Magazine article New African

Mzungu at Any Cost: Economic Hardships Have Sent Some Kenyan Women to Go A-Hunting-For Any White Man at Any Cost. He Is the Ticket, They Say, to Eternal Bliss. How Sad! (around Africa: Kenya)

Magazine article New African

Mzungu at Any Cost: Economic Hardships Have Sent Some Kenyan Women to Go A-Hunting-For Any White Man at Any Cost. He Is the Ticket, They Say, to Eternal Bliss. How Sad! (around Africa: Kenya)

Article excerpt

Interracial daring is never uncomplicated, but in Kenya the topic has lately become even more controversial. Recently, a Swedish man put an advert in one of the local papers with the sole intention of finding a Kikuyu bride. Apparently the mans former wife, now dead, was a Kikuyu.

The advert said the Swede would conduct interviews at a local hotel. The turnout was incredible--it took about two weeks for all the women, some of whom were married, to be heard. Fights even broke out in the long queue, especially when husbands tried to keep their wives from meeting with the rich white man. The white male tourist has become a highly prized commodity among young Kenyan women keen on running away from poverty at home. But the hunt for white love is proving not only an agonising affair for Kenyan men but also bruising to a number of women.

Locked in a mad chase to marry any white man, especially tourists from Europe, the women go to ridiculous ends to meet their objective. At the end of the chase, many find themselves still husbandless, but now pregnant or infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Still, the women hang on to their elusive goal. Many say that friends who have married white men have done so well that any action is justified in seeking the outcome.

"Look at Njoki," they say, "formerly a Nairobi-based commercial sex worker. Now she is married and living abroad. When she returns home, she rides in a hired car. She has built her parents a magnificent bungalow too, no mean achievement for a primary school dropout who just three years ago lived in a one-room hovel on the outskirts of Nairobi. Who wouldn't want to join that bandwagon?"

Motivated more by economic factors than by passion, the hunt is intensified around popular nightspots and tour resort clubs--wherever the white tourist gathers. The prey is coaxed, charmed and even hassled into an affair. Many of the men say they don't mind.

With the kind of poverty now afflicting Kenyans, it is nor surprising the local women will go to extremes to escape their current plight. The quest for a better life or a relationship with a mzungu--Swahili for white man--remains one of the few options the local women can see, even if the chances of permanent happiness are nearly as slim as winning the lottery. …

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