Monday, May 16, 2022

The Naked Truth About Kenya’s Diasporic Sex Queens

(This article was originally published in 2005) London. Seen from above, double-decker buses look like giant red beetles and pedestrians like ants. Eager to reach Heaven - like the fated Tower of Babel - is Big Ben. Elsewhere, the Tower Bridge doth bestride the Thames like a colossus. Further on, Buckingham Palace clings tenaciously to the fading vestiges of the once-mighty British Empire. Meanwhile, the London Eye watches in stony silence. Below street level, the London Underground shuttles thousands of commuters back and forth. High above, an unrewarding grey sky presides over the world's most famous city. 

Meet Panther (not her real name, that would be ridiculous). She's a Black girl from Mombasa, the dreamy holiday capital of Kenya. In her mid-twenties, she's slim, dark, with large fiery eyes set in a rather angular head from which luscious red-painted lips pout at the world. Sexy she certainly is, and it helps in her line of work because she peddles sex in London town. Oh, and business is good. Panther averages £1000 per week (over Kshs.100,000). She is so busy that her two mobile phones hardly ever stop ringing, even on Wednesday which is her "off day". On Wednesday, she gets to shop at Harrod's and other choice places, eat at posh restaurants and spend time with her six-year-old daughter. Believe it or not (God, I sound like the host of Ripley's), Panther told her daughter exactly what she does for a living and is neither ashamed nor apologetic. In fact, Panther is quite brazen. She almost made conservative patrons choke on their food when she blurted out, "I need my White meat!" during an interview with a magazine (She only sleeps with White men). But how did a young girl from far-off Kenya come to be selling sex in the city? Let's find out.


Panther was an innocent country maiden until the White men came for her. I tell a lie - she's a sex freak who's been posing topless since she was fourteen. Growing up in Mombasa, she met a British soldier who brought her back to Cool Britannia as his wife. Before long, she snapped up an offer to pose nude and spread-eagled for a steamy magazine. The photos were an instant hit and she started "modelling" behind her husband's back. As her fame grew, so did the risk of exposure and it wasn't long before one of the guys at the barracks showed her husband a nude centrefold of her. Chaos reigned that night as the military man beat Panther black and blue. She reported the matter to the police and started a court case but never saw it through. Interestingly, she reckons that instead of beating her, hubby should have "been proud" of her (Go figure.) She left hubby, found a place a train-ride away from London and continued turning men on for a living. Now an underground celebrity, it wasn't long before the people of her sleepy neighbourhood were enlightened by a nude magazine spread of her which was pinned to the wall of her local pub. From that time onwards, the beery men there would get erections that would put Big Ben to shame whenever she breezed in. Women scrawled obscenities across the photo. "It's always the women who have a problem," Panther argues, "because they know they can't compete. The minute a woman sees her husband talking to me, the claws come out". For now, Panther is a happy hooker. She has a new White boyfriend who knows her trade and she lives in the lap of luxury.


But Panther isn't the only Black girl "on the game". British males appear to relish the thrill of having sex with exotic women and ebony skin ranks very high in the takings. On 22nd August 2003, a Kenyan newspaper revealed that for decades, numerous British troops had been having sexual liaisons with local Kenyan women (About 3,000 British soldiers are deployed to Kenya for training every year). The liaisons included ordinary dating, sex with prostitutes - and is some cases - rape. Many of these women have mixed-race children. Through a London-based lawyer, the complainants have been seeking justice but, so far, without much luck. Now, prostitutes avail themselves to "Johnnies" (British soldiers) even if it means travelling from Nairobi to smaller towns like Nanyuki and Mombasa.  In Simon Nye's famous comedy series, Men Behaving Badly, one character mused, over a beer, that "the thing with your Mediterranean bird (girl) is that her sexual urges have been gently brought to the surface by the (warmth of) the sun" whereas "your British bird, bless her, has spent her life (all wrapped up) freezing at a bus stop: she's in no position to open up sexually." If that's the case, then it's no wonder that foreign girls London very attractive.


