Those quaint hotels established by wabeberu still hang on to a glorious colonial past when gun slinging settlers called the shots. This is evidenced by the rusty relics, treasured trinkets and fading photos they still keep in their hallowed halls.
Izaak Walton in Embu displays grayscale photos of the first wazungu to interact with the ‘natives’. The Norfolk has the rickshaw which was the equivalent of nganya in the streets on Nairobi in the 1920s.Midland Hotel in Nakuru has a sturdy John Deere tractor that Delamare used to plough almost the entire Rift Valley in the nascent days of settler farming in Kenya.
For the uninitiated, Delamare was a go getter settler farmer who founded the dairy industry in Kenya. He tried many other things and failed miserably, one of them being ostrich farming. He is also credited with starting the first kisiagi in this Jamhuri.
Delamare was an eminent member of the Happy Valley set-a clique of well-off British colonials whose pleasure-seeking habits eventually took the form of drug-taking and wife-swapping. Which left several of them with serious kaswende infections which eventually spread to the Africans.
Anyway, some random weekend back in the 1920s’, the Lord Delamare checked into The Midland Hotel with his mpango wa kando after selling his wheat harvest and consigning it to Mombasa via the Lunatic Express.
Later, his wife checked into the same hotel, wrapped in the arms of a much younger dreamy eyed settler. The two men, finding themselves in a dilemma, decided to enjoy their illicit pleasures first then handle the rest later.
The following morning, the corridors of the hotel exploded with the boom booms of Smith and Wesson pistols as the two settlers sized each other up. The embarrassing matter was later hushed up, but still the mushene made rounds in the colonial social circles.
This scandal would have been splashed on the front cover of The Nairobian of that weekend. However, it didn’t since the paper hadn’t been conceived then. But it was reported by the East African Standard which was in circulation then.