Kibera Night Life

Photos & Text by Bryan Otieno known as Storitellah


It’s 6:30 and the sun sets in Kibera, paving way for the night. Business is booming and it’s like as if Kibera is waking up. The streets are filled with people – both the young and the elderly, adults and children each moving in separate ways. It’s 7:00 pm and heavy music is blasting from the electronic kiosks along the railway line in Kenya, from this point it is evident that business is about to start with neon lights flashing everywhere with an attempt of drawing the attention of passers-by. At one corner of the electronic kiosks, there is a large crowd standing outside watching the 7 o’clock prime news. Something interesting is happening and during the commercial break, they discuss what they’ve have heard. The news is over and another session comes up. This time it’s for the kids, a movie is being screened on the big flat-screen TV set and kids are pretty much organised – following the movie keenly and it’s more interesting even. The movie is being narrated in Swahili. Walking around the slum, along Mama Okinda street – there are many food vendors each selling a different product. The residents knows whose products are the best and this is evident by the number of buyers waiting to be served by a particular seller. At this juncture chicken products are being sold – both raw and fried and the residents are buying them in bulk. Down the street, there is an alleyway – here we have men both of age and underage – money exchange hands and drugs are being sold openly. Bhang is taking charge – at one corner a man takes a sip of the illicit brew; chang’aa and puffs a roll of bhang. Reggae music is blasting in the background – the area is totally dark with just one dim light and a 14“ TV set compactly squeezed at a corner. It’s almost 10 pm and the streets are still busy, a local butcher roasts meat for his clients – the meet is rolled in intestines and the final product is called – mutura -, also known as the African sausage. It’s chopped into small pieces with each costing 1 shillings. The men seem to enjoy it better. At the further end of the table lies a small plate full of chopped tomatoes, onions and coriander leaves. This goes hand in hand with mutura. Kibera goes to sleep late into the night – very much aware of the morning ahead.