Maxie (Kenya, 32): Whites know how to love. The good thing about them, they love you regardless of how you are. Whether you are lame, blind.

Gilbert (Belgium, 69): I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s so easy here to get laid. You can have two, three, four women every day. But it’s not out of love, it’s just for money.


All over Africa women are looking for a white man who can change their life. The search concentrates around tourist resorts on the coasts of the continent. It leads to misunderstanding, abuse, deceit and deception. Are white men from the west and African women able to bridge their differences in cultural background and, often, in age, and shape loving, durable relationships?

The documentary ‘African Bride’ looks for an answer to this question.

 

 

 
 

Lily: Nowadays they say women are like public service vehicles, you get on this one, it stops for a traffic light and you get on another one. So whites are better than Africans.
Linda: Also white men can’t deny their own child.
Lucy: If he knows the child has his blood he cannot leave him. Unlike Africans.
Lily: This white man is so learned that he’s a lawyer, but he’ll still come and pick you, and you have never gone to school.
Lily: An African will always ask what level of education you have.
Kim: How are these whites in bed?
Lily: He gives you hot love.
Kim: Does he take you slow?
All: Yes.
Linda: They are not rough, and he doesn’t do it so fast and finishes. He is gentle and takes it slow.
Lucy: You’ll just feel it.

 
 

Diani Beach is on many lists of the world’s most beautiful beaches. But the girls who stroll through the hot sand don’t seem to notice it. For them these are the hunting grounds. They are looking for ‘fresh whites’.

Lucy: Fresh whites are the ones who just arrived in Kenya. They just got off the airplane, and their skin is very white and clean. So if you get that one that is a fresh white.

Lily: They don’t know the prices in Kenya. If something costs 1000 shilling, you can tell them it’s 2000 and they’ll give it to you.

Lucy: If I want a white man, I will think for myself, is he a Kenya Kimbo or is he fresh? This one looks fresh, this is the one I want.

The Kenya Kimbo doesn’t go to the beach. He drinks cheap beer in a bar at Ukunda’s noisy main junction.

Lily: A Kenya Kimbo is a white man who has lived in Kenya for very many years and he’s not rich. He knows the prices of everything in Kenya. You cannot con him at all.

Following the violence at the 2008 elections, tourism collapsed in Kenya. But the girls keep coming to Diani Beach, hoping they will be able to catch that one available fresh white.

Lucy: Sometimes it is so difficult to get the fresh ones, you decide to go for the Kenya Kimbo’s.

 
 

Gilbert is the textbook definition of a Kenya Kimbo. The 69 years old Belgian native has been living in Kenya for most of the last ten years. With his modest pension he is the Don Juan of Diani Beach. By his own account he slept with every tribe in Kenya. Asked about his love for black women he says: ‘One time black, always black’.

‘What I do here, I could never do in Europe. Beautiful black girls. Soft skin. In Belgium I’m an old man. Here they give me 55 years. And when I tell them my real age they don’t have any problem with it.’

When Gilbert meets a new girl, he asks her immediately to marry him. ‘I can only provide food and shelter, but when I die you will have my pension for the rest of your life.’

But he didn’t find his bride yet. All his relationships end in disappointment, when he discovers the meaning of all the sweet words:
‘They don’t fall in love. We fall in love. And then we are lost. We are the bird for the cat. In the end it’s all about the money.’

When he’s drunk his distrust takes over and he insults his girl friends to the bone. But they keep coming back...

 
 

Lilian (33) recently came to Diani Beach, on instigation of her good friend Winnie. She owns a small shop in Nairobi, just enough to provide for her daughter’s education. But she hasn’t been able to find a decent husband, after the father of her child left her even before the child was born.

Maybe a white man can change her life. Lilian is hesitant, but decides to give it a go. But before diving into this adventure she wants to find out what the experiences are of the girls of Diani Beach.

Winnie is her teacher: how do you approach a white man, how to recognize a Kenya Kimbo, why you shouldn’t ask for money immediately, what are the dos and don’ts.

Lilian talks to the women surrounding Gilbert. Why do they keep going back to him? Why do they accept his drunken rage and insults?

She learns the consequences of the search for a white man. To survive in Diani Beach you need money, and to get money you will end up selling your body.

Lilian chooses not to cross that line and decides to go back to her shop in Nairobi.

 
 
 

Producer and director Roy Dames is a household name in Dutch documentary. His portrait of a group of small time crooks ‘The Wrong Crowd’ was recently chosen by the audience as one the top ten Dutch documentaries of all time.

In his documentaries he shows the things we normally don’t want to see. Crooks, addicted prostitutes, victims of lover-boys, homeless people, alcoholists, those are the people he feels at ease with. By filming them over long periods of time, he manages to get real close to his main characters and their struggles.

For ‘An African Bride’ he visited Kenya eight times, and he also filmed one of his main characters back in Belgium.

Jos Driessen is one of the top editors in Holland and worked on many of Roy Dames’ documentaries. Their collabaration is so close that this time they decided to share the credits. Jos joined Roy on his last trip to Kenya as a co-director.

Co-producer Robbert van Lanschot wrote the book ‘Take me to the Florida’, about relationships between back and white in Africa. This book, but also his knowledge of Africa, where he worked as a diplomat and still spends much time, was the starting point for his collaboration with Roy Dames.

‘An African Bride’ will premiere in the autumn of 2017.