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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Inside South Africa’s Town With Kenyan Names Like Kisumu, Nanyuki, Thika

  • Kenya and South Africa have, for the longest time enjoyed a cordial relationship, from the time before the latter attained independence to date. As such, South Africa has become the destination of choice for many Kenyans looking for greener pastures.

    From those searching for further education, to those looking for jobs, the country under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa is among the preferred countries of choice and has become a second home to many.

    South Africa  and Kenya share a lot in common, including their history, dating back to colonial times. However in Johannesburg, sits a commercial and residential town that is nostalgic to most Kenyans, Sunninghill.

    An aerial view of Sunninghill, Jo’burg, South Africa.
    Fourways view

    To Kenyans who live in Sunninghill, they have drawn parallels between the town to the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD). A majority of the streets, roads and lanes are named after major towns, features and even the most remote shopping centres  in Kenya.

    The longest roads are the Nanyuki, Naivasha, Tana, Kikuyu and Malindi Roads. Other roads include Nakuru, Kisumu, Tana, Tiati, Embu, Kitui, Tambach, Nyeri, Diani, Kapiti, Kilindini, Watamu and Thika Roads.

    Among the streets and lanes include Eldoret Street, Limuru Lane, Tudor Avenue, Baringo Street, Aruba Close, Kitale Close not forgetting the Nakuru Manor, Baringo and Turkana shopping centres.

    “There is a Malindi , Kitui ,Mirwani road which I suspect is Miwani, Turbo , Tambach road among others it’s comforting taking a walk on streets with these familiar names when you are far away from home,” wrote Faith Koli.

    Sunninghill has elicited excitement among Kenyans who have raised questions on how a town thousands of kilometres away from Kenya could feel so much like home. Other Kenyans coming up with theories to explain the ties between Nairobi and Johannesburg .

    They claimed that most early inhabitants of the town were white settlers who fled Kenya in the 60s and 70s after Kenya attained self independence from British rule.

    On the other hand, others attributed the ‘New Nairobi’ to the increased number of Kenyans who might have moved into the country in search of better opportunities, with some teasing that Kenyans are known for their business-oriented mentality.

    It is not uncommon for such an occurrence to be witnessed in some cities or towns across African countries. For instance, there is a Kenyatta Market off Kenyatta Street in Enugu Nigeria, named after Kenya’s founding father, the late Jomo Kenyatta.

    Back home in Nairobi, some of the streets, lanes and roads are named after prominent persons and places from Africa and across the globe. They include Kenneth Kaunda, Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkurumah, and Julius Nyerere

    An undated photo of Nairobi City's skyline.
    An aerial view of Nairobi City’s skyline dated October 2020.
    Eyeconic Media

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