Mathree: The Veins of the #254
Living in Nairobi is a trip. The hustle is real and if you’re planning the day ahead when you get up, then you’ve already lost. This city moves fast and that’s why everyone is always late. Some people, of course, haven’t seen the inside of matatu in years, or ever, but here’s a totally subjective compendium of Fantastic Matatus of Nairobi and Where to Find Them.
The Most Function Focused (ie Basic) Mats
The most functional matatus have to be mats going to the northern section. There’s nothing else except seats and sometimes a door. If you are lucky, the only-for-show shocks and the grating bearings will dovetail nicely with the misfire in the engine and you can freestyle RnB music in your mind as you bounce along to Wangige, Lower Kabete, and Limuru, because the radio is a space in the ‘dashboard’, so called because it is a plank of wood with a steering wheel sticking out of it.
The Most Bougie Mats*
If you didn’t know any better you’d think Buruburu was a holiday retreat for supermodels and rich young men. The menagerie of perfumes and colognes that graces your nose as you saunter into one of those meticulously appointed seats and the dedication to creature comforts is appreciable. Rumour has it that the 58 Sacco hired a style consultant from Virgin Airlines.
The passengers are decked out in the hippest of modern finery, phones, and tablets that have a combined value than the matatu’s illuminating the innards of the pleasure craft like a private Drake performance.
*This entry was sponsored by Nairobi Bazaar and the guys who sell dictionaries at Archives.
The most Extra mats
Living in Rongai is an exercise in extra. Being stuck in traffic is one thing, but when your trip home is a four-hour odyssey coloured by a mix of traffic noises and dust or mud, depending on the moods of the weather gods, then you probably deserve the effort these guys put into their people movers. Or Sworn Enemies of Order, depending on your car ownership status.
If the Buru 58s are the Mercedes of Nairobi’s garage, then Rongai has given us the stretch Hummer limo, complete with hot tub and jacuzzi. Rongai’s mats take those of us of a certain stripe back to the early days of mathree pimping, with insides that would be at home in any Lil’ Wayne video from 2000 and something… Think Lollipop.
You don’t have to take my word for it. The Rongai natives are so delighted by their ‘vehicles’ that homeboy Tunji rocketed himself to Hero status with the hit “Mats za Ronga ni Zi”. The public might agree, Kalligraph Jones certainly did, featuring on the remix.
Most ‘Be Ready’ Mats
Even before being bitten by a radioactive Chinaman, Thika Highway was a trip, not in a good way, either. But nowadays you have to be 💯 ready on that road. Exits flash by and you can find yourself two counties over if you spend too long on Facebook stalking that ex of yours who lives on Thika road after you passed their place. We ALL have an ex on there. And you know it, Scholastica. If you don’t, then you’re the ex. You have to know where you’re coming off and stay sharp, miss one stage and the next is kilometers away. There are matatus just for between the stages.
Ain’t nobody got time to start schlepping around in this heat on Thika road wondering what your life has become. Stay focused. And let him go, fam. His new girlfriend’s hair is NOT a weave, however hard you zoom in.
Most Awe-Inspiring Mats
Special shout out to the last 7 a-sides in the city.