Every Wednesday we have our Man Around Nairobi segment where we feature men who work, live and play in Nairobi. Our Man Around Nairobi this week is Waihiga Mwaura. Waihiga Mwaura is a journalist at Citizen TV. He is also a MA student at Daystar University. He has won a couple of awards including the CNN Award – sports category for 2012 and the Mo Amin Award in 2015.
1. Did you grow up in Nairobi?
Yes I grew up in Nairobi. I was born in Donholm estate, Eastlands. We lived there until I was 13 years old then for the first time ever; I crossed Waiyaki way as my family moved to Westlands. Donholm and Westland’s were complete contrasts.
My memories of Donholm were fighting with the boys in the hood, riding my bicycle with utmost care because there were crooks in the estate, running around bare-foot and going to the shopping center to spend my hard earned 10kshs. Mountain View estate was a complete contrast because here people were of a different culture spoke English 24/7, studied abroad etc. and the hood was much safer. For high school I went to school in Saint Marys then moved to Rusinga where I encouraged Lupita Nyongo to get into acting (just kidding).
2. What do you love about Nairobi?
I love the fast pace of Nairobi. This city never sleeps. Get out of your house at 4 am and you will probably see people walking to work. There is never a dull moment in this melting point of cultures and expatriates who settle here usually end up staying. The people are usually friendly, prices are negotiable and if you look really hard there are good things happening all around. I love the fact that there are genuine success stories out of Nairobi. People like Optiven CEO George Wachiuri and many others give me hope that you can make it in Nairobi without becoming a tenderpreneur.
3. What would you change about Nairobi?
The usual…corrupt systems, greed, overpopulation which puts a strain on resources, large numbers of unemployed youths, chocked drainage systems, traffic jams etc. I could go on and on and on. I think Nairobi’s problems can be sorted by visionary leadership and a firm hand. We also need a citizens revolution where we all pledge to play our part.
4. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Working in Kenya has its pros and cons. There are opportunities for growth in Nairobi, adequate training institutions etc. I hate traffic jams and the corruption (way of life) where you cannot access basic services without having to grease some palms.
The media in Kenya and specifically Citizen is thriving as local and international media houses compete to be at the top. I however abhor the traffic jams, pickpockets etc. that come with this city.
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.
Well there is lots you can do in Nairobi. Visit the Nairobi National Park or at least what’s left of it. Go feed crocs at Mamba Village or go rock climbing in Parklands. Maybe run a city marathon if you get the chance.
To be quite honest I wouldn’t advise them to stay in Nairobi beyond one day. Our traffic jams would easily frustrate them. My advice to a tourist friend…land in Nairobi, spend the night here and fly off to Mombasa or the Mara.It is easier to sell the Coast or Maasai Mara rather than our capital city.
If you would like to interact with Waihiga find him on twitter @waihigamwaura.