I thought the attached photo might be of interest to any unfortunate expat who is having difficulty being granted and/or affording a Kenyan work permit at the present time.

The attached photo was taken in Nairobi’s Industrial Area 50 years ago. Yours truly is sitting in the center front row, being one of half a dozen work permit holders. The picture is of the staff of the workshop and parts department of a motor vehicle importing company on Factory Street. There were five more mzungus at our Victoria Street head office, the managing director, his personal secretary, the chief accountant and two car salesmen, making a total of eleven work permits issued for thirty shillings a year each, automatically renewable. The company was selling on average two private vehicles and two commercial vehicles per month.

There must surely be some judgement to be made and some moral to be drawn from this state of affairs, because for the years immediately following Kenya’s independence, some main agents succeeded in selling 200 cars a month with a workforce that was restricted to one or at the most two work permits per company.