Goths of Kenya

Middle-class Kenyan teens are inventing a local version of goth subculture, and are at the center of a moral panic about kids-gone-wild -- according to an article in Think Africa Press. The article is shy on details or photographic evidence, but I hope its true about the subculture (and not about the moral panic). Anyone have more evidence of this?

The negative public image of the goth scene also extends beyond the general public and is apparent in the attitudes of local authorities, at times with dramatic consequences. David used to have long hair, another way to stand out in a country where men tend to wear it very short. A couple of weeks before I met him, he was walking in town at dusk, waiting for the bus back to Nakuru, when a police car pulled over in front of him. The police approached him and asked to see his passport, which he was not carrying, before they accused him of looking like ‘an al-Shabaab’ – a Somali militant Islamist group responsible for several terrorist attacks in the region.

David denied this, stating that he was a Kenyan. The police then challenged him as to why he had untidy hair and facial piercings, preposterously claiming that these are hallmarks of Somali terrorists. They put him in their car and drove him to a nearby barber where they forced him to shave his head. They said that this would "stop confusing them", and they told him to "dress like a decent person" in future.

When I first met David one of the first things I asked was whether he wore his preferred clothes all the time. I asked most of the goths this question and generally they admitted to travelling incognito, blending into the crowd. David, however, looked vaguely insulted at my question before replying, simply, “Me, I even wear this in Church”.

A Day in the Life of a Kenyan Goth [Rowan Emslie/Think Africa Press]

(via Christian Science Monitor)

Notable Replies

  1. I have much respect for these kids. No Hot-Topic nearby like the little shits of the past couple decades have relied on, for the most part. Back in my day we had to steal a white lab coat from chem-lab and walk uphill 5 miles in the snow to get black Rit dye, then get a massive ass-whupping from the folks for fucking up the washing machine.

  2. As a Texan goth, I completely understand how miserable it is to wear all black and heavy boots in hot weather. Heaven help you if you decide to wear eye liner.

  3. Okay because the article linked was incredibly sparse I was curious and did a little googling, if you don't mind hitting up a facebook page there is this which is based in Kenya (or at least tries to appear to be based out of Kenya) they list the domain which doesn't actually resolve at this time (or at least it doesn't for me). But the facebook page might help with more research into the Kenyan goth culture, they do have a shop in Nairobi as mentioned in the article 'The Goth Shop' but it's web presence is more about stuff than it is people. Always been fascinated with the African take on Punk/Metal/Goth subcultures, people who get into it always appear to have much more to lose and so their involvement comes across much more sincere.

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