Cities are made up of complex collisions of people and place, geography and history, of the new and the old. They are built on a mixture of materials and myths, magnetic with promise. Here we pause for a moment to celebrate five of our favourite African cities. (Nairobi is featured twice, because Alumni had so much to say about it – bonus points.)
“Nairobi is a place where one can simply fit in. The people are friendly and helpful, and you feel like you’re home away from home. The lifestyle is a perfect fusion of tradition and modernity; it not only embodies the glitz and the glamour but finds a way to maintain that Nairobi feeling. The food is amazing and the culture too. I also love that the city has a huge national park not far from the CBD.” – Bhekumuzi Dean Bhebhe, Zimbabwe & University of the Witwatersrand, 2018.
“Maputo, Mozambique – it has a colonial past but it’s found its identity and is becoming cosmopolitan.”- Antonio Macheve Jnr, Mozambique & University of Cape Town, 2013
“Kigali, Rwanda. On Umaganda day (every last Saturday of the month), ordinary Rwandans of all levels from CEO to cleaner get together to help their local communities. It’s the cleanest place I’ve ever been. Long before the world thought about plastic bags, Rwanda had already banned all plastic bags completely. The coffee shops are also epic – Question Coffee is an all-female coffee cooperative to visit.” – Natasha Ashley, South Africa & University of Pretoria, 2016
“Kampala, Uganda outshines all cities in Africa. It is safe 24/7, the cost of living is low, and the people are incredibly hospitable.” – Sidney Muhangi, Uganda & Monash University, 2016
“Mbabane, eSwatini. I love that people across economic class have access to the city. This is because of access to low-cost ‘Swazi Nation’ land which is at times in close proximity to the city.” – Gcinisizwe Dlamini, Swaziland & University of Cape Town, 2018
6. Nairobi (again)
“I love Nairobi for four reasons: Firstly, the people – we are nice! Secondly, the arts and culture scene is happening – our concert promoters are on steroids. Thirdly, the nightlife! The only other place which can compare is Kampala. Finally, there is a saying ‘Nairobi ni ya mahustler’ – we grind hard to make money!” – Wanjiku Kimani, Kenya & Stellenbosch University, 2016