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Kariobangi is a low-income residential estate in northeastern Nairobi, Kenya. It consists of both apartments and slum-type dwellings. It is split into two parts, Kariobangi North and Kariobangi South. The northern part was constructed first, with first buildings built in 1961.
Kariobangi South Estate is straddled by the Outering Road (on the Eastern part) and the Nairobi – Thika railway line on the Western and southerly parts. Outering Road joins Kenya's main airport - the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to the Thika Highway - via the GSU round-about on the North. It hosts the civil servants quarters. The neighborhoods bordering this estate include Outering Road Estate, Buruburu phase 1 extension and Pioneer Estates on the East (along the Outerring Road), Kariobangi North to the North, and Umoja to the South and South Eastern parts. The houses in this estate are varied in design and range from the flats, and maisonettes - including the famous red brick, timber houses (owned by the Nairobi city Council), to the privately owned bungalows.
The estate is served by one city council-maintained school - the Kariobangi South Primary school – and a number of nursery schools and kindergarten. Churches include a Catholic church, PCEA and the AIPCEA Churches - all which are within a stone through distance from each other, even though a number of other churches have since established a presence in the estate. The estate is also served by the City owned and run Kariobangi South Market, which previously catered for all the residents shopping-entertainment needs, but whose stature has of late been seriously eroded by the ever upcoming and rising mini-supermarkets and roadside kiosks.
As is common with most city council estates, the estate has suffered its share of maintenance neglect which coupled with uncoordinated housing extensions and new real estate developments by the so-called 'private developers' has threatened to make the estate lose its original identity and character. A number of former open -children- playgrounds have been grabbed and turned - overnight - into low-cost - both permanent and semipermanent - housing units. The highlight of this trend has been the development of an informal settlement estate 'slum', right next to the primary school. Other types of developments characteristic of the 'land grabbing mania' of the early to late 1990s include the low-cost housing units constructed in the previously vacant and sparse land area (popularly known as 'lightie'), which lies towards the north and eastern parts of the estate and which was earlier reserved for light industries/small-scale enterprises aimed at building an entrepreneurial base in the area - as a way of fighting poverty within the area and the city in general terms.
The land-grabbing mania meant the entrepreneurial dream was never to be realized as intended as the land fell into the hands of well connected - and sometimes politically correct – private developers who have since turned this land into residential estates. All these developments have come at a cost, with insecurity topping the list, leading to the establishment of a chief's camp and an Administration Police post at the heart of the estate to curb the rising incidents of crime.
On the social and entertainment scene, the estate has grown from its one bar wonder of the famous Off-license and 'It is here bar' of the 1980s and early 90s to a variety of entertainment spots catering for diverse tastes. Some clubs,pubs and bars have come up in the estate, some of these are well known like:Mahuti-hini,Hamony pub, Mayaka int'l, Southern springs and the recent Josca club and restaurant.
The undisputed and most decorated achievement of the estate in the social-entertainment scene has been the rise of the outspoken and sometimes controversial rap group K-South, who have in the recent past rocked the music scene with their rap lyrics. Musicians from the estate include Abbas Kubaff, Bamboo, Size 8, XYZee, Polycarp Otieno of Sauti Sol, Adawnage and Tom Olang'o. Some lingala bands have resided in the estate. Other notable personalities that have brought the estate to the national limelight include the former miss Kenya, Yolanda Masinde, and casting director Lenny Juma. The former YK 92 activist Cyrus Jirongo is also recorded to have resided in the estate, as is the comedian Ndambuki.