Kenyan authorities have closed a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi after social media informed us that the place doesn’t allow African patrons to eat there after 5PM. I guess this means that a black person who finds himself still eating at 4:45PM would really have to rush through their sweet and sour pork to beat the impending curfew. My guess is that at 5PM exactly, Jet Li emerges from under the rotating table next to you, levitates to where you are and gestures towards the door. That’s your cue to pay the bill and make a hasty retreat without turning your back to him. If you don’t comply, you get to know what it’s like to be one of the extras in Shaolin temple – you get a beating while the people watching get entertained.
When questioned, the restaurant owner is quoted to have said that they don’t admit Africans they don’t know because they can’t tell who is Al-Shabaab and who isn’t. You cannot argue with that since as any learned owner of an establishment worth talking about will tell you, you cannot trust people walking around with all that melanin in their skins – that stuff can explode at any moment. Your patrons need to enjoy your exquisite stir-fried beef and black bean sauce without being scared for their lives.
Sadly, we’ve heard of blacks being treated different here too. Stories abound of bars (the story usually stars one bar or another along Acacia avenue) that have on a number of occasions made their rounds on the internets for mistreating a Kato, Mbabazi or Okot because they are black. One bar reportedly had (has?) a policy that required black people to pay to enter (while the rest don’t). The motivation for such an interesting policy could be anything; maybe we’ll enter the bar and our dance moves will break furniture so the entrance fee is really us paying for broken furniture upfront. Maybe we’ll be cheapskates and drink one bottle of water all night so they need to make sure the bar bill is paid somehow. Maybe we’ll get too excited at the music playing and become such a nuisance, the other patrons will need therapy. Maybe we are incapable of holding a beer and a conversation; when the beer inevitably pours to the ground, someone will need to clean it up. Maybe we’ll want to pay for our beer with cowrie shells.
Maybe we need the army to look into this too; why do cases of racial discrimination keep dropping bombs on us?
Is racism something we see often enough to worry about here in Uganda? What are your thoughts? Do share in the comments