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Meet city’s most loyal bar patron

A city professor has for 25 years remained faithful not only to his glass of wine but also to one bar in Nairobi West.

Not even a bullet through his eye could stop good old Professor Joseph Nyasani from going to the West End Bar and Butchery in Nairobi West, a pub he has patronised every single day for the last 25 years.

Yet were it not for a decree by former President Daniel Moi banning any form of public gathering, the former broadcaster and professor of philosophy and his drinking pals would probably not have ended up at West End.

“We started off in Madaraka estate. In those days, we would sit in the car and have our drinks until former President Moi banned outdoor gatherings, forcing us to relocate to Nairobi West just across the road,” he reminisced.

Safe spot

The bar, owned by a Mr Gitonga, now deceased, fast became a safe haven for the professor and his drinking buddies, including fiery politician, detainee and one time presidential candidate George Moseti Anyona.

They would gather — and they still do to-date — every evening from 5pm to 10pm to engage in intellectual banter touching on anything and everything; politics, philosophy, science, name it.

At such gatherings, they would argue passionately, each expressing their various and diverse opinions, but they would never degenerate in quarrels or fights.

So why this bar? What is so special about it? “Because we saw it being built. We knew the owner. He was a passionate fan of horse-racing who never missed a single race. We would go with him to the horse races and that is why, even 20 years after his death, we still go to his bar,” said Nyasani.

His drinking buddies for all these years include Prof Oyugi of Kenyatta University, former KBC manager John Osoro, Prof Mureithi and Okello Oduor.

“We have established our own kind of ‘local’. We have our intellectual talk which may not interest ordinary people. We have a strange affinity for each other which excludes everyone else. Occasionally, we slaughter chickens and goats to celebrate our camaraderie,” he says.

They held their most recent goat-eating party sometime last year to celebrate their 25th year of patronage at the bar.

Unfortunately, these bonds created at the bar did not trickle down to their families as Nyasani would have wished, perhaps because their families are scattered around different parts of the world.

“Occasionally, my son passes by for a drink and we invite each other to our houses for parties but that’s it, our children do not know each other,” he said. “This group is made up of people from all tribes and we like exchanging ideas but most of all, we have helped each other grow financially,” he explained.

Together, they owned and run the Pacific Hotel in the City Centre from 1972 but sold the property in 2013.

“We are all old and we had this feeling that if any of the shareholders or all of us died today, our children and families would scramble for the wealth and it would create a big crisis,” he said.

Living his dreams

From his share of the proceeds, Prof. Nyasani decided to buy all the cars he had dreamt of in his youth, especially Mercedes Benz.

“I now have eight cars in total, six of them are Mercedes and I am very content with my life. What could an old man who has educated all his children and made them successful in life want at the age of 77 anyway?”

According to him, he has lived his life well and made it worthwhile.

Prof Nyasani said he does not celebrate birthdays and takes each day as it comes. “Save for the day I was taken to hospital after being shot in 1994, I have never sought medical treatment. I cannot even remember the last time I had a headache,” said Nyasani.

He advises young men to be lovers of development and not of the bottle. “I only drink three glasses of wine. Some of my friends only drink water. We all take them in moderation, unlike the current young men,” he said.