A series of disturbing incidents involving racial discrimination at the renowned Peponi Hotel in Lamu has sparked outrage and ignited a conversation about racial prejudice in Kenya.
The allegations, brought to light by social media posts and corroborated by multiple guests, highlight instances of differential treatment towards Black patrons as compared to their White counterparts.
The controversy began when Christine Ambetsa, a Twitter user with the handle @Tina_Lish, shared a detailed account of her and her husband’s distressing experience during their stay at Peponi Hotel.
The thread of tweets outlined their encounter with what they perceived as racism and unequal treatment.
Tina expressed her dismay at the blatant disrespect and differential treatment that Black individuals often face in their own country.
Tina’s initial tweet read, “I want to share an unpleasant and racist experience that my husband and I had at @PeponiHotel in Lamu earlier this week. Black people being treated with utmost disrespect in our own country. When will this end?”
Her subsequent tweets chronicled a sequence of events that occurred during their stay, raising serious concerns about the hotel’s policies and management.
The central incident revolved around a tour to Lamu town, organized by the hotel.
After being informed of the tour’s cancellation due to heavy rains, the couple decided to have breakfast.
However, they were startled when the hotel’s reception later informed them that the tour was back on, leaving them with insufficient time to join.
The couple’s ordeal continued as they were met with uncooperative staff and confrontational management when addressing their concerns.
The owner of Peponi Hotel, a white lady referred to as the “host lady,” faced direct accusations of condescension and discriminatory behavior from the couple.
Tina described how the host lady interacted differently with white guests, treating them more favorably than Black guests.
Tina’s tweets drew widespread attention, prompting others to share their own stories of racism at Peponi Hotel.
Her account underscored similar experiences of racial bias, demonstrating a pattern of discriminatory practices at the establishment.
Wambui’s tweet revealed how she was directed to sit in a separate area of the hotel’s terrace, reserved predominantly for Black patrons, while the main area was predominantly occupied by white guests.
She tweeted, “Tina here is not wrong about @PeponiHotel… I sat on the balcony. I noticed that the locals (Black) were only seated on the balcony… Again I thought – hotel guests.”
Furthermore, she recounted an incident where a planned Swahili dinner was abruptly changed and relegated to a less desirable location without proper explanation.
As the allegations gained momentum, other Twitter users joined the conversation to share their own encounters with racial discrimination at Peponi Hotel.
These testimonies paint a distressing picture of the extent of the issue, depicting a recurring theme of unequal treatment based on skin color.
One tweet by a user going by the handle @almafazy further underscored the severity of the issue, revealing that racism at Peponi Hotel had become a point of concern even within local communities.
The tweet criticized attempts to link the allegations with Kenya’s relationship with British Kenyans, emphasizing that racism should be condemned irrespective of its targets.
The unfolding controversy has generated significant public discourse on social media platforms, with many condemning the alleged acts of racial discrimination.
“Peponi is the last place to go to as a black person,” tweeted one user.
“The staff doesn’t see or acknowledge you.”
“Every time people go to Lamu and book stays at Peponi and Majilis I’m very much surprised… you are better off getting the small boutique hotel and luxury Swahili houses,” @hermestouch tweeted.
“Familiar thread, anyone who visits Lamu would agree. But the crazy part is even with Tripadvisor receipts & similar threads like @WambuiKamiru we still have apologists questioning what you experienced, and worse making it about gender. We are really a long way from Uhuru,” added @SeraGaid.
“I made reservations at Peponi Hotel and chose a spot with the view of the ocean. After sitting unattended by their absolutely rude waiters, I protested, & then one of them nonchalantly told me to move to the back of the hotel where they’d apparently set up a place for me. Wild,” @eriqduncan noted.
These stories are not just black text on white screens – they are the embodiment of Kenyan experiences, cries for acknowledgment and equity.
These tweets speak to a collective pain, a call for an end to an era where privilege divided our society into two distinct shades.
Peponi Hotel has not yet released an official statement addressing the allegations, leaving concerned citizens and the public eagerly awaiting a response.
As the nation grapples with the allegations, the incident has underscored the importance of addressing racial prejudice within the hospitality industry and society at large.
It serves as a reminder that everyone, regardless of their background, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.