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When 23-year-old Kevin Ooko Obara joined the Safaricom Ghetto Classics at the age of 13 in 2012, he was serving as an altar boy at the St John’s Catholic Church in Nairobi’s Korogocho slums. But one dayhe was told by a friend there was a chance for him to join the Ghetto Classics.

“He told me there was a position for someone to play the tuber and that’s what I began playing ever since,” he tells Spice, adding that being in the group has assisted him grow his music career.

Since its inception in February 2014, the Safaricom International Jazz Festival has evolved into a celebration of live music that not only entertain its audience, but also supports young people earn a living. It has brought about and nurtured gifted young people in Kenyan jazz scene including Kevin, making the genre more accessible to fans and bringing together music lovers for a good cause. The profits made from these events go towards supporting the Ghetto Classics, a non-profit, community-based programme that seeks to transform the lives of youth from underprivileged backgrounds by introducing them to jazz and classical music. – — Life was not a cup of tea for Kevin who had to take care of his family even as he played in the I band. His parents divorced when he was just six years old in 2002, and that led them to a life of struggle. Being uneducated, the only job that his mother could find was in a flower farm as a casual labourer. Unfortunately, his mother had an accident that made her not to work anymore. They were residing in Juja then.

Kevin Obara

“As a result, my elder siblings stepped to take care of themselves and

some left the house and others slept in the streets to fend for themselves. Personally, I stayed with my mum and she opted to move to Nairobi to see whether she couldn’t find a job,” he says.

New twists The mother moved to Nairobi in 2006. She lived with a relative in Korogocho where she began brewing and selling chang’aa and sending cash to her children for food. Soon, she brought them to Nairobi and they lived in the slum where crime, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse thrive. It was a harsh place to live. At some point, he met a missionary called Sister Lydia Badella.

“I was taken to Daniel Komboni Primary School and taken straight to Standard 3, even without any other basic school experience. It was tough as I wasn’t understanding anything, but I was really determined to at least study,” he says.

Lydia set up her own school and Kevin transferred to study there in 2009. He was were taken to catechism classes and Kevin was baptised, a point at which he began going to church at St John’s Catholic Church. In that same year, his mother was seriously injured in a mugging incident and someone had to step up to take care of the home.

“That’s when I joined the garbage collection business during the weekends and during weekdays I would go to school and also be in the band. I then talked to Ghetto Classics founder Elizabeth Njoroge and explained to her my woes and she began to pay our house rent. I stopped collecting the garbage and focused on music and studies,” he recalls.

In 2016, Kevin finished high school and also graduated from the orchestra. He began working as an usher in the group. He desired to build his career in repairing music instruments and in 201 7, he discussed this passion with Elizabeth who later on took him to the International School of Kenya where he learnt about instruments through a facilitator who was visiting the country from the Colorado Institute of Music Technology. Part of his job was to organise Skype lessons for children in Korogocho with teachers in Germany.

“One of the teachers was working for an organisation called Chances for Kids. She told me they wanted to find someone who could help the organisation with instruments repairs. She told me to prepare my documents so that I could travel to Germany but I didn’t have the papers. I had done my primary and high schools without a birth certificate and it took me two years to just look for the papers,” he intimates.

Though challenging, he managed to find his papers and travelled to Germany to learn how to repair instruments. He also joined a band during the three months and with the cash he received, he bought land and settled his mother in the upcountry. He also opened a workshop for repairing instruments in Nairobi that is picking up well.

Musical ambitions For Michelle Akwe Okuya, being in the academy for six years between [2013-2019] not only grew her skills in violin, but she has started an orchestra at Strathmore University, the first in the campus. “With music I’ve gotten to play in so many concerts including thrice in the Safaricom Jazz Festival. I love jazz and hopefully that’s the path that I will take music wise. Playing at the jazz festival was awesome because we were there as an orchestra,” she says.

The second born in a family of three, she started playing the violin at the age of seven while studying at Cavina School. “I began playing in church with my elder brother who is two years older and then I played it too in my primary school. I won a couple of competitions, and at around 12 years of age, I applied to join the Kenya National Youth Orchestra, but they said I was too young to join. I joined a year later and then the Safaricom Youth Orchestra where I was part of the first class,” she says.

In high school at St Andrews Turi where she played cello up to Grade Five and at Safaricom too, she learnt how to play the viola. Being with the late Bob Collymore and the children really assisted her to learn and unleash her capacity as a leader and creator of her own destiny.

She adds, “It was like a hub where we were immersed in music. The place did not only challenge me musically, but also socially because I mingled with a wide variety of people.”


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UoN masters degree finalist who sells eggs appeals for a job



A jobless graduate who’s finalising his masters degree is appealing for well-wishers to give him a job. Dennis Obiri Ogola from Ndumbuini in Kabete sells boiled eggs despite having a diploma, degree and is set to complete his master’s programme in early 2021.

“I’m currently doing my masters and I’m in my last semester of the coursework. I have a diploma in Procurement and Supply Chain Management from the Kenya Institute of Management and a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Procurement and Supply Chain Management option) from the University of Nairobi,” says Dennis.

