The crime rate all over Kenya has gone exponentially high. OBs are everywhere.

OB – plural OBs: Meaning OBtain

Obtain: get, acquire, or secure (something)

OB is a slang mostly used by uptown guys to refer to the young budding thieves who snatch or pickpocket items like phones, handbags, and others at events, clubs, on the streets amongst other social places.

How do you identify an OB.

  1. DRESS CODE

Just like any other profession, OBs dress up in a similar way although some of them try to look different.

  • Most of them wear snapbacks/caps
  • They’ll have at least a chain on their neck. Those who have many chains are considered to be badass

  • In 2012/13 most of them used to wear Jerseys, most of them being Tanzania and Chemelil Sugar. But now they’re going into other brands including “Versace”.
  • You’re likely to see them with many pockets.
  • They’ll have at least one ring on their finger. Again, those who have multiple rings are considered to be badass. Since no one is allowed to get inside clubs or events with weapons, these rings serve as weapons.

  • You’ll definitely see most of them in funny looking jeans pants.
  • The kind of shoes they put on depends on how hard and how much you make. But mostly you’ll find them wearing huge ass open shoes, Timberland boots and even sneakers.

  1. WALKING STYLE

  • Most of them walk in a similar way. Some with their hand in their pockets lifting up their trouser (unexplainable in text)

  1. LANGUAGE

  • There’s sheng and then there is something else no any other Kenyan can understand. I had some talking last night and I couldn’t get even a single word.

  1. THEY WALK IN GROUPS

  • Although is some cases you might see one alone, there are always others and they call the “booster”. So don’t ever get into a fight with one of them thinking he’s alone.

So where are you likely to meet these “amazing” young men and women?

  1. AT EVENTS

If you attend almost all events like me, then you’ve probably met them. These young guys can be found at all events. No matter how expensive the tickets might be, guaranteed they’ll be there.

One thing I admire about them is that they are so organized! They usually have a group and group leaders. Before they go for an event, they must meet and strategize. This is where they split the cost and buy event tickets, set targets and come up with a plan. If there event is far, they will hire a matatu. If the tickets are too expensive, they will try and send a few members in as others wait ­­­­outside.

Sometimes they don’t buy tickets, all they need is to know one or two bouncers manning the event, then they jump in over the fence or they go to the venue hours before the event and stay there. Most of these bouncers are there friends and they come from the same neighborhoods, so it’s just a matter of agreement on how they’ll share the benefits.

For the ladies who like grinding on random men at events and clubs be warned, some of them have no business with you, all they want is your phone and money.

  1. CLUBS

I’ve never seen any OBs at Mercury, Brew Bistro, Caramel and a few other joints. But you can never go to any club in Westlands or in the CBD and leave without seeing even a single OB in or around a club.

  1. ON THE STREETS

In Nairobi CBD, there’s uptown and downtown. Starting from Moi Avenue to Kirinyaga Road, that’s what we call down town, whereas from Kimathi Street all the way to Uhuru highway is referred to as uptown.

You are more “likely” to walk while texting on your mobile phone without someone trying to grab it on the uptown side. Downtown? I wouldn’t want to spoil the movie for you. During your free time, take out your phone; let’s chat as you walk through River road to Kirinyaga road. If you make it without someone attempting to snatch it, come for an iphone7 next year.

During weekends, public holidays and late nights when the streets are run down, all the streets are almost the same, but downtown is still worse.