By Didier S.S. Madzayo
Mombasa is arguably Kenya’s oldest city with a history that stretches back 2000 years. Mombasa is a mystical mixture of ancient and the modern world with a cosmopolitan population blending Africa, Europe, Arabia an Asia.
Fringing the old harbor is the old town maze of narrow streets and pedestrian lanes lined with a quiet sheltered houses and open-fronted shops with extravagant doors. The smell of spices is ever present dominating the entrance of the old harbor, and over looking the old town is the fort Jesus built by the Portuguese in the 16th century as a defense port. A museum in the fort displays antics from the length of the Kenyan coast is always open to visitors.
Mombasa has a stretch of uninterrupted white sands lapped by an opal ocean. The Mombasa marine offers first rate snorkeling opportunities to view the marine life and different species. Mombasa is quite a unique and deceptive easy to get in hard to come out. It has the Arabic, English, African and Asian culture mixture, very deceptive indeed.
The city of Mombasa has developed quite a reputation and allure of its kind. The hospitality of the people, men and women, alike has made the city one of the most welcoming and comfortable cities to live in. The coastal culture with high connotations of Arabic, Islamic and African cultures is touted to be a reason for the amiable nature of the people.
The women folk are said to be so amiable such that men folk from upcountry and foreign countries can escape the snare of these women kingly treatment the give to the men. The coastal women polite talking, unparalleled culinary prowess and elegant mannerism and total submission to their men is a all what many a man would be looking for. It’s rumoured that many a man have arrived into this city, met one of these women and the rest is history.
The men on the other hand are known for their sweet tongues. The men mastery of the Kiswahili language, whose constitution of many polite words, has endeared to many a woman from upcountry (where many dialects lack polite words such as; please, sorry, pardon me, etc). The polite demeanor of the language and the respectful men of this region has been endearing factor to the women from upcountry.
The weather of Mombasa and the general location on the Indian Ocean coastline, has made Mombasa a holiday town for locals, upcountry and foreign visitors.
The cacophonic kaleidoscope blend of elegant women, polite men, sun, sand, sea and luxury demeanor of the city and its environs has made Mombasa develop the mystical allure usually referred to as ‘Mombasa yapapasa” that is Mombasa caresses’ which is normally summarized as ‘Mombasa raha’ – joyous Mombasa.
It was once said about Mombasa that ‘kuingia harusi, kutoka matanga’, which loosely translates to getting in to Mombasa is like a wedding (joy, pomp and celebration) but getting out is like funeral (sadness, sorrow and reminiscence).
Mombasa raha, hakuna matata- karibu Mombasa