen apron to Blankets and Wine. Kitenge socks. Anything my friends, Anything!

6. Use words like squad

Refer to people as mates, BFF and Bae. Never talk to anyone who isn’t part of your squad an if they try to talk to you don’t smile. just stare at them like they are aliens. Excuse yourself from them as fast as you can and run back to safety.

7. Describe the weather in-terms of Summer and winter…

Don’t say June and July, say Winter. Don’t say January, call it Summer. Try to keep up with The European weather patterns. I don’t have to teach you everything now do I?

MATATU-Kenyan mode of transport. A bus normally with loudly music and graffiti.

KITENGE-African Design Wear E.g Dashiki


21 thoughts on “How to be successful middle class in Nairobi

  1. The Nairobi middle class is all about faking it till you make it!or is it Get Rich or Die Trying? The desire to fit or portray that you have made it is so intense that am sure many would literary kill to keep appearances!

  2. My friend calls this ‘African problems’. Haha. You can’t take a matatu? Or just walk? The famous Ocampo rides a bike to work for crying out loud!! Nkt!!

  3. These are all symptoms of the hipster life. Nairobi, looks like you have a hipster epidemic. If “silent parties” start popping up, call KDF immediately.

  4. There is that point you drop the Bree-ish accent… When the alcohol level mistakenly goes above board, and you slowly creep to “Wacha niwachoree form”.
    Nice piece Cate.

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