Humble background, hawking eggs, rent arrears

The soft-spoken Dennis hails from a humble background and is the firstborn in a family of six children. Wellwishers enabled him to pursue his studies and he dreams of helping his younger siblings get a good education.

“I was helped by a children’s home to complete my primary school education. I joined high school in the same children’s home and because of my good manners, they offered to further my education. I did my diploma and after scoring a second class (upper division) in my degree, I got sponsors for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at UoN,” he says.

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Dennis got into the eggs business after another well-wisher was touched by his plight and gave him the startup capital even though the proceeds scarcely meets his needs. On a good day, he makes Sh300 profit which he reinvests in the business, leaving him with peanuts to live off.

“I have some rent arrears but I spoke to the landlord and he’s understanding- but at the end of the day, he wants money.” Photo: Courtesy.

 “After hearing of my situation, an empathetic Human Resource practitioner in a financial institution gave me capital to start this business selling eggs and smokies. In a day, I sell a tray of boiled eggs at Sh600 (Sh20 per egg), making a Sh300 profit. I spend Sh300 on eggs for the next day and use some of the remaining money buy saviets, onions and tomatoes for kachumbari , wrapping papers and tomato sauce. The remainder of the money cannot pay my rent. I have some rent arrears but I spoke to the landlord and he’s understanding- but at the end of the day, he wants money,” he says.

“The far I’ve reached, it’s taken a lot of patience and perseverance. I would like to appeal to anyone with a job to offer me the opportunity. I dream of at least helping my siblings,” concludes Dennis, who has over ten certificates.

You can reach Dennis on 0705446010.

by SDE

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VIDEO: Police arrest prison constable, two others with over 10,000 Sim cards



Police have Thursday arrested three people who were found in possession with over 10,000 Sim cards, four mobile phones and a laptop.

The three are currently being held at the Bondo Police Station in Siaya.

According to DCI, among the arrested is prison constable Charles Opollo Ndaga, who is based at Prison Headquarters.

The warden was arrested for irregular Sim Swap and Sim Card registration.

“Over 10,000 Safaricom Sim Cards registered under different names, two Equitel Sim Cards and three ID Cards, a laptop, several mobile phones, a cheque book among other items were recovered in his house,” police said.

According to the County Police boss Francis Kooli, the three were arrested following a tip off from the members of the public in Sinapanga, Bondo sub-county.

He said that they have already launched investigations to establish more suspects involved in the illegal business that involves the illegal swaping and registration of mobile phone sim cards.

Addressing the media at Bondo Police Station where the suspects are being held, Kooli said that one of the suspects is a prominent businessman in Bondo and an aspiring MP.

“We’ve already written to the Kenya Prisons Service Headquarters to confirm if the said suspect is still in service after it was alleged that he’s a prison officer,” said Kooli.

He added that the three are helping them with the leads and that they will only disclose the names of the suspects in their custody after getting more details.

“This requires in-depth investigations that will involve the Cyber Crime and Anti-Fraud units that will establish how long the crime has been going on and how many people have been affected,” he added.

The suspects will be arraigned and charged accordingly.

According to the police boss, many people have lost money through such schemes.

“We are warning members of the public to be wary of such deals and in case there’s anyone who is suspecting to have been credit without his/her knowledge should report to police,” said Kooli.

He said that they have embarked on sensitization to members of the public against use of technology to commit crime.

BY standard

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Introducing Baba Mboga



If you told Sydney Muhando last year that he would be running a fresh produce grocery city business, he definitely would not have agreed.

The online comedian and drama teacher who is also a video editor was on stage with his trainees in a competition when the first case of Covid-19 was announced in the country.

This was followed by indefinite closure of schools. For him, he knew it would only take a few days before schools reopen. It has now taken six months for candidates to resume their studies.

In the same period, Mr Muhando has grown his online business, Baba Mboga Deliveries, a name he says he chose because of its uniqueness.

Every morning, he wakes up at dawn to go to Wangige Market, one of the largest markets in Kiambu County where he gets assorted fruits and vegetables.

He then sorts them according to what has been ordered and packages them in bags ready to deliver to his customers doorsteps.

Social media pages

Most of the time, people especially in urban residential areas purchase their vegetables and other fresh products from local shops just near their homes commonly known as ‘Mama Mboga’.

“I stayed for two months without a job and life became difficult and  I knew I could not sustain myself for long. My friend had been sending me to the market to get grocery for him at a fee and that is how I identified the gap,”  he says.

With a capital of Sh800 and running short of time, the 28-year-old started purchasing more food from the market, posting them on his social media pages to let his friends know about it. He then delivers them to his customers.

He explains that being a city, many residents hardly get time to go to the market, especially to get traditional or indigenous vegetables. There is also a growing culture for online shopping among Nairobi residents.

“In a city like Nairobi, most people are busy, so I took advantage of that to serve them in their own houses. Many people, were also scared of going to crowded market places fearing that they would contract the disease,”  he says.

Free delivery

For months, Mr Muhando has garnered a huge following both on Facebook and Instagram.

But it is not that easy to open and run social media pages for a full-time online business. Most businesