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Inside the notorious invite-only Christmas parties in Nairobi hoods

By Sammy Waweru December 24th, 2023 2 min read

As the Christmas season approaches, ushering in the spirit of festivities, some residential buildings, especially in urban areas, are undergoing a unique transformation.

Rather than the traditional celebrations, they are turning into makeshift bars, pubs, and entertainment joints, hosting drinking parties on Fridays and weekends.

While Christmas is an international day observed every December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the celebration is taking an unconventional turn in certain urban spaces.

“Some rental premises have been turned into bars and entertainment joints. They organise drinking sprees,” says Alfred Kimani, a plot owner in Kasarani, Nairobi. However, the festive cheer comes with its challenges, particularly for those not participating in the revelry.

At night, tenants in affected rental premises who do not consume alcohol find themselves grappling with noise from the festivities.

“Especially those with young children are going through tough times,” explains Kimani. Eviction notices become a challenge, particularly for those who have paid rent for the entire month of December.

According to Joshua Omondi, a caretaker in Ruiru, the drinking-related celebrations are primarily organised by the youth.

“Many of them are young people. Instead of going to bars or entertainment joints, they prefer to buy alcohol and turn their homes into drinking sprees,” he told Nairobi News in an exclusive interview.

The participants, often young boys and girls, sometimes become disruptive and disrespectful to other tenants, causing discomfort in shared living spaces.

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This disruptive behavior has forced some residents to relocate to seek a quieter living environment for their families.

“I had to move to Roysambu from Githurai because of such kind of behavior that I feared could corrode the growth of my young children,” says Veronica Waweru, a Nairobi resident.

In addition to the disturbances, there is a growing concern about participants engaging in random sexual activities, putting themselves at risk of contracting HIV and facing the possibility of unwanted pregnancies. This issue appears to be widespread across many estates in Nairobi County.

Cheap liquor stores, commonly known as wines and spirits shops, have been identified as contributing to the worsening situation.

While enthusiasts have the legal right to drink, there is a call for responsible celebrations that do not disrupt the peace in shared living environments.

As the festive season continues, it remains to be seen how local authorities and communities will address and manage these unconventional Christmas celebrations.