THE KENYAN GAY SCENE is more secretive than most others around the world. It operates through truly cult-like networks. It also has an elite that gravitates around the large diplomatic corps, media foreign correspondents and international NGOS (the so-called INGOS) communities.
At the very top, among the expatriates and their Kenyan lovers, it is the modern-day equivalent of the so-called “Happy Valley” set of the colonial era that flourished from the 1920s to the 1940s, bringing a life of “White Mischief” lavish parties, sexual infidelities, wife swapping, alcoholism and drug-taking to the Equator.
To this day, Kenya still has a British aristocratic settler elite, represented by such characters as Thomas Cholmondeley, 39, the son of Hugh Cholmondeley, the fifth Baron (Lord) Delamere, and the Jockey Club of Kenya (about which more in a moment). Thomas is currently a guest of GK at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, where he is held on murder charges for the second time since 2005. His forefathers were part of the decadent Happy Valley set, a clique of colonial playboys whose debauched lifestyles were exposed in the notorious "White Mischief" trial in 1941, in which one Sir Jock Delves Broughton was charged but acquitted of the murder of the 22nd Earl of Erroll.
The most notable Delamere was Hugh Cholmondeley, the 3rd Baron Delamere, and his story was featured in two of the biggest Hollywood movies on Kenya, White Mischief, based on James Fox’s novel on the real events of the “Happy Valley” murder of the Earl of Erroll, and Out of Africa, from Karen Blixen’s autobiographical accounts of her time in Kenya and her romance with Denys Finch Hatton. The 3rd Baron Delamere, also known simply as “D”, came to Kenya 104 years ago, in 1903.
The Happy Valley lot, also known as the “gin-and-tonic” (G&T) set, established the template in this country for a life of drugs, booze, polo, parties, mate swapping (and stealing), and occasionally murder among the cream of the cream of Kenya’s elite that continues to this day. This was the high life of private planes, safaris, and seemingly endless holidays on golden beaches. It was the kind of lifestyle that comes with serious disposable income. Life was one big party with endless sun, sea and sex, all backed up by an army of cheap black labour doing all the real work.