Nairobi Half Life

Synopsis: A young, aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming a success in the big city. In pursuit of this and to the chagrin of his brother and parents, he makes his way to Nairobi:the city of opportunity.
Genre: Drama
Production: One Fine Day Films
  7 wins & 2 nominations.
96 min

Bill knows he's about to die

and there's nothing he can do,

because he's the one who taught her

the five-step technique.

He then wipes off his blood.

He takes his five steps.

That's how he died.

Stop fooling around and give me a movie.

This is a very good one,

give me 50.

It better not be scratched!

Why can't you find a worthwhile job?

- So I can be as busy as you guys?

You go on making 50 bob

while we live like fat cats.

At least I'm passionate about what I do.

We love the big bucks.

The Vultures will be performing

at Gathanji Square!

That's where I'll make my big bucks.

People, people!

Even a child knows

that he who smells it first, did it.

Know that the new constitution has

empowered us and we will take action.

You do understand that what's mine,

is yours, and what's yours, is mine.

How can I loot that which is mine?

- People, people!

A fool doesn't know

the extent of his foolishness.

You're right! What's yours, is ours.

But what is ours, is not yours.

People, people!

Let's go!


- Excuse me!

We'll be right back after this break.

Dude, who's that?

This one?

He's the King of Sparta who killed

thousands of people with his bare hands.

Mwas, show him!

- What's that?

You want a demonstration?

This is the story of a Spartan boy.

Just like you.

Are you done?

People, people!

Let me tell you... - What were you

saying? Smell on his behalf or smell him?

I tried to remember it. Nothing!

I tried to get a rhythm.

Blundering is your expertise.

- Excuse me,

I'd like to join the Vultures.

"I'd like to join... "

- Let me talk to this guy.

How can I become an actor?

- You're good.


- But you live in a village.

I could come to Nairobi.

And then what?

- Can you help me?

Well maybe.


But you'll need an agent.

An agent?

How do I find an agent?

You're looking at one.

- Really?

Can you help me?

- Well,

of course I can. It'll cost you 5,000.

Don't worry, my friend, don't worry.

No need to get worked up.

I understand. You're nothing but

a suffering artist

trying to make it big. - Big, yes!

So give me 1,000 and I'll hook you up.


It's all I have.

- Bring the rest to the National Theatre.

No problem.

- When you get there, ask for Jose.

I'm always there. Cool?

Got it, my man.

- OK.

What, Mwas? 500?

Give you 500 of my own money?

Stop treating me like an idiot.

What do you take me for?

Don't you think I know what I'm doing?

You don't! You have no idea!

You think one day you'll be a star

like Bruce Willis! Who are you kidding?

Go to hell.

No wonder you're always broke.

Let's drink and be merry

for a child is born.

Now, Mwas, seriously,

look at your dad. He drinks like a fish.

Do you want to leave me alone with him?

You want me to feel guilty?

- History will always be a lie.

Look at the leaders of tomorrow!

Look at the leaders of tomorrow!

What bullshit!

Why have you come

to my home without my permission?

Are these the bars

you put up to keep me out?

You have decided I can't think?

Aren't you ashamed of yourselves?

Why are you always in other folks' homes?

Don't you have husbands to cook for?

Is this alcohol or a curse?

- What are you asking?

Is it your booze

or did you buy some and I poured it?

I'd better go.


Mwas! I'm talking to you. Come here!

Stop staring at me

like those movies you sell.

What is it?

I'm going to Nairobi.


That's fine, but know this:

be wary of alcohol

and women.

Nairobi has the worst people.

You see, the better you become,

the harder they try to stop you.

In Nairobi you can't be good and make it.

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Billy Kahora

Billy Kahora is a Kenyan writer and editor based in Nairobi. He was commended by the 2007 Caine Prize judges for his story Treadmill Love. His stories Urban Zoning and Gorilla’s Apprentice were shortlisted for the prize in 2012 and 2014, respectively. He has written the non-fiction novella The True Story of David Munyakei the screenplay for Soul Boy and co-wrote Nairobi Half Life. As Managing Editor of Kwani Trust, Kahora has edited seven issues of the Kwani? journal. He is a contributing editor to the Chimurenga Chronic. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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