Kanjo toilets were filthy, but ‘kukojoa hapa’ was free

A pay public toilet in Nairobi. Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri

That banks and supermarkets don’t have toilets for wateja was not a pressing issue back in the day when Nairobi was cleaned at night.

See, the then City Council of Nairobi had public toilets galore in every estate, the city centre including slums. The Kanjo cleaner often arrived in the morning and cleaned the previous day’s crap as the toilets also had a public water point where water was sold for Sh5 for a 20 litre mtungi.

The only grouse with Kanjo toilets was that ambitious residents long removed the doors and doing a long drop meant being exposed hadharani in any of the dozen raw of room. Then there were those who did their thing kwa corridor making hop, skip and jump a hazard of Kanjo toilets which were grabbed in the late 1990s and replaced with exhibition stalls.

Today you have to pay in Nairobi when the call of nature summons an answer.