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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kibera, Kenya’s Largest Slum

Generations have lived in Kenya’s largest slum of Kibera, one of Africa’s largest squatters’ settlements.



Kibera (Key-bear-a) is a Nubian word meaning Forest or Jungle. 


Over 100 years ago, Nubian soldiers and their families who worked for the British colonial army were the original settlers of Kibera. It is situated three miles from Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.

Kibera is one of Africa’s largest squatters’ settlements. Fifteen densely populated villages make up this slum. Residents of Kibera are officially squatters and do not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use the land, the land belongs to the government of Kenya. However, this does not stop slumlords from charging rent when families move into vacated shacks. 

Generations have lived in Kenya’s largest slum of Kibera, one of Africa’s largest squatters’ settlements.
Kibera (Key-bear-a) is a Nubian word meaning Forest or Jungle.
Life in Kibera is characterized by extreme poverty, high unemployment, lack of access to basic services, and high HIV/AIDS rates. Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, and the second largest urban slum in Africa. The population of Kibera is very young; around 40% of the population is under the age of 20 due to high mortality rates from AIDS.

The population estimates for Kibera range from 100,000 to 1 million. The discrepancy in population numbers is because Kibera is what is known as a squatters housing settlements meaning most of the houses are temporary, and the population is hard to calculate. However, the most recent census places the population around 200,000.

Many Kibera residents resent the fact that so many NGO's in their community but there is little change.
Life in Kibera
Kibera size is 617 acres or 2.5 square kilometers, a little smaller than New York’s Central Park. Only about 20% of Kibera has electricity and 10% of the Kiberans have access to clean water, there is currently no sewage system in Kibera. Food, water and basic housing costs money, however, currently there is little to no work for residents, 50% are unemployed.


Kibera is overrun with NGO’s or Non-Governmental Organizations. It is popularly believed some NGO’s are actually helpful to some degree, but given the sheer number of organizations in Kibera, there are hardly any improvements of the situation making residents wonder or even become cynical is “real” help available. 

Many Kibera residents resent the fact that so many NGO's in their community and there is little change. In fact, private companies are making a profit from the poverty in Kibera by offering "friendly slum tours" to foreigners visiting Kenya charging 2,500 Kenyan Shillings or $24 US dollars per person.

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