Kenyans react to breastfeeding scandal at Olive Restaurant

Kenya’s social media is currently buzzing with the hashtag #BreastfeedingIsaRight.

These reactions are a response to a post on Facebook by a 26 year old woman going by the name Betty Kim who shared an experience she had at Olive Restaurant in downtown Nairobi.

Ms Kim told the BBC she was confronted by staff after starting to breastfeed her one-year-old daughter;

I was waiting for my order of beef stew, cabbage and mukimu [a mixture of mashed potatoes, maize and green vegetables] when the arrogant woman waiter who had taken my order told me to either stop or cover up.

I was shocked because I had done this a million times and on this particular day it was raining, so there was nowhere else to go.

I decided to continue breastfeeding my child when another waitress, who brought my food, calmly told me that what I was doing was giving a very bad impression.

I then politely asked her where else I could comfortably nurse my child and she pointed at a toilet. At that moment I felt humiliated and stopped breastfeeding.

 

Ms  Kim shared her experience hoping to receive an apology from the restaurant. On 11th May 2018, Olive Restaurant posted an apology on its Facebook page. 

Restaurant Apology

On the same day, the restaurant launched a #HelpUsFindBetty campaign hoping to get in touch with Ms Kim so they could offer her a direct apology.

Public Response

Unfortunately, the apology has proved insufficient in quenching the public’s fury and the on-going media storm. Four days after the apology, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Kenya’s capital to express their disdain over the incident.

Image: @The Standard

Others took to social media to express their solidarity to Ms Kim. They out-rightly rejected the restaurant’s post mortem response towards breastfeeding mothers in public spaces:

Others called on the president to finally sign the 2017 Breastfeeding Bill and put it into action:

Still, others found fault with the people that appeared to sexualize a natural act as this:

Other Reactions

What is your say on the issue? Do you think women have the right to breastfeed their babies anywhere? Or, do you feel they should only do it in private spaces?

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