01-05-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
From today Malindi will lose a piece of its history that is also part of the history of those who have frequented and lived there for the past 58 years.
It is as if an island is forever detached from the mainland of Silversand beach, an island that since the time of Kenya's Independence had been perfectly incorporated into the multi-ethnic Malindi. An island in the imaginary shape of Britain, an island of sea wolves, former settlers and Kenya Cowboys, large families and goliardic singles.
An island full of parties, barbecues, raffles, Saturday night discos, street markets, Sunday buffets and sweaty rugby matches on TV. An island of themed birthdays and masked carnivals, of Scottish kilt dancing and St Patrick's Day parties, of rivers of beer and oceans not only of Indian laughter. An island accessible to all, connected to the world by the ferry of respect, humanity, imagination, English humour and a passion for Africa. All of Africa, from the wild Africa of safarists, daredevil pilots and ex-hunters, to the Africa of deep-sea fishermen and nostalgic people of the golden years.
Today, 1 May 2021, Driftwood Beach Club will close its doors for good and probably will not reopen as a hotel. According to information coming directly from the owner, the plan is to transform the historic hotel, pool bar and restaurant into a residential area, but sincerely the real intentions of the buyers, a kenian group from Nairobi, are not yet known.
So goodbye then to the meeting place for the "British", but not only, also for many Italians who have often preferred or alternated that pleasant and light environment with the local cafés, Miramare beaches and sports bars of Lamu Road.
For me personally, 32 years of smiles, fun, relaxation, youthful drunkenness that was never sad, and many acquaintances, some fleeting but vivid in the drawers of my memory and in the luggage of my experiences, others that became beautiful and solid friendships, are gone.
The truest ones, the ones you meet after 2 or 3 years and it is as if you had said goodbye with a toast the day before.
And you resume toasting to life, which at Driftwood has always been the art of meeting.
And then there's DJ Dulla, his friend Abdul, who was just a kid when he started spinning vinyl on the turntables in 1978 and played mostly rock and roll and quality disco. On a Saturday night you couldn't leave Driftwood without dancing to The Doors' 'Roadhouse Blues', The Rolling Stones' 'Brown Sugar' and James Brown's 'Sex Machine'. But before that it had been all Earth Wind & Fire, Disco Inferno, Kool & The Gang and I Will Survive.
Gloria Gaynor said it for the last time last night, in the last evening in which a visibly moved Dulla made those who grew up and fatally aged (but like a good wine) dance under that makuti in front of the ocean. Yes, we will survive, but with a little melancholy and a lot of nostalgia.
Life is all beginnings and endings, the important thing is always to be able to tell about them.
Thank you Bruce, thank you Roger for giving me an environment that has remained unchanged for a good part of my existence. With everyone else, see you soon at the Malindi Sea Fishing Club.
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