Nairobi Cool Guide to hosting a perfect Christmas party

meat balls
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“Everyone at a party is uncomfortable. Knowing that makes me comfortable.”

          Gary Shandling

              -American Comedian

In all my life in Nairobi, I have only been to one party that was decent enough to qualify the consideration of what constitutes a good party.  The food was eclectic. The atmosphere, electric. The drinks were flowing unbounded like a river. People were happy. But a woman deflated my ego by dropping the “I don’t like small talk” line.

The few parties I have attended rarely meet my expectations.

The good food, almost always runs out before half the guests have arrived, leaving some terrible rice and potato stew. By the time you get there, minutes after 11, you find only third-rate whisky that stings your tongue like no an electric current. The music is invariably terrible.

Even worse there are misanthropes who attend party, so anti-social, you wonder why they bothered step out of their houses. You know the folks with an overblown sense of importance by virtue of their career or station in life.

People to avoid in parties include: journalists (writers are cool), politicians and anyone who works in the NGO world (the bigger the NGO or the agency, the cockier they are likely to be.)

I know everyone at a party is anxious about something; a kiss, a quickie, food poisoning, their partner being snatched, the toilet being too close to the sitting room or out of water, or both. Or getting late to work the following day…You know.

Anyway, in the event you want to throw a party, here are the simple rules.

1. Switch off the WIFI. Let people talk. Mingle. Jostle.

2. Have an oversupply of meaty products. No running out of the barbeque, or the beef stew (with enough meat inside), or some roasted drumsticks or meatballs. They should be fresh from the butcher’s knife and well prepared.

meat balls

For meat balls, go for the hottest sauce available

3. The salad too should be garden fresh. Get the right dressing of the food. Ladies love it. You want the women happy, don’t you

4. Ice cubes. Ice cubes. Buy a sack or two. If you are expecting 30 guests, have enough ice cubes as if you are expecting 180 guests. For three days.

5. Nothing spoils a good party like running out of drinks and it is 10.17 p.m. and everyone is on the way. Get some decent drinks. Also, BYOB was college BS, if you can’t afford drinks, don’t throw a party.

6. Enough lemon.

7. Don’t invite friends with smelly feet. Telling an adult that their feet stinks is not an easy thing. Yet smelly feet can is a mood killer.

8. Don’t invite creeps. Creeps are mostly short men, who have a phone that was last in fashion in July 2006, have afro-hair, and they always come with bad intentions. No sooner they arrive than you see them being slapped by a woman for touching her indecently. They dance with women like they want to sleep with them on the dance- floor, and they skipped all classes of human decorum. Don’t invite them.

9. Don’t invite rapists and pedophiles. A party should be a safe place. Spending two hours solving a case where some man wanted to force his way against the woman’s will at night is not the best way to spend in a 5-hour party. Vet your guests well.


Tell all your female friends to drop their shisha smoking pronto. It is unhealthy and uncool. Photo: Courtesy. 

 10. No shisha. I assume by now you have dissociated with women who smoke shisha. It is shady, bad for their health, bad for their personality, period.

11. Don’t invite phone thieves.

12. The playlist should be fairly popular. A mix of mainstream hip-hop, soul, danceable R&B, mainstream neo-soul (Think of Raphael Saadiq or Angie Stone when they add some pace to their music). Throw in a couple of old schools Bongo, Genge and some Ugandan music. Some tolerable reggae. No ragga. One or two Nigerian song. Some Rumba. The idea is to have music that is tolerable and agreeable. There are some animals with extreme music tastes that can’t be satisfied in a crowd. See 13.

13. Kick hard any creep who interferes with playlist to play rock. Throw into fire anyone who wants to play house. If someone wants to play underground hip-hop, call the police.

14. Don’t invite people who will start arguments on religion, conservation, capitalism, gender, Feminism or racial debates. Or any politics.  It is a party, not an aid-seeking forum.

15. The toilet must be clean, fully supplied with all the tissue paper in the world, and water must run, 24/7. It helps if the someone can regularly clean and freshen it up. 7 out of 10 adults don’t know how to use a toilet. Men especially can be messy. And women too.

16.Definitely people will be boring, mostly they are. So make sure there enough sockets and android chargers in full supply. At some point the guys with no seduction charm will be forced to browse Mirror Sports and their Twitter feeds when people get busy in the car park, the extra bedroom, the balcony or in the roof.

17. If people must smoke weed, find them a place where they will not disturb the whole neighbourhood. You don’t want people looking at you suspiciously in your hood as an adult hooked on drugs.

18. Provide transport to the people who will be stuck, when people start leaving, more so if the party is in one of those neighbourhoods not served by public transport. Have a cab on standby to drop people where they can get home conveniently.

19. The music doesn’t have to be too loud to be distracting. Keep it reasonably low.

20. Blacklist anyone who gets drunk and behaves badly, throws up or sleeps when the party is underway, have them sleep outside, near the stagnant water so that mosquitoes can feast on him.

21. Have a big room, where guests can sit, stand or dance. Don’t hold a part in a tiny apartment where people have to sit on armrests, wrestling with a goat rib.

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