no blacks, thank you very much

No. This isn’t another piece on Dick, sorry Nick Griffin (though I do love the man on Question Time who made that little joke, to the irritation of the unbearable Dimbleby.) This is a post about Kenya, a country in Africa, where whites are still permitted to behave like Mr Griffin. Read on if you will . . .

kenya ring of roses

‘Relax on a tropical beach enjoying the glorious Kenya sunshine or experience the ‘Real Africa’ and combine your Kenya holiday with our range of 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 night safari options – it’s up to you!’

I love that: the Real Africa in inverted commas and block caps. And referring to, inevitably I suppose, the animals in the bush. That just about sums up the Real Africa. But another aspect of this holiday club is, I think, the real Real Africa. Try this statement for size:

‘Beginning next month, we shall open our doors to locals so that they can sample our tourist facilities. We shall offer [them] affordable rates for accommodation and meals.’

safari kenya

These are the words of Frank Neugebauer, Managing Director of the African Safari Club, the same club that offers punters like you or I (or perhaps only I, for I do not know the you, and in this case, the you does matter) a fabulous experience in Africaah. In what can only be described as a revolutionary act, he decided to change the Club’s policy, held for 40 years, which prohibited ‘locals’ (by which it is understood he means black Africans, or atleast black Kenyans) from enjoying the Club’s facilities (even if they had the money). This extraordinary step away from apartheid tourism (amazingly allowed by the Kenyan government!) was brought about by – wait for it! – the recession. Yes, the ‘the recent global economic crisis’ led to the closure of six of the African Safari Club’s hotels in 2008, which in turn has led to, well, I guess we might call it some kind of democracy. Or, well, equality (though clearly not equality of wealth).

Mr Neugbauer and his elite management team – who have been dealing with some pretty sticky staff lately (700 went on strike because they hadn’t been paid) – have some really interesting views about the Real Africa. In the Club brochure for 2009 to 2010, the Club blurb states that:

‘From the legendary wilderness of Tsavo and the majestic peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to the stunning Savannah of the Maasai Mara, the African Safari Club welcomes you to this glorious country… From the moment you arrive in Kenya, you will be struck by the warmth of the local people who are genuinely happy to receive guests from Britain, perhaps a leftover from bygone days.’

I was wondering whether the local people are, themselves, struck by the arrogance, ignorance and immense wealth of the guests from Britain, who are known for dropping in on Kenya to loot, kill and rape. But I’m just a bitter old bat. Those sweet Kenyans are probably just happy and sweet and love their guests. And their guests love themselves, I see.

My friend, writer and journalist, Rasna Warah, has written a good piece on all this.

Meanwhile, I’m going back to circling the pool, with gentle kicks to burn off the cocktails I had last night, the sundowners, and all that Big Five game meat I ate.


A pocket full of posies,

Hush! hush! hush! hush!

We’re all tumbled down.