There are just about two things you need to know when attending a hip indoor event somewhere in, say, Westlands; One, you will meet chaps way richer and smarter and cooler than you. You will meet men you will feel instant jealousy (and a little bit of hatred) for because of how good those long ass shirts that stretch beyond the knees look on them. You will meet mamis out of your league; mamis whose earrings will look twice as expensive as your monthly budget. You will stroll in.. in your knock off (but still sexy as hell) blazer and striped shirt and Ksh. 400 Khakis and your Topman Brogues and they won’t as much as bat an eyelid. They’ll just be standing (or sitting) there minding their own business; taking selfies or admiring each other’s hairstyles. Looking sexy as a glass of whiskey on the rocks.

sanaa culture 1


Secondly, if you come from the ghetto like the rest of us, there’s not a single thing on the buffet that will look familiar (Okay, maybe the pilau). You will run your eyes across the table looking for your beloved Chapo-Madondo to no success. So, instead, you will stroll towards the drinks section and ask for a glass of fruit juice and the lady on the other end of the counter will ask you what fruit and you will almost say guava but, instead, you will ask what they have and she will yap on for kitu 5 minutes about fruits you’ve never even heard of and, just to spare yourself the embarrassment, you will smile and pretend to be lost in thought for a while only to say, “Nipatie tu mixture.” She will giggle and ask, “You mean cocktail?” and you will say, “Eeeh, hiyo.”

sanaa entry


We walk into The Michael Joseph Centre, Westlands, this past Saturday circa 4 p.m. and are ushered in by some beauty in the name of Jess. She’s light in complexion, has on these really tiny denim shorts ladies like to parade around in these days, a custom made military design long jacket, a pair of glasses, and a temporary tattoo (which I later gather was actually just a painting) on her left thigh. She is, by all definitions, beautiful. She looks like she should have been born a goldfish, instead. Or a flower. Or a goldfish named ‘Flower’. I remember one time Paddy – the chap from Insyder TV who dragged me to this event – caught me staring at her for ten continuous minutes and said, “Careful, mate, you might drop your eyes” and we both laughed but, all the while, I was just thinking to myself “Man, a babe like that walking the face of this earth, how am I still single?” Of course, an answer never came forth. Till now. I’m still single because I’m the guy who still uses the word “babe” in 2016.  

Sanaa culture 2

The room was almost full. There was a group of ladies sharing a plate of something at the front; a pack of guys each drinking from a cup and, probably, talking about the return of the EPL at the left; a table occupied by a lady and a man from some hotel in the Mara at the right; another by some chaps from a hotel in Mombasa at the back; the kitchen and the drinks section by the door beside the washroom entrance (I’m not the only one who thinks that was weird right?); a couple or so odieros roaming around here and there; hell, even DJ Kace (the mzungu DJ) was in the building. But nobody asked for selfies because these were a bunch of mature rich kids some of whom probably drove here and drank six figure shots of Whiskey at B-Club to unwind and, therefore, probably couldn’t give a rat’s tail if Sauti Sol themselves were in the building; let alone DJ Kace (stop acting like you know him).

sanaa wall


There was a wall at the very back from where the management of the Michael Joseph Center hang most of their trophies. And then just below it were displays of camping tents and chairs and firewood. Then there were paintings by some artistes available on sale just after the kitchen and drinks section. I’m curious, what makes an artist tick? I know Writers are also artists but us we just need a bottle of stinging whiskey to get us going (speaking for myself). I mean painters. Because there was some painting there that, from one view, looked like it was of a bird that was trying to fly but couldn’t because it had no wings and it’s legs had been chewed off by vultures and at the same time, from the other view, it looked like the rough outline of a (naked) man with a round head and a very tiny badonky-donk resting under the sun. How do you get inspiration to draw something like that? Do you read, take a long evening walk, watch a movie, or just lock yourself in your room and smoke some weed? No shade hapa by the way. Ama I’m just the one who doesn’t get it? I don’t know, I’ll visit Art Space sometime and ask Bob Collymore’s madam.

sanaa painting


(By the way, you ladies who are engaged to rich famous people, be prepared to lose your identity when you finally get married. You will no longer be referred to as ‘Shiro wa Equity’ but as ‘Bibi ya Njuguna’. Just a little heads up.)



There was a little stage at the front from where the performers would belt out their tunes and out of all those that rocked the crowd, only one has stuck in mind; a riffraff by the stage name ‘Osii G’. He had some sort of vibe about him; he had meaningful and mature content in his lyrics; he knew how to work the crowd; he knew when to perform an emotional song and when to switch it up to a bumpy tune; but, perhaps, the reason I still even remember his name was because, despite being a Rapper, he never – at any one time – sagged his jeans to sijui below his knees or grabbed his crotch just for kicks or introduced himself in that corny way Musicians do nowadays, eti “It’s your boy…”

Ossi the G


And then there were these other cute mamis with long smiles and black and red t-shirts walking around with pieces of tape stuck along their arms written, ‘Ask Me Anything.’ I wanted to tap one of them on the shoulder and bother her with useless questions like, “Do you think Baba is going to win this time? His chances are not that bad sindio? And Trump? Do you think he’s really serious about deporting non-Americans when he gets to power? Eti sasa I could be stuck in traffic along Waiyaki Way and I look next to me and there’s Lupita? What would you ask her? Mimi I think I would just ask her if the Director had a boner in that scene in ’12 Years A Slave’ where she goes bolingo, ama do you think she would take offence?” And then just when I saw her rolling her eyes, I would ask, “Can I get your number?” Si they said ANYTHING? Ehe.

ask me


The event was good. A new experience, but good. I’m not going to lie to you guys, I still don’t exactly know what the exact purpose of the event was or what the guys at Sanaa Culture do. They go for fun trips and they organize warm events like these where artists can showcase their art and chaps can eat (really expensive) food and drinks and win trips to amazing hotels at the Mara and Mombasa at heavily discounted prices but, really, what is Sanaa Culture? Anyone? Jess?

Ian Duncan