The Alchemist, a bar and restaurant in Nairobi has come under fire by Kenyans after being accused of being racist and prejudiced.
A post making rounds on social media that has since gone viral shows a black man appearing to be turned away from a queue with white customers, presumably at the entrance of the popular club.
The viral video was uploaded on Twitter by a user going by the name Murgor, and he claims to capture an act of prejudice against black people.
“Last week when I went to Alchemist there was a line for white and Indian people separate from the blacks’. One black guy tried using the line akachujwa immediately,” said Murgor in his tweet.
In Murgor’s 25 second clip, there appear to be two lines - one with predominantly white customers and the other with mostly black ones.
How will we ever beat racism if we are racist against our own selves. Last week when I went to Alchemist there was a line for white and Indian people separate from the blacks’. One black guy tried using the line akachujwa immediately. This is sad really pic.twitter.com/GcY2oPkcmI— Slim daddy (@murgormurgor) May 29, 2022
The Alchemist has gone on to trend on the social networking site, with over 28,000 Kenyans tweeting about the clip and 42,000 posting about it on Facebook.
“Yaani racism being practised on our own land, the land of black people! Where do they get the audacity to do this? We cannot be slaves at home and away,” one Peter Njenga tweeted.
“What is practised and approved by management will naturally be upheld by staff. Kosa ni kurudia kosa. Yours is a habit thus it is safe to say it is company culture,” one Njaga tweeted.
Now, hours after the clip went viral, the Westlands-based club has responded to the segregation claims, denying the incident.
Through a statement released to the bar’s social media pages, The Alchemist has said that they are not prejudiced, adding that everyone was let into the establishment and that they will make changes “to ensure everyone feels welcome.”
The bar released a clip from the controversial night, stating through marks on the footage that there was a diverse group of people in both queues, including the one where the man taking the video was.
“Let us see what actually happened from both perspectives,” The Alchemist labelled the clip.
The club adds that the allegedly racially profiled man merely stepped away to talk to friends before resuming the line, and they point it out on their own clip.
“You can find a side-by-side comparison of the footage here. The two people filming the original video were standing in line and in fact, were let into the Alchemist minutes after filming,” the bar wrote on the post.
“The person in a white t-shirt that they claimed was refuted entry was, in fact, let in one minute later as well.”
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In their response, The Alchemist said that the club is intended to be enjoyed by all creatives and customers.
“We have never had a policy of segregation. Kenya has been our home and we have made it our mission to showcase Nairobi’s music and culture to a diverse audience,” The Alchemist’s statement reads in part.
However, the establishment has been rocked by racism claims in the past.
In 2018, a reveller publicly accused the bar of not letting her sit in a specific area as it was "only meant for white people."
“We sincerely apologise for any hurt that this has caused and make clear our policy towards race and inclusivity,” The Alchemist wrote at the time.
The bar added that the issue at the time was with rogue bouncers who they said would be “removed from service.”