Shakir is a legend in Malindi,
everyone knows him, so we were surprised when we
asked a tuk-tuk driver to take us and he had no
idea what we meant.
"I Don’t know."
"Yes yes, Shakir! Shakir the
"You know. Shakir"
This went on for some time.
Then realisation dawned:
"You mean Shakirrrr.
Shakirrrr the Tailor!"
Good grief, we had come all the
way to Kenya and we were still being told off by
our betters for our sloppy accents.
The wonderful Elizabeth Tailor in
Lamu was another star – the real deal, she only
had to look you up and down once and she knew your
every measurement, probably how fat you’d be in
two years time too.
She ran me up a series of dresses
from beautiful kanga and kikoy fabrics.
It wasn’t Elizabeth Tailor who
let me down, it was the Omo.
After I shoved them in the washing
machine and found they’d turned into mini
dresses that would be perfect for a stripper or
Barbie I learnt the value of pre-washing material.
In Mtwapa, Paul the tailor has
been brilliant, making me two long stripey dresses
that will be just right for disco dancing.
I’m thinking of packing them in
the trunk and, as I travel around Africa (Liberia
and Ethiopia next on the itinerary), taking them
out periodically to look at them, as Kit Moresby
does with her ball gowns in dusty small hotel
rooms across Sub-Saharan Africa at the outbreak of
World War Two in the book The Sheltering Sky,
by Paul Bowles.
day: 6.10 a.m. - besotted with the magic of
a Mtwapa dawn.
you read it first at coastweek.com