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Nairobi restaurant apologises for t-shirt goof

A popular restaurant in Nairobi has had to eat humble pie after they made their workers to wear t-shirts with a message that did not resonate well with Kenyans.

The said t-shirts that the employees of Big Square restaurant wore on Saturday were emblazoned with the words, “I was not there, Saba Saba, I was at Big Square,” a message which was interpreted in a political sense by Kenyans on Twitters.

In Kenya, Saba Saba (July 7th, 1990) is a day associated with political struggle that resulted into the reintroduction of multiparty politics after more than two decades of single party rule by Kanu.

Hence, it was wasn’t surprising that the Saba Saba message on Big Square’s t-shirt was taken in the political context, forcing the restaurant’s director, Morne Deetlefs, to post an apology message Twitter.

One of Big Square restaurant's outlets in Nairobi.
One of Big Square restaurant’s outlets in Nairobi.


“Poleni sana, I deeply apologize for the offence caused by our actions and any perceived insensitivity,” Deetlefs’ message read.

“Yesterday a photo of a Big Square branded t-shirt was posted on Twitter. The message on the t-shirt was in reference to the 2014 rally held in Nairobi. Our intention was never to make light of a painful day in Kenya’s history. We have taken the lesson from this incident to heart and have withdrawn all t-shirts with immediate effect,” he added.

“Big Square is a business that is proudly Kenyan, We do not take the sacrifices made by our fellow patriots for granted,” Deetlefs concluded his message.

However, efforts by Nairobi News to establish from the restaurant’s management why they would link the events of the said day on 2014 with their business proved futile.

With several outlets, mostly located in the upmarket areas of Nairobi, Big Square is a casual dining restaurant that specialises in fast food, beer and wine.