My Reflections On Nakuru, The City Of Love

By Joan J. W. Gathungu (PhD, CHE)

City branding has gone big globally! Each city hopes and plans to be identifiable and to elicit a distinct identity. Kenyan cities have not been left behind.

Nakuru has made a fresh, big, bold and fantastic move towards becoming a renowned brand. This elicits the memories of Paris, New York and closer home Cape Town. Nakuru’s efforts propel it to stand higher than sister cities in Kenya, with more established names and heritage.

Welcome to Nakuru, the city of love! City of love? Why such a bold tagline for an upcoming city? Actually, a town that sees itself as a city? But then, pause, think again and any Kenyan realizes the strategic importance and place of Nakuru in the nation.

Nakuru is the melting point of cultures. It is in Nakuru that some of Kenya’s most poignant political decisions and announcements have been made. It is in Nakuru where the East meets the West of Kenya. It is Nakuru County that feeds the world with flowers that go a long way to build love. Why then wouldn’t Nakuru be the city of love?

“What love?” We ask a participant during the 2019 Kenya Utalii College Refresher courses training at Nakuru. The love Nakuru believes in is both agape and romantic. How about with the Lord Egerton Castle? The two prayer centre retreats – Subukia and Mountain? The cosmopolitan communities in perfect co-existence? The park is a true haven for wildlife, some endangered globally. Nakuru’s history in the evolution of man? And yes, the latest recognition, Hyrax Museum, set to be unveiled as a global icon this week!

This week, sitting in the Nakuru Tourism Association monthly meeting made me wish a few things: that the same zeal and belief in the stakeholders could spread to other cities in Kenya, that the national government and the national branding associations would support these bold efforts more, that professionals in tourism and branding, like myself would give more towards these efforts, and that Kenyans would get to celebrate our endowments more!

Nakuru, young city with massive dreams. Yet some challenges must be surmounted to get there: the congestion, the valuable yet disorderly boda bodas and the transformation from a sleepy town into a global modern city.

Nakuru, oh my city of love. “All dreams are valid,” said Kenya’s famous daughter. The current efforts to transform the city, the much planned for city tours, the global status of the Hyrax museum, the branding efforts and most of all the joint efforts of the association shall place Nakuru on the global map of vibrant cities. Hope abounds, and Nakuru the city of love is born!

The writer is a Lecturer, Kenya Utalii College

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