Most Nairobians who call themselves middle class buy and read newspapers, drive cheap Japanese rusty buckets and are burdened by loans from shylocks, banks and relatives.
These class of Kenyans are also known to slave in corporate offices before drowning expensive whiskies once in six months. They are also vocal on Twitter, besides updating pictures of their weekend gateways in Naivasha on Facebook.
Now, let us separate low-class chaff from middle-class wheat with these 10 signs that will prove you are still not there:
1. Battalion of majirani
One sign you are doing well is how far majirani are from your house.
So, when you live in an apartment block where your next-door neighbours are 10 Nigerian dudes sharing a one-bedroom house and you don’t know what they do, then you aren’t in the middle class.
2. Estate academies
When you have an academy between two blocks of flats owned by Njeri and Kariuki and christened Njekari Academy, and the school bus is a Toyota Wish owned by Kariuki, then you are miles away from the proper middle class rung of the ladder of life.
These estates also have no swimming pools or playgrounds, and car owners have to hoot to scatter students from the dusty road leading to the estate’s string of pubs.
3. Nduthi is your Uber
When you live in an area a taxi driver can’t drive to when darkness falls or when it rains juu ya matope, then you are deep in the middle of poverty and not middle class.
But chances are you have the number of a nduthi guy who will always come to your rescue.
4. Mutura and kerosene
Proper middle-class dwellings have a shopping arcade, where all businesses operate. But if your hood has a place for mutura, thufu, mahindi choma, mtu wa makaa and a spot for where some guy is selling kerosene, then you are in the middle of hustlers.
5. Loud lungula
If you can hear Rasta wa door 12 drilling some hapless college girl mercilessly and even your walls can’t muffle her screams, my friend, you aren’t in the middle class, it’s Rasta boy who is in the middle of something!
6. Kids scratching jalopies
An estate where kids carry rusty nails, drawing patterns on your shiny Japanese car and write stuff like ‘wash me’ on your dusty screens means you live in a dusty hood and are surrounded by kids with poor upbringing.
7. No Pets Allowed
Middle-class hoods allow for all manner pets, including albino Burmese pythons! You can enjoy walking your dogs in the evening without being stoned by rascals.
But when the only ‘pet’ allowed in your estate is a college girl, whose rent you pay in Roysambu, then you aren’t in the middle class, my brother.
8. Pastor Kwa Dirisha
Middle class characters love their peace after splitting heads with Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve the previous day.
But if Sunday mornings are unbearable because The Bare Chest of Christ Ministry has a service right next to your bedroom window, then you are in the middle of a drummer, prayer warrior and a very loud tarumbeta player.
9. Off-licence local
Middle class parents know the effects of pubs in the hood, but if your local is metres away from your house, and ‘Mwari’, the barmaid occasionally comes knocking at your door over bill ya jana, my friend, you are in the middle of an alcohol problem.
10. Parking problem
In middle class proper, residents have designated parking slots. So, when you have to be woken up at 3am to reverse your jalopy so that jirani (see number 1 above) can drive out, then you most likely live in a block of flats and not an apartment, despite the landlord christening his place ‘Harmony Apartments.’