Can a prostitute have dignity? #NanyukiNights.



This weekend we were in Nanyuki. While hanging out after our conference we found the music boring so we entertained ourselves by watching others. So we watched the prostitutes dancing and trying to pick up customers. It was interesting to watch the reactions of the Nairobi crowd. Then apparently at some point when I wasn’t watching one of the langas pushed her dress up, no panties & allowed the white guys to finger her. The Nairobi crowd was shocked that the langa could be that bold. It was kama video, kama drama. We even called the night .

I have been asking myself the question “is there something like being a prostitute with dignity?”

My name Rayhab is a derivative from Rahab. She was the prostitute in the bible who  hid the Israelite spies and allowed them to escape while they were being pursued. In return when the isrealites brought down the walls of Jericho she and her family were spared. She ended up married to an Israelite and she is the great grand mother of David. She is in the lineage of Jesus Christ as well. Read a summary of her story here.

I decided to Google prostitution and this is what I found on Wikipedia.  The reasons why women were prostitutes is both secular and religious. Some women and girls were forced into prostitution but some went into it willingly.

I wondered about the prostitutes I have met in my lifetime. There are many, and I have met even more in the books and movies that I have read. Some of their stories have touched me like woman thou at loosed or this story that taught me about judging others.

I am left with the question “can there be dignity even in a trade that is so intimate, a trade where one gives up something so precious for money?”

Last night there was the story of the girls who are school girls by day and prostitutes by night. And maybe some of their clients are their teachers, or people they know.

Can you have dignity if people know what you do at night in the light of day? Can you walk nonchalant in the village or the neighborhood while knowing people know what you do for a living?

For that woman who was not just suggesting that she is for sale but showing the whole world her naked body to see what she is offering does she care that she is known as a malaya.

Remember growing up hearing somebody being called a prostitute or a malaya was like the ultimate four letter word. The word Malaya was pregnant with meaning, about a loose woman, a woman with no shame or dignity. A woman that other women and men (especially) should keep away from. Nowadays the new words are sluts or whores! These words are even used to generally refer to women, in a way to degrade them and make them feel bad.

My question is can a prostitute have dignity?



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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]


  1. haha! welcome to my town.. Things happen in Nanyuki, it is the most cosmopolitan inland town in Kenya. HIV infection and spread rates are equally high here..sad…about dignity…every human being has intrinsic dignity that cannot be taken away or rescinded unlike rights, in fact that dignity is the foundation for human rights.

  2. The dignity question has to be taken through the dynamics of time and space. A pastor may appear dignified but are they so dignified when they are floricking? Is prostitute a full timer? There are times when they are all dignified…like during the day. On a steamy dance floor in a seedy pub, I bet everyone is not very dignified but some are more indignified than others. As mentioned elsewhere, why do we not question the dignity of the mzungu who does the fingering.

    One thing I will give to the langas…they are fairly honest than the rest of us!

      • You shall know them by there fruits.
        Matt 6:22-23
        The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
        Enuff said… Kenyans tuwache kuzunguka zunguka maneno. If something is wrong It is wrong. Lets raise up children full of Integrity by being people full of it. My question for you would be ‘ can you advocate prostitution to your children?’