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    all cities yield their grammar,
    even Nairobi, sixteen years on.
    i have learnt the concrete nouns
    of places, the conjunctions of fly-overs,
    along Thika Road, Jogoo, Uhuru Highway, scattered.
    i know the chaos of pronouns
    inflecting themselves at bus stops.
    i have heard the roaring verbs
    conjugating on the suburbs, fluent
    in the gin-soaked slang of eastlando,
    the vanilla pidgin of ghetto.

    i know that life in Nairobi
    is lived adverbially,
    busily, showily, hopefully. with #hashtags and throwbacks,
    double-taps. Nairobi, babel of adjectives,
    amorphous, arcane, mercantile, plain,
    from terrestrial Korogocho to city’s aquatic illusions.

    street by street i have walked its prepositions,
    from Koinange across the Muindi Mbingu to Tom Mboya.
    i have grown accustomed to the dialect
    of houses, the shorthand of scenery.
    i have seen the aura of Upper Hill edited
    by the sibilant ocean of zeal
    and the incessant seduction of posterity

    yet the city is a theatre of interjections of histories
    shackles, sentences, protest, patronage, conviviality, chasm.
    dancing sarakasi bodies are broken passages telling its stories best
    winding, rhymes, phrases, steps
    balances at conjunctions and intersections like between
    the pavement and the parliament, like between the street
    and the stage. the alleys of this city are paved by idioms that are legacies
    from the depth of Africa, the islands and plateaus from several nations

    across the oceans. by this i mean replete is this city
    with clauses and metaphors that are genealogies
    waiting for bodies to tell their stories.
    i come as a chronicler
    of its carnivals. i arrive as a performer
    of its pulse, of its syntax and tapestry.

    Cover Image: Good Night Nairobi Part 1 by Mwarv Photography

    A lover of art, charity and science. Treats, writes and reads. He writes for Jalada Africa and his blog Let's Tell Tales (

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    Stephen Siloma

    “gin-soaked slang of eastlando,
    the vanilla pidgin of ghetto.” Love the line. #ThisisMyNairobi #ThisisMyKenya


    ”… life in Nairobi
    is lived adverbially,
    busily, showily, hopefully. with #hashtags and throwbacks,
    double-taps…” Nairobi, my city my town. good piece.


    Nairobi herself is a complex art…..

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