There is a time to live and a time to die. For the high class foreign-born sex queens, this is the time to live: I'm talking plush homes, ridiculously fat bank accounts, cars that could make you weep with envy, designer clothes, and any other luxury available on the third rock from the sun. Which is hardly surprising in a country that spends more on prostitution (£770,000,000 per year) than at the movies (£250,000,000 per year). In fact, "the game" is hardly a newsworthy topic, unless someone frightens the horses (Like the time actor Hugh Grant was caught with a Black hooker in his car). Recently, a Kenyan-born woman known as Anne O'Brien became a victim of her own success and ended up in Southwark Crown Court facing charges of "controlling prostitutes". To paraphrase rapper Ma$e, she was crucified for "sex in the city[1]". Her story:


The petite Anne O'Brien was born Hannah Wambui in Karura forest (near Nairobi city) where her parents were squatters (landless people). She got her basic schooling at Uthiru Primary School in Uthiru, a crime-prone area of Nairobi. On completing school she worked beside her mother, selling vegetables at a market stall, before leaving for the UK. Less than two years later, Wambui married Irishman Patrick O’Brien and settled in Ireland but not for long. Wanderlust and the lure of big money took her to London where she joined the flesh trade. She changed her name to "Nancy" (She was forever changing names and still goes by various aka's). Before long, became a well-paid vice girl in London brothels. She later moved to Park West Apartments in Edgware Road to work in a brothel owned by a fellow Kenyan, Ms McDowall from Naivasha. Living in the fast lane, the two Kenyans later relocated to Baker Street, where McDowall set up another brothel - Emma’s Escort Agency. After working for McDowall for several months (raking in about Kshs.8,000 per hour) O’Brien moved out and started her own operation in Paddington, West London, in 1997. She provided a procession of call girls to her male clients, some as young as fourteen. She also employed "card boys" to post thousands of nude pictures of her girls, contact information supplied, in London’s public phone booths (a common way for London hookers to advertise themselves). The Force, as Star Wars fans might say, was with her and the business grew at a premium.


O'Brien paid over £1 million in cash for her upmarket Kensington property which had a penthouse that conjured up memories of Penthouse magazine. It also has a dungeon for those who like a little pain with their pleasure (Me, I'll have a nice Catholic girl with all the trimmings and mustard on the side). Customers were given a "take-away sex menu" offering every kind of sexual pleasure under the sun, with prices starting at £250 (Kshs.40,000) per hour. Her 24-hour call-girl service had three shifts of prostitutes from Europe, Asia and Mother Africa. "She was ruthless and exceptionally greedy," revealed Ruth Nyambura, a Kenyan girl who worked for O'Brien. "A very aggressive woman whose success knows no boundaries…That is how she made her fortune."


Sweet was the smell of profit. O’Brien stuffed £1.6 million (Ksh 224 million) in 27 bank accounts under the company names, Marble Arch Services, Anne Hair And Beauty, and Dream Girl Creations. She paid £487,000 for a four-storey building in CrickleWood in North West London. Her personal profit was £1,200 (over Kshs.120, 000) per week. She bought her mother back in Kenya two matatus (public service vehicles) christened “Dream Girl” (after her escort agency) and a mansion worth Kshs.7 million.


Too successful to be remain secret, O'Brien's operation came under investigation. Detectives from Scotland Yard paid her a visit. They asked some penetrating questions and probed deep into her assets. Newspapermen all over the Land of Hope and Glory each dedicated several inches to O'Brien and her girls. She was arraigned in Southwark Crown Court where a jury found her guilty on three counts of controlling prostitutes, between October 10, 2003 and April 15, 2004. She was briefly jailed and later put on community service. 

The O'Brien affair sent tremors across Kenya, bringing the sex trade into the limelight once again. 'This woman said to be selling natural resources in England is my constituent,' said Kabete MP Paul Muite who is a lawyer by profession. 'Prostitution is not prohibited in England. What is prohibited is living on earnings of immorality.' Meanwhile, O'Brien's mother rushed to her daughter's defence, saying that O'Brien was a Christian and had no truck with prostitution. She simply owned a highly successful Hair Salon. (Yeah, right - and Bill Clinton didn't have sex with "that woman, Monica Lewinsky".)


Side-stepping the issue of morality, I find O'Brien guilty on two counts: Exploiting children and being greedy. In fact, had she not been such a money grabber, she would probably have flown under the radar. But because she made money her god and worshipped at the altar of the almighty dollar, she not only did jail time but lost ALL her wealth, including the cash in the 27 bank accounts. What was the message from the movie Rush Hour 2? - "GREED WILL IMPRISON US ALL"


I have side-stepped the issue of morality because prostitution - aka "the selling of natural resources" - is one hard nut to crack. History records that prostitution was humanity's first profession. Before there were lawyers and doctors, there were prostitutes. Before there were soldiers and spies, there were prostitutes. The sex trade is unlikely to fade away in London as elsewhere. UK's unending high-profile sex scandals show the lengths to which ‘decent’ citizenry will go to fulfill their sexual desires. London, brace yourself for the girls from Africa.


God save the Queen.

[1] Ma$e - Breathe, Stretch, Shake (song)

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