Growing Up with the Impalas
By Joshua Odhiambo Nyamori
Interaction with impalas was part of growing up in Kisumu in the late 1970s and 1980s. A normal day in Kisumu was a beautiful spectacle of thousands of impalas moving in herds, jumping in their majestic manner, from the current Impala sanctuary by the lake side through the then open spaces, especially between Milimani estate and Nyalenda informal settlements, crossing the Nairobi road, at the present Lions High School, to graze at the current Kisumu Day High School playing grounds.
No one bothered the impalas which would graze till late afternoon after which they would embark on the migration back to their evening habitat at the lakeside. The impalas had absolute right of way, without any need for enforcement. Motorists and pedestrians would stop to let impalas jump across the road. At Kisumu Day High School, the students would play football and other games in between the impala herds. These beautiful images are still transfixed on my mind – the good old days!
Human greed led to new buildings and fences on the paths that impalas followed and on their grazing grounds. Soon the impalas were attacked and slaughtered by human poachers for food. The unique, natural, quaint and charming picturesque of Kisumu was no more, completely destroyed and turned into concrete jungle. Our children can now only see the few confined impalas at the sanctuary. It’s not the same.