Women can be very cunning and adaptive when it comes to faking their backgrounds. With well-pressed mtumba clothes, an accent and proper grooming, a city chick from the other side of Eastlands tracks can blindfold a dude into believing she’s from West of Uhuru Highway.
With Photoshop and photo filters, a woman from Mucatha can easily post photos of her faded jeans and Toi market high heels and airbrush them, plus the background to make the pictures look like they were taken in Karen.
But when you scratch deeper, certain habits in women almost always betray their social class and neighbourhoods. Here is what our survey revealed about women and their hoods:
Buruburu was once upon a time the leafy suburb of Eastlands. But most women here still believe the world revolves around them. By the way, be careful if you ‘snatch’ their man, the whole estate will come after you.
Education: If she does not make it to Buruburu Girls, her parents will condemn her to a school in the village. Some make it to the University of Nairobi, while the rest join KeMU or any other upcoming campus.
Career: The bright ones study law, but the rest vary from sales girls in exhibition stall in the CBD, receptionists to waitresses.
Dating: In her late teens and early 20s, a typical Buru girl is attracted to touts. Come late 20s and early 30s, and she will hook up with Mr Moneybags in the estate and consign herself to a come-we-stay relationship until she’s almost 40 when she discovers Mr Moneybags has a baby mama in Umoja and is pursuing another girlfriend in Kilimani. If she can walk out of her marriage without being shot by the husband, she will send her children to boarding schools for free time to start dating a college student five years old than her first born.
Fashion: Those in their early 20s love jeans in bright colours and six-inch high heels that make them walk like new-born calves, that is matched with shiny second-hand bangles from Muthurwa Market. They upgrade to pencil skirts that they occasionally mismatch with their pink camisoles when they graduate to their late 20s. They will be stuck in the same dress code till they are 50, when they switch to hipster trousers with faded denim jackets.
Language: Sheng and Swang-lish (Swahili blended with English)
Lang’ata is the headquarters of hustlers. This ambition is probably inspired by the need to live in Karen or cross over to Kilimani. They don’t settle for less.
Education: Her mother was probably a nurse at St Mary’s Otiende hospital, while her father ran a grocery. She manages a B+ at Kenya High and ends up either at the University of Nairobi or Kenyatta University, where she graduates with second-class honours.
Career: She briefly works in a law firm before starting her own business. She will lease land in Namanga or Limuru, an idea she borrowed from a friend while sipping a latte at Java, Koinange Street. Within three years, she would be owning a house in Kiserian, thanks to her booming fresh farm supply business.
Dating: Due to her pervasive ambition, the Lang’ata woman intimidates most men. It is not uncommon for her to be a second or even third wife to some loaded businessman.
Fashion: She wears whatever she wants because she can afford it, but you will often bump into her in T-Mall pushing a trolley in her flip-flops, stockings covering her weave or braids and some pants that border between pyjamas and gym pants.
Language: English. Don’t count on her Kiswahili.
Kilimani women are self-entitled, both in real life and on social media. They do their indoor cook-ups, make-up beauty trials and chamas to discuss their husbands’ welfare. They are also spoilt, both by their parents and spouses.
Education: She probably attended State House Girls, Pangani, Kenya High or a posh school in North Rift like Sacho or Kabarak. Do not be fooled, she is only book smart and far from being street smart. She went to Daystar, Egerton or Kabarak University because her father insisted on it.
Career: They don’t really pursue employment because they are either bringing up their children or pretending to work in their fathers’ companies.
Dating: They date within the hood or from their tribe (most are Kales). They will occasionally stray and date a Buru guy who has been pretending to be a lawyer until they find out he’s a con trying to get a few beers from her every Friday.
Fashion: They don’t really put much effort and have a habit of mismatching. They probably don’t feel the need to prove that their folks owns half of Kapkatet tea estate.
Language: English, Old Skul Sheng and mother tongue.
4. South C
South C women are very conservative. They go to work on time, come back home before dusk, make their smoothies and post them on social media.
Education: Christians went to Ngara Girls (before it changed names), while Asian and Arab women prefer schools that preserve their cultures.
Career: Most South C women are ‘softies’ and geeks. They work for construction companies as lead architects, bank managers or even doctors.
Dating: They are very conservative. Most of them end up in arranged marriages.
