21: KE vs SA: First impressions


Moving towns is not easy, least of all one that you have lived in 20+ years and love dearly. The following is a list of things I first compared between the new home and old home. Enjoy and take it in the spirit it is intended.

  • Being able to read books and newspapers at the bookshop. And not have to pay for them. Oh and no one looks at you funny or tries to intimidate you.
  • Funeral cover advertising. Like regular health insurance except they pay for the costs of your burial. Ah, Ok!
  • Openly gay people. My sisters and I kept saying there must be a third gender because of these men and women that proudly embrace their “other” sex and take it on full-on. One of the leading local soapies even has an openly gay married couple. Yeah, let’s see that on ANY Kenyan station, public or privately owned!
  • Street fashion. It’s interesting to just stop and stare at people’s unique interpretation of fashion. Very colourful and unique.
  • Understanding the phenomenon that is “excess”. Why am I paying for insurance if I must cough up the first X thousand of any claim I make????? Just sounds like daylight robbery.
  • That motor insurance is optional! In Kenya everyone must have insurance whether comprehensive or third-party. Not so here.
  • The prevalence of Afrikaans and Afrikaners. Coming here I knew South Africa has eleven official languages I just didn’t think it had been integrated and people could openly speak of it or that some people were comfortable with and proud to be culturally Afrikaner!
  • I liked the fact that many people my age spoke an African language. As we all know that’s one thing I sorely regret not being able to partake in.
  • Churches having braais with beer/evening events with sherry and beer! And that after the service you can decide to light up your cigarette and no one will kick you out.
  • Leaving handbags on chairs during communion in church and that no one steals the bags.
  • How people combine traditional and modern/traditional and religion and they just know when to do so.
  • Almost all Black names will have a meaning. Nice!
  • The fascination with race – like never knowing I was Black till I came here.
  • Being told the scope of an exam. How’s about reading the whole semester work and then being surprised coz it is called an exam, right?
  • Calling lecturers by their first name to their face. Yeah!
  • Drinking tap water!  In Kenya that’s asking for death right there.
  • The number of well-maintained public parks for recreation. I keep expecting someone to grab that land and construct a house or school.
  • A public transportation system that actually works and/or cheap cabs.
  • I love(d) that any Church service had people from all racial backgrounds.
  • The difference in pronunciation between stuff I knew from home: Panado v Panadol, Weetbix v Weetabix.
  • Butternut and pumpkins are always sweet. That and the introduction to food stuff like “dombolo” (dumplings) and samp. YUM!
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