The beauty of Kenya’s lies in its unpredictable pace and compelling contrasts, which are often missed in favour of tourists safari game trips. But to bypass Nairobi is to skip the thriving heartbeat of East Africa. For its four million citizens, the city is a bustling hub where a mosaic of tribes (43, to be exact) and cultures co-exist, hustle, and more often than not, harmonize. A surge in economic development in the technology start-up sector and wave of accomplished Kenyans returning home from abroad has only increased the city’s clout. And its thriving creative class, of which women are increasingly at the forefront, has never been more determined to use arts, fashion, and education to further build community. Meet sixteen of the city’s most stylish powerhouses who are combining passion with purpose, and consider them your guides to the best places in town.
Wanuri Kahiu, filmmaker
A lauded storyteller in the African entertainment community, this writer and director uses her work to aesthetically delight, challenge conservatism, and ignite timely debate. Her second feature film, Rafiki, a love story between two young women, received a groundswell of social media support, and a standing ovation at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, after it was banned by the Kenyan government for illegal displays of homosexuality. Kahiu is also the co-founder of Afrobubblegum, a media collective and local arts genre she defines as “fun, fierce, frivolous content about people of colour.”