Every Wednesday we have our Man Around Nairobi segment where we feature one of the men who works, lives and plays in Nairobi. Today’s Man Around Nairobi is Paul Karingithi better known as Bugz. He has been in advertising over the last 14 years and currently runs an advertising agency known as Brandspark Advertising.
1. Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I was born and raised in Nairobi. We lived on Thika Road, before anyone thought of it becoming the new Thika Road Super highway!!! My parents lived in Ngumba Estate next to the vibrant Tusker Village with the hub of EABL/ then KBL and Central Glass industries in the background. The Estate had a number of bungalows and maisonettes with lots of free areas to play football and ride bikes with no brakes.
We also played football against the kids at Tusker Village and once in a while attended kids club at the Baptist mission next door. I attended school at Thika Road Christian School which was across the road from our estate and sometimes walking back home past the Safaricom Stadium as its now called was alot of fun. Looking back, those were good days.
2. What you love about Nairobi?
Nairobi is a cosmopolitan town with diverse people and a vibrant culture. Nairobi runs almost 24 hours a day with certain streets like Moi Avenue and Tom Mboya Streets having people buying and selling until late at night. I once lived in Buru Buru and we had 58 Mat’s until 4 am and they would drop you at your court. Electric Avenue in Westy on some days there is no difference between how it looks at day and at night. There is a certain energy that Nairobi has that is electric and gives you energy for every day.
3. What would you change about Nairobi?
Nairobi has a lot of issues that are fixable, but need a leader who has the passion to fix those issues. Traffic, Crime, Proper sanitation, a clean and well lit city would make Nairobi even better. I like the idea of getting Nairobi to have a 24 hour economy but its dependent on getting crime sorted so that people feel safe to engage in business all night. Traffic, I think the Nairobi County government, needs to introduce Bus lanes on the major highways thus making the mass transit network in Nairobi more efficient.
That said though, Nairobi is a growing cosmopolitan city offering everything from A national Park in a City, to an airport and industrial zone, malls and upmarket hotels, golf courses it has something for everyone…
4. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
I have been an advertising professional in Nairobi for the last 15 years and Nairobi offers you everything. I have been on shoots in amazing locations within the City that looked like they were abroad. Also some of the best brains in advertising and marketing can be found here with all the big brands having a presence in Nairobi. I can explain it in the words of a supermarket chain in Nairobi… ‘You need it, Nairobi has it…’
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.
I would show him the diversity that Nairobi has to offer. From the peaceful and serene – Karura, Nairobi National Park, Royal Nairobi Golf course to the brazen and loud a 111/58 matatu ride, a night out on Electric avenue and most definitely a boda boda ride in Nairobi traffic.
Of course I would also recommend a sampling of the different restaurants in Nairobi, from Junipers kitchen to Pampa Churrascaria.
If you would like to interact with Paul you can find him at twitter handle @bugzville58.