Fashion: The Christians try to keep up with fashion, while the ‘others’ stick to their traditional attires.
Language: They easily blend in.
5. Nyayo Embakasi estate
Neighbours can hardly keep up with the men they date nor can they explain their sources of income. You will only know about her background after seeing her in the news, either after being shot by a scorned lover or explaining how fake millions ended up in her house.
Education: Could be anywhere... Mung’etho Secondary or St Teresa’s Girls along Juja Road. Most of the women are probably from Umoja or even Gacharage village before they were upgraded by their ‘sponsors.’
Career: She is a wheeler-dealer. When not hiding ‘bribe’ money from her policeman boyfriend, she’s running her struggling pub just a few metres from the estate. She will occasionally fly to Thailand and China for some unknown business.
Dating: She can date three men at a go; from policemen, businessmen to politicians. Whoever can contribute towards the maintenance of her lifestyle is fair game. This explains why the estate is famed for crimes of passion!
Fashion: She is very keen to look good as her image doubles up as her source of income.
Language: English that needs some polishing.
6. Westlands/Mountain View
Due to their subconscious snobbish nature, these women hardly mingle out of their class until they are older. They hang out in shopping malls and their ideal night out is indoors with a glass of wine because the ‘Eastlands beasts’ have invaded Skylux Lounge.
Education: She went to Aga Khan or a school in Parklands. She studied photography or design abroad.
Career: She has no clearly-defined career. You will always bump into her in galleries sipping wine and gasping at how heavenly a warthog painting looks!
Dating: Starts at 35 before getting frustrated that her spouse doesn’t treat her like her daddy. She eventually gets divorced after eight months.
Fashion: They have just discovered Ankara. Even their handbags have an African theme.
Language: English only. They can’t even speak vernacular.
Kinoo women still believe they are entitled to misusing the name Waiyaki Way when asked where they live. They are loud and shady and still believe that spandex and faux leather is the in thing.
Education: Gaichanjiru and Gatururu Girls where they managed a B-. Either a cow was sold or a village harambee was held for her to get some pocket money to survive in Nairobi while attending college.
Career: Internship in a security firm or secretarial jobs. They later manage to buy a plot in Nduboini and erect six mabati houses for rental income as they hustle from selling mtumba to delivering goods door-to-door.
Dating: Anybody who drives.
Fashion: Fake leather and glittery dresses.
Language: Kikuyu and Kiswahili. English is strictly for official purposes.
Nowadays they just call it Thika Road. Most women here hang out around Thika Road Mall (TRM) and Garden City Mall, where they take selfies for instant posting on Instagram, followed by a battalion of hashtags making it look like they live in Karen.
Education: Most are from different counties and came to Nairobi the other day. They attended little-known colleges before coming to Nairobi for a diploma in even lesser-known colleges. Old timers attended USIU, KU or Graffins.
Career: Still trying to find stable jobs as they hop from receptionist to short stints with upcoming PR firms.
Dating: Treat her along Thika Road, but never inside Kasarani estate pubs!
Fashion: They look nice in mtumba clothes from Ngara.
Language: Stick to Kiswahili but are more comfortable speaking mother tongue, especially the many Meru chicks who have moved to Kasarani from Muringene-Kutus!
You cannot easily tell a woman is from Karen until you meet her in the hood bar. She will drink the whole night, whether single or married, mostly with their childhood friends.
Education: British curriculum in upscale schools. Their college years are spent abroad sharpening skills to later run the family business.
Career: Since they are always drunk and money is no problem, there is nothing to write home about their career status.
Dating: If she is not dating a white man, she is seeing a man of her class. Her family must approve.
Fashion: She can really dress up if she wants to, but on a normal day, she is in rugged jeans and a T-shirt.
Language: English and mother tongue.
10. Mlolongo/Athi River/Syokimau
All flight attendants and airline cabin crew staff have moved to these hoods due to their proximity to the airport. The houses also appealing to the eye.
Education: Depending on their origin, some went to schools in Machakos and Kajiado counties. Details of their tertiary education are scanty as most received on-job training.
Career: Cabin crew and go-down casuals.
Dating: Given their tight schedules, they prefer dating colleagues or married men.
Fashion: Job uniforms, but when they decide to dress up, they really outdo themselves.
Language: English, Kiswahili and mother tongue.