From shopkeepers tolocals on the streets of Nairobi – there is often welcoming smiles, waves and continuous ‘Karibu’ (“welcome” in Swahili). The warmth and friendliness of Kenyans are no doubt prominent that it almost seems like a national characteristic. Moreover, the Kenyan cultural pot is melting such that this cosmopolitan nationcontinues to attract many nationalities.
After a long 24-hour flight, I landed into Nairobi greeted by my generous and hospitablehomestay host, Ms M. Ms M has a beautiful young daughter who was unquestionably delightful and lovely. Ms M has previously studied abroad and currently works as an art and cultural consultant to various projects in Nairobi. Moreover, I had the privilege of participating in Nai Ni Who, one of the initiatives managed by Ms M, which aims at showcasing the diverse cultures andcelebrating thehistory of Nairobi.With the change of education and employment status for women, the role which Ms M plays as a mother also reflects the social transformation in the role of females in modern society.Whilst traditional African beliefs play a significant role in their lives, their family are also adapting to modern westernised cultures.
Kenya is gifted with a rich historical, cultural and natural heritage and is popularly known as the Cradle of Mankind. It is a nation endowed with great diversity – there are over 42 communities where each with its unique tradition and beliefs. Whilst Kenyans are united under the Red, White and Black colours of the flag and the spirit of “Harambee” – which signifies pulling together as a community, one can argue that its population easily represents more diversity than many other African countries.The high level of cultural diversity can also be demonstrated through the ever-increasing number of restaurants and bars, which are run by Kenyan and non-Kenyans alike, and one can now enjoy almost any type of cuisine and drinks from around the world. It will likewise not be difficult to notice the high number of intermarriages and mixed race couples in Kenya.
Kenya is considered one of the most cosmopolitan countries in Africa – no one single cultural element can be used to describe the people as a whole but perhaps its people’s genuine friendliness. Some argue that Kenya is an addictive country for its sincere warmth, once you are here, particularly as a foreigner, one will not want to leave!