So women-only dance parties in Kenya are a thing. And they’re taking off in all the best ways. Men are banned at these parties, and everyone has a great time in a safe space. How about that?
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What Is It?
The fierce women who started this party welcome all women, cis or trans, from every sexual orientation and religion to meet, dance and party. It’s a space where women don’t have to monitor how they dress or stress about safety while having fun. Why does it exist? For women’s joy, freedom and safety. It’s called Strictly Silk. It’s founded, curated and catered for by women, from the security to the DJs.
Unwanted Male Attention in Clubs
First off, this is a universal problem. Most of us have been harassed by some creepy dude while trying to dance and enjoy your drink with your friends. This problem is ALL too relatable. Experiences range from annoying AF to just plain scary.
So a team in Nairobi decided to do something about it. They created all-women dance parties, but they actually did something even more lit. They created safe nightlife spaces for women.
The BBC reports that it’s an outdoor space where there is loud music and women dancing in peace:
‘You have to be so strict in a place with men. You just want to go out with your friends but men interfere,’ says Jane, 26, who came to the party with her best friend Shani. ‘So having a space where it’s all women immediately feels safe and you feel you are with people who understand you.’
There’s tight security. And the women-only rule applies to the bar tenders, the bouncers, the DJs and the MCs too. All women.
What Inspired This Party?
It’s been around since 2018, and it’s a damn good night out. But there’s something much deeper behind it.
‘2018 was a difficult year for a lot of Kenyan women. There were a lot of stories about violence, and people were becoming bolder about misogyny online and offline,’ says Njoki Ngumi, one of the founders of Strictly Silk.
The event was founded by her, Njeri Gatungo and Akati Khasiani of The Nest Collective. Their inspiration for the party is everything.
‘We just wanted to curate this energy in celebration of women in spaces that are not usually welcome for women, and especially things to do with nightlife.’
While It’s Queer-Friendly, It’s Not Queer-Exclusive
Before you make any assumptions, this all-women party isn’t code for a gay party. Ms Ngumi confirms:
‘We are queer-affirming and queer-celebrating, but people would imagine that this is an exclusive queer event. There are events that are exclusively queer, but this is not that kind of party. We welcome all people, including non-binary people.’
The LGBTQ+ community faces the risk of violence and prison. Gay sex is still illegal in Kenya. Yip, it’s a crime to be queer in Kenya. And the punishment is up to 14 years in prison. So this community embraces safe spaces like this one.
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What is Ms Ngumi’s ultimate plan? She wants to expand the party across Africa.
‘This is a worldwide issue. There are conversations around the toxicity of club culture and nightlife, particularly towards women, gender identity and orientation,’ she says.