Swahili in Kenya


Several people sitting in front of bowling lanes, inside a bright bowling alley

Much of the Kenyan economy is geared toward tourism, which accounts for the fine selection of restaurants and clubs. A typical night out for a young person in urban Kenya is to first visit one of the many small, intimate bars that serve dinner and feature live music. (Most of the finer bars and clubs serve food). These places are for meeting with friends for drinks, dinner and, if one likes, shooting pool. For dancing or listening to music later on, there is a fine array of nightclubs that feature live jazz, rock, hip-hop or African music. Many of the clubs feature dancing and are open until 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. The better and safer clubs tend to be on the outskirts of the city and are off main public transportation routes. Foreigners are generally encouraged to go out in groups and to be aware of the neighborhoods into which they are going.

Going to the movies is a popular pastime in the cities. Modern theatres, generally located near or in the malls, feature the latest films from Hollywood and Europe. Film audiences mainly consist of students and young working adults of middle and upper classes. Price of a ticket depends on where one sits. Snacks and soft drinks are for sale.

There are mobile cinemas for those in the country. Depending in which part of the country one lives, there is a possibility of watching a movie either once or twice a month. Most of the country does not have electricity. So those with generators, TV's and solar-heated facilities charge local town residents a fee to watch videos.

Movies from the United States and Western Europe as well as other parts of Africa are shown in English. Also, there are local movies using both English and Swahili. Movies are restricted by age. Movies that are overly sexual can be banned by the government. Additionally there are local comedies in Swahili on the national TV channel, the most popular being "Vitimbi." The comedy mimics the different accents that local people have when speaking Swahili and the infiltration of western culture among Kenyan people, among other topics.

Some resorts catering to tourists offer golf during the day, and at night, patrons can eat, drink, and gamble in the casinos. In spite of the fact that there is little money for the arts in Kenya, there are a few excellent theatre troupes and several dance troupes that perform traditional Kenyan African dance at various cultural centers located in the cities. Traditional dancing is held as an important Kenyan tradition, and there are many dance competitions between schools. For museum-goers, there are important historical museums in Nairobi and in other towns such as Mombasa. Games and sports, especially soccer and atheletic competitions, are also popular forms of entertainment.



  • Front of theatre ticket
    Front of a theater ticket
  • Back of theatre ticket
    Back of a theater ticket