[VIDEO] PlayStation Dens: Where Kids go to play as teachers strike in Nairobi

Somewhere in Nairobi’s Zimmerman estate is a video cafe that has for the past four weeks had a fat bank balance, as pupils from nearby public schools throng it for their favourite PlayStation series to while the crippling teachers strike away.

The pupils, who come from schools such as Roysambu Primary School, spend their days camping at the video games shop, as their privately schooled counterparts continue learning and preparing for the end of term exams.

But as they enjoy the FIFA PlayStation series or wrestling games, it does not escape one’s mind that both privately and publicly sponsored school goers will sit for the same national examinations at the end of the year.

They will both be battling for the same space either in high school or in university.

And that is the sad reality of the debilitating teacher’s strike.


The pupils, who come from schools such as Roysambu Primary School, spend their days camping at the video games shop

Cafe owner Albur Chomba says he has made profit of Sh10,000 since the teachers started boycotting their work stations.

Since the strike started I have made about Sh10,000. These children fill up my shop waiting for their turn because I only have three monitors,” he explains.

He adds that the pupils take to his store every day from 9am and some remain there until he closes shop at around 8pm.

And for their favourite game, each player parts with Sh10 for every 10 minutes they sit in front of the computer monitors with their joy sticks in hand.

Where they get the money is a topic for another day.

They come in the morning and spend the whole day playing. I don’t know why many of them have not turned out yet because I normally have a bigger number here at this time of day than you can see at the moment. But I know they will still come, he says.

Chomba, who completed his high school education last year, however argues that the strike should be called off blaming the 2012 strike for his poor performance.

One of the pupils at the video games shop, dubbed ˜PlayStation, told Capital FM News that he did not report to school on Wednesday because when he did so on Tuesday there were no teachers.

Another young gamer, who however reported to school on Wednesday, said that teachers at the Roysambu Primary School asked him and his colleagues to go back home at around 10am.

We went to school but were asked to go back home by our teachers,” a boy only identified as Maina said when Capital FM News caught up with him in his green uniform on his way home.

And while some pupils might enjoy the untimely holiday, parents and perhaps the line government agents continue having sleepless nights.

One of the affected parents, who runs a butchery shop in Zimmerman estate, Njoroge Macharia says he cannot even get a private tutor to coach his class seven son because he does not know how long it will last.

The money required to sustain a private tutor is another question altogether.

I just want the strike to end because it is really affecting our children and those children are innocent players. Why should they punish the children?” he asks.

Macharia also notes that it will be very difficult for his children to catch up with their studies.

For now his sole request to the government is that they give in to the teachers demands.

That laptop project is good but the government should have shelved it for now and directed that money to the teachers pay concerns, he argues.

How long the strike lasts or how soon it ends, is unknown. But what is clear is that it is a national shame.




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