Kenyans being Kenyans at Kigali’s Sundowner

Food & Drinks

Kenyans being Kenyans at Kigali’s Sundowner


The Biryogo car free zone, a popular entertainment spot in Kigali. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG

What is the point of hanging out where Kenyans hang out when you are out of Kenya? That’s what I recently posed to a Rwandese acquaintance in Kigali when he suggested that we go to Sundowner Bar for drinks. “But that’s where all Kenyans go!”

I see Kenyans all the time back at home, why would I want to see Kenyans again!? “I don’t want to go where all Kenyans go.” I told him, “In fact, I want to go where there are no Kenyans! Take me where there are lots of Rwandese. Preferably the famed beautiful ones.” He was a bit amused and puzzled. “They have nyama choma and they play rhumba.” So we agreed that we’d go for some choma and then move to a place without Kenyans.

Sundowner is on a street called KG 625 street. [The ‘K’ doesn’t stand for Kenyans]. It reminded me a bit of the former Pizza Garden; a hybrid local. Open spaces, garden, simple seats. It was full of people who resembled Kenyans.

Kenyans have a look- we like toothpicks dangling from our mouths. Most people drank beers and platters upon platters of nyama choma came steaming from the open kitchen. The music was rhumba and the crowd was very mature.

The manager – a helpful, alert [Rwandese] man with an accent-laced Swahili – showed us to a table and assigned us a waiter. They were very busy, waiters ran up and down, balancing meat and drinks. They have interesting accompaniments like cassava or banana and of course ugali, because…well, Kenyans.

I saw people I could easily have read about in the Bogi Benda cartoon strip of the 80s; men who made good use of their seats by filling them, and chugging beers. The night was cool, then it got cold. After my meal, I said, “Ok, enough of Kenyans, now take me to the Rwandese,” and we left for a club I will write about in a few weeks.

If you are in Rwanda and you want a good “Kenyan meal”, I guess this is for you. I can’t stand seeing people who look, speak and behave like me outside the country. I want to be surprised by accents, tastes, sights, and smells.

→ [email protected]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *