Kenya Travel Loop: What you Probably got upto 20 years ago around June 9th 1997


In this new weekly series ‘Kenya Travel Loop‘, we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane, trying to relive randomly selected periods in past years in the country and the globe; looking at news headlines, pop charts, what was trending in film, music, fashion and lifestyle as well as the political, literary and religious scene.

You are welcome to relive your moments with us from that time frame in the comments section below. Also, suggest which timeframe we should look at next week.

This week, we’re looking at the week of: June 9th 1997 (20 years ago)

June 9th 1997 was a Monday.


If you switched on your TELEVISION set (Sony and Sharp had just introduced flat screens to the World, but you could have been having a plasma), you were probably tuning in to KTN shows such as Rap ‘Em, Kass Kass, Rastrut, Jam-a-Delic, Rythmix, and the Australian soap-opera Neighbours which aired around 6pm. A popular show on the *channel was the sci-fi Time Trax, starring Dale Milkiff as a Police Officer sent back in time to help solve crimes.

Linus Kaikai, currently the Managing Editor at Nation Media, was a news presenter on the first privately owned channel, KTN. The only other TV broadcaster was the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

KTN was then Channel 62, and you were highly unlikely to see a Safaricom ad as the Company had just been incorporated two months ago.


On the POLITICAL FRONT, H.E Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi was the President of the Republic of Kenya, and had been for the past 18 years. Henry Kipkosgei Barmao had been promoted as the Superintendent of Police and those Pastors who would preside over marriages in Kenya had to have their names gazetted first. The US President was Bill Clinton (Democratic).


In the SPORTING ARENA, Harambee Stars faced Nigeria‘s Super Eagles just two days before, but convincingly lost 3-0, dashing Kenya’s hopes of participating in the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals to be held in France. England had better luck, overcoming France by one goal to nil on the same day. In that period, only the top 2 teams in the Premier League made it through to the UEFA Champions League, meaning Manchester United and Newcastle United grabbed the honour, leaving Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa in the UEFA Cup.


At the MOVIES, Con Air starring Nicholas Cage and The Pillow Book were the newest releases on the silver screen. I’m not sure whether they were screening in Kenya at that time, but the only cinemas* were FOX Drive Inn, Kenya Cinema and 20th Century Cinema Plaza. Films that would premiere in the next three weeks included My Best Friend’s Wedding, featuring Julia Roberts, Face-Off with John Travolta and the animation Hercules.


On the MUSIC SCENE, it’s interesting to note that this period was dominated by more traditional and Central African tunes in the Kenyan social scene and on broadcast. The likes of the late and great Okatch Biggy and Prince Jully passed away that year.

Iit was the end of the road for the growing Kisima Music Awards which was held at the Carnivore Restaurant, hosted by Lorna Irungu and Jeff Koinange. Kisima would however see the light of day again in six years. Founded by Tedd Josiah and Pete Odera, the Kisima Awards were taken over by David Muriithi‘s Sunset Promotions*. In that week of June, Americans were listening to I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans with a gospel single ruling UK airwaves.


A view of a section of the Nairobi CBD in 1997

Aerial view of Nairobi CBD in 1997 | Photo by Ruth and Dave, FLICKR


*Editors Note: The content has been updated to further reflect historical incidences, as shared by readers and leaders.




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