It’s another Wednesday and time to meet one of the men who live, work and play in Nairobi. Today’s Man Around Nairobi is Francis Karugah. Francis Karugah is the Strategic and digital content lead for SCANAD Africa/JWT EA Digital. He is also an occasional blogger on current affairs and entertainment. He has over four years experience with brands across East Africa.
1. Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I grew up in an area called Karura/Kihara but Nairobi has always been our playground (less than 15 kilometers away) so almost all of our recreational activities were in Nairobi. River Thigirii runs across the farm we grew up in. When we were in primary school, during some of the holidays my grandfather would ask us to water his banana plants and the chap who would water the most, would get a bit of money. It taught me at an early age to be very aggressive to be a cut above the rest and also endurance … We had to go down a steep slope to get the to river and climb back with the water with jerricans – kazi mingi sana, but it paid off.
I moved to Upper Hill 4 years ago. It is a completely different experience buying groceries at 3 times the normal cost and the fact that I also have to deal with less trees in the compound, and mosquitoes. I own a whole arsenal to battle mosquitoes – everyday.
2. What you love about Nairobi?
The people! The chaos produces a vibrancy that I haven’t yet encountered in other cities. The diversity in the city and the ability of her people to almost always have an alternative solution to the many problems that plague us make it super interesting to live here.
I love my Nairobi, even with her scars and dysfunctional ways.
3. What would you change about Nairobi?
The traffic and the leadership. I waste a lot of time in traffic and it’s made me think of getting a bicycle a couple of times. But with the way most of us drive in this town, I won’t be getting one until we get biking lanes. I saw them in Thika, we can do it Nairobi.
The leadership in this town have their priorities a little mixed up, we want things to work – we are tired of tales. Get the work done!
4. As a professional how is it working in the Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Yes! I work in advertising. Every day we are challenged to find new ways to connect with consumers and sell them stuff. Nairobi is full of challenges. It has a vibrant population and because of the uniqueness of how we communicate with each other, it makes my industry fun as we have to sometimes ‘innovate with the language’ and that is when the magic happens. Plus, we are a curious society, so social experiments always produce amazing results.
It is getting better, more and more spaces to express our creativity are opening up. More international brands are opening shop here, exposing us to new ethos and even better, more creative expressions.
5. If you had a tourist friend coming in from outside the country what three things would you say to sell them the idea that Nairobi is worth visiting.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a great place for them to learn about wildlife conservation, get up close with baby elephants as well as adopt one.
K1 reggae night, no one does reggae like Dohty Family.
If they’re fitness freaks they can fill up their lungs with fresh air as they run wild in Karura Forest.
If you would like to interact with Francis Karugah find him on twitter at