NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1920: “WOMEN’S NEWS”
Women’s wants, needs, and interests appear in several places in the Nairobi newspapers.
For example, in the Situations Wanted column, January 24, 1920, there is an advertisement for a lady in England who desires a position in Nairobi. The lady, a doctor’s widow, claims to be “exceptionally musical” and “able to entertain.” She “can undertake Secretarial work,” and is “cheerful and domesticated.” Presumably, that means she could oversee maids rather than actually cook and clean on her own. Any gentlemen in need of a “companion” or looking for a new wife perhaps?
On a more serious note, a woman who signed herself only as “ready to pay,” wrote to the editors of The Leader of British East Africa suggesting that women should also pay a poll tax as do the men. She argues that women are now on the same footing as men “as regards the vote” and so should be taxed for the good of the colony. Now there’s a patriotic lady. The editors replied that they saw no reason why women shouldn’t pay the tax as well since many married and single women were earning good salaries. The Englishwoman in the above want ad, might want to think twice before coming to the colony as a paid companion, chaperone, or housekeeper.
Lastly, in February14, 1920, a woman columnist, “Delaine,” describes the latest fashion in tea gowns: Zouave trousers under an ‘above the ankle’ length, georgette gown with a beaded hem. But while the writer finds the trousers under a gown very fashionable, she was appalled by some woman seen entering a hotel wearing shorts and long socks that exposed the knee. The garb, Delaine claimed, was hardly suitable for wearing at a “shamba” which is a farm.
NEXT WEEK: MORE NAIROBI NEWS
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com