Afrika is booming. It isn’t the first time that we try to convey this message, and it most certainly won’t be the last. To show hipsters all around the world how it’s done, we present to you: Nairobi, the East African urban paradise. These are places you go to when you’re young and creative, and you happen to live in the Kenyan capital. This week: the first set of five urban hotspots.
1. The Goethe Institut Kenya
The Goethe Institut is a global German institute, and focuses primarily on educating other parts of the world in the German language and culture. Additionally, the Kenyan establishment is well-known for its cultural activities. In collaboration with young artists and independent cultural ventures they organize a wide spectrum of activities where the main focus lies on the newest generation of African music, film, and art. Keep an eye on their Facebook to see what kind of events are up next!
2. Nairobi Garage
Start-ups! Co-working! If you’re a millennial, it’s hard to not get excited when these terms are being used. Nairobi Garage is the co-working space of Nairobi. For a small amount per month, the future of Kenya has a place to further develop their concepts and simultaneously create and/or expand their network in the capital. With open co-work spaces, closed off conference rooms, fast WiFi, and most importantly: free coffee, it’s no wonder that the majority of Nairobi’s young and creative scene can be found here.
3. East African Soul Train (E.A.S.T.)
The Kenyan railway system, which stretches from Mombasa till Kisumu, was strategically laid down at the end of the 19th century. Where its original function was to aid the British in maintaining control over ‘their’ grounds, it now forms the location for E.A.S.T: an annual creative event where the historic route is travelled by talented East African artists. Curious about what this results into? Follow their Instagram and Facebook.
4. Blankets & Wine
The idea is simple: bring a bottle of wine, a picnic basket, and a blanket. Combine these three attributes with a music programme that’s made up entirely out of young African talent, and a formula is born. Repeat this every first Sunday of the month until you become an East African legend. Mutoni Ndonga came up with this incentive, named it ‘Blankets & Wine’, and the rest is history. Blankets & Wine quickly moved from Nairobi to Uganda, and has its debut in Rwanda this year. Wherever B&W goes (or will go), the programme stays true to the environment in which it’s located. Where it once started as a platform for the promotion of Kenyan music, it has grown into an Africa-wide event focusing on regional art, literature, music, fashion, and theater.
5. Wasp & Sprout
Wasp & Sprout has recreated the classic ‘hipster-coffeebar-style’ while adding an African twist to it: we can check ‘bike hanging from wall’, ‘use of industrial materials’, and ‘retro furniture’ off our list. But even though one visit is enough to maintain your hipster-levels for quite some time, there’s more to this dynamic café than you might think. In Nairobi, where most coffee bars are part of a bigger concern, W&S is a unique gem where you could easily (and happily) order half the menu. Next to making cappuccinos, they produce their own interior design-collection, and they offer a platform for local artists to display their art. In short: here you go to get your coffee with a side of cake and cultural incentive.