Reportage

REPORTAGE

In the creative and promising Nairobi

Italian bloggers around Kenya in "corona" times

29-09-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo

After three days in the savannah, we opt for a "soft" return to (in)civilization.
The last day in Nairobi is dedicated to creativity. The healthy immersion in the wild nature of the Mara and the flood of animals and emotions made us invulnerable for a while, so we decided to return to the other Kenya, the metropolitan one.
No masochism, let's be clear: we take care of Nairobi, which in Africa tries to exploit the coefficient of freedom and the potential for growth in parallel with the many evils of contemporary society that this nation is, alas, absorbing.
There is still room for improvement, and we realize this by visiting two places that, each in its own way, represent the desire to create interactive, engaging and (I agree, I will not use the word "sustainable" otherwise I will look like one of those who put the "crazy" everywhere) very interesting.
The first stage is a "village", but not in the popular meaning of hut agglomerates, nor in the tourist meaning of the structures that today are called resurrected. Rather look at the "village" voice in the history of New York's "sixties" and "seventies", where writers, musicians, painters and poets converged in the creative spaces of Greenwich Village and where Bob Dylan talked with Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed took something strong with Andy Warhol.
Here in Lavington in the former private estate of Australian-born advertising executive Andrew White, the "Creative Village" of Nairobi was born.
In the beginning there were two colonial villas made of stone and solid wood, one of which is reminiscent of the medieval rectories of Sussex and has been used as an art gallery and finely furnished accordingly.
Unfortunately the pandemic took away all the vernissage (on the gate there is a graffiti of type "Caution Radiation Area" that announces in an ironically grim way the "Mask Zone") and that space langue waiting to be sprayed with new culture and talent. In the meantime, however, we are working in the spaces added to the frame of a fabulous garden, among secular plants and multicolored flowers. There is a video post-production studio, a graphic designers' symposium for internet sites, a fashion label with a connected modeling studio, a North American NGO that prepares social projects and converge city minds in a great mixture of races and age groups. Dulcis in fundo, a music studio that spans fifty years of the world of notes, between analog and digital recording. This is the pride of White, who in his youth was also a singer-songwriter, before making room for better people, as he tells us, but was the first to bring the "jingles" to Kenya. His the first commercial of the airline Kenya Airways in the eighties, his that of Safaricom in more recent times. With Andy you can talk about everything: contemporary genius Kenyan writers, music and even Mijikenda culture and traditions, a subject for which I would quietly introduce myself to a quiz.
We'll go back to the Creative Village, maybe to record a record, who knows.
At lunch we decide instead to visit another space they told us about: it's a green island of those that in the beginning were the basis of the idea of agritourism, but today in that word only tourism in the middle of greenery and "agro" often only the price and the propensity to appear on booking.
In the hilly wooded district of Loresho, now easily accessible from the link road that leads from Westland to the Red Hills, they opened the "Shamba Cafe", which is really a sustainable place (there, I said it! Crazy!). In a beautiful plot of land, it will be two acres, most of it is dedicated to the vegetable garden, as the word "shamba" itself says, where everything you eat at the restaurant is cultivated to zero centimeter. There is a supermarket of natural things produced in Kenya, a small store of handicrafts and recycled objects, both made from a large barn, a space where exhibitors, mostly farmers or beekeepers, can offer their products and the large restaurant in a second huge shed. The rest is green mantle with games for children and relaxing corners.
You will meet young families, Indian and Kenyan, and a little 'older Europeans, couples of students and employees of multinational corporations (do not ask me what I recognize them from, I think the smile, but maybe also the smell ... however trust me). A mixed and promising world that maybe would like a more natural and clean dimension of the cosmos, provided you have a good wi-fi connection.
As interesting and promising as it may be...tomorrow morning we go back to the Indian Ocean, taking another route and visiting other places.
See you tomorrow!

 

TAGS: creatività nairobimusica nairobilocali nairobireportage kenya

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