69-year-old Athusi bar: Where Kamba revellers are initiated into Nairobi

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 17 Sep, 2021 12:17 | 2 mins read
A local pub in Kenya. The photo has been used for illustrative purpose. PHOTO/JAMES MACHARIA

Tucked in an old building along Ukwala road in Nairobi’s downtown is a club that though old-fashioned and decades old, still holds some significance to some Kenyans.

Athusi bar and restaurant has been around since 1950s and it is here drinkers from Kamba community get introduced into the capital city.

The bar near OTC has over the decades become the unofficial headquarters of partakers from the lower Eastern region.

The pub’s manager Wistone Munyao says there is an unwritten rule that every Kamba who partakes liquor must at least once imbibe at Athusi when they move to Nairobi.

“There is a feeling of inadequacy if a Kamba drinker is staying in Nairobi but has not been to Athusi. Even music bands must perform here at least once. It is kind of a headquarter that connects us and we talk political, cultural and social issues freely” Munyao says.

Athusi was established in 1952 and up-to-date the management has kept the old design and interior purposely to let the partakers have the feeling of antiquity and that of their villages.

“It is the exclusive club in the city centre we connect with their roots. Have their music and food” says Samuel Mutua, a reveller.

Back in the days late Taveta MP Norman Nthenge Lukindo and late Kilome MP Tony Ndilinge took their favourite drinks here.

A number of Kamba music bands like Kimangu Boys Band, Mukuyuni Stars Band, Katitu Boys Band, Yatta Boys Band, Kyaume Boys among others were born in Athusi.

“In CBD and downtown, this is the pub we feel more at home. Where we can meet and speak in our language without offending others. We keep introducing our fellow drinkers here when they move to Nairobi” Simon Ngila, a drinker reveals.

The name Athusi means warriors who set out in search of livelihood. This according to Munyao resonates with their customers who are in Nairobi to earn a living.

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