#JacarandaPropaganda: Fifty shades of purple across Kenya
By Kwame Akinyi
Every year different Kenyan cities get to experience the beauty that comes with the blooming of Jacaranda trees and from as early as September, Kenyans are able to enjoy the purple haze that dot their cities.
I too decided to join the party this year.
Though to be honest my ticket to the party was in the form of an assignment.
This past weekend I was on a mission to spot jacaranda trees around Kisumu city and take pictures of them for our #jacarandapropaganda project. In Kenya, the trend was started around 4 years ago by @Nanjala1 (Nanjala Nyabola) on twitter.
Initially it first felt like just another field work under the hot sun but the more I continued spotting the trees boasting of their pretty purple flowers the more intrigued I became and ditched the whole ‘this is just another field work’ mentality.
Before I left home, I had a few ideas on where to spot them, Milimani estate being one of them of course. Though to be certain I had to confirm with Google though the information was scanty. Luckily I managed to find a tour guide, a friend of mine who is well versed with the area more than I am. In my defense I haven’t been around that area since 2017, I digress.
We selected Milimani estate as our main focus area because that’s the one location we were sure we would see the blooming jacaranda trees.
After a few trips around the estate, we were able to spot a few trees along Nehru road, Busia road and Got Huma road. With some growing in clusters and others alone yet proudly wearing their purple crowns.
We later went to Jamhuri Victoria park located Off Achieng Oneko - Ridoch Road, which I think should be renamed to purple haze park or something in that line given how the Jacaranda trees hug the park with their bell-shaped leaves swaying above majestically to the rhythm of the wind.
The trees have also dominated inside the park setting a great picnic scene decorated by its purple carpet from the fallen leaves. An added advantage is that the park is quite peaceful especially with everyone relaxing as vendors sell their goods.
Shifting over to the Great Rift Valley, Nakuru, jacaranda trees are perfectly lined along old Nairobi road and Solai road forming purple umbrellas decorating the roads. While driving through the town, one can also spot the trees in people’s compounds, churches, schools like shiners girls high school as well as next to restaurants, petrol stations along the Nakuru-Nairobi road.
Over to the capital city, Nairobi, her residents have been able to enjoy the purple rain as early as September. In areas such as Karen, Kilimani, Tom Mbeya street, Upperhill, Kenyatta avenue, Railway museum, Jevanjee Gardens, Koinange street- just to mention a few, Nairobians are being treated to breathtaking sceneries. On social media, they are not shy when it comes to sharing photos of these trees, in their full glory and bloom.
On the Nothern region of Kenya, Marsabit to be specific, the jacaranda trees in that area also gracefully take part in #jacarandapropaganda. The trees form a line venturing deep into Marsabit forest.
And on the Eastern region, residents of Wamunyu town in Machakos County also get to bask in the glory of Jacaranda trees every October.