This wonderful piece of a feature story was originally written by Mombasa based Journalist, Alphonce Oladipoh for http://www.breakingnewskenya.com, an online news portal for Kenyans abroad.
As we head to the Easter hols, Mombasa411 feels it is opportune for us to highlight the dangers of flirting and entertaing that conniving beach boys at Mombasa’s beaches.
This is real.
There is no debate that Kenya’s coastline boasts of some of the finest beaches in the world.
From Lunga Lunga in the south, Funzi Island, Mombasa, Kilifi all the way to Kiunga in the Lamu archipelago, hundreds of kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches richly adorn the Kenyan coast, like an accessory on a woman.
Yet in these very beaches thousands of young Kenyans are now exposing themselves to early pregnancies, HIV/Aids and STIs, all in a span of three merry filled weeks.
Breaking News Kenya learnt of this disturbing fact and decided to investigate and find out just how deep this rot has run in Kenya’s version of Brazil’s Copa Cabana beach.
Our first stop was the Jomo Kenyatta public beach, 6 miles from the Mombasa city centre northwards on the Mombasa – Malindi highway, where we found the beach packed to capacity, teeming with people as young as 8 months on their mothers’ straps, to randy teens, to men and women over 70 years of age.
In between there was a healthy mixture of tourists, beach boys and traders hawking different wares from beverages to floaters made out of used tyre tubes.
Yussuf Katana*, is a beach boy at the public beach. He scours the coastline looking for opportunities to hook himself a female mzungu (white female tourist).
On ordinary days, he would date no other lady except a white tourist. But Christmas and New Year festivities means that these are NO ordinary days.
“Juzi nilikuwa na msichana wa Kikikuyu pale kwenye kile kichaka. (Two days ago I had sex with a Kikuyu girl in the bush),” Katana tells me, pointing to a small bush on a mouth of a seasonal river, just next to a popular beach bar called Surfside, “Alikuwa kitu! Nilimpa mbili za haraka. (She was a beauty! I did her twice.)”
How did he meet the girl?
Katana tells me the lady was lost and did not have accommodation as her friends with whom she came with from Nairobi had vanished. She wanted help and directions and above all company. Katana was ready to offer all these.
The next words that Katana uttered, sent shivers up my spine.
“Hatukutumia mpira. Tungeutoa wapi, brazza!? (We did not use a condom. Where could we get one in those conditions, brother!?”)
This is shocking. That two teens meet from two completely different lifestyles, hook up and have sex on the beach with no protection, with no care in the world as to the implications of that act…and with very minimal chances of ever meeting again.
The beach boy tells me that Angie* (the girl), is not his first local conquest on the beach. He confides that just a day prior to his act with Angie, he had sex with another 17 year old student at a local high school. This time they did the act in the ocean.
“Nilikuwa namfundisha kuogelea, yeye na wenzake watatu kutoka Kiembeni.” (I was teaching her swimming in the company of her three colleagues from Kiembeni, a suburb of Mombasa), Katana tells me.
This is one of the cunning ways that sexual predators lure their prey on Kenya’s public beaches. The promise of a free swimming lesson is too sweet to miss, making hundred of girls fall into a trap where getting out of is next to impossible.
After identifying the girl he wants, Katana tells me, he takes her deeper into the ocean, rendering the girl at his mercy as she now becomes fully dependent on him for her survival as she can’t swim.
This is when he asks for the sexual favour and the girl complies, not out of love and attraction, but fear of the consequences of rejection.
Katana is not alone in these morbid sexual escapades. He told me just like Tsavo lions are forced to survive on rats and hedgehogs when the pickings are lean, so are the beach boys, forced to prey on local desperate girls while awaiting for that elusive tourist.
Jacob ‘Man-Mani’ is another beach boy. He has been on the beach for 3 months now, but already his list of ‘conquests’ is impressive, as he tells me.
“I have slept with about 13 girls, with 7 of them right here on these sands,” Man-Mani tells me. “Wawili walikuwa vajos” (two were virgins).
When I asked him to tell me whether he is aware of his HIV/Aids status, he looked forlorn, then said: “Nilipimwa some months back. Niko sawa. (we were tested some months back. I am alright).”
I wanted to know exactly when they were tested and who tested them. I met a hostile stare and I knew my time was up at the beach.
As I walked on the Jomo Kenyatta Public beach early Sunday the 26th December, I marvelled at the sheer number of used condoms, littering those secluded corners and some hung up high on the high tide water mark.
A further scan revealed panties, lost and found shorts, empty wallets, empty bottles of cheap and expensive whisky and a number of assorted items whose owners are unknown.
As the government and donors sink millions of Kenya shillings in the fight against HIV/Aids, maybe the focus ought to be shifted to these innocent sandy beaches during the holidays.
Sure enough in the streets of Mombasa, Nairobi and Malindi you will find billboards warning of the HIV/Aids scourge…but sadly in these beaches not even a single poster offered that last minute crucial warning to this merry makers.
Not even a National Aids Control Council Kiosk is present. Its like even the HIV/Aids campaign has gone on a brief holiday…for a fully charged comeback in January, when it will be too late for thousands of girls, boys, men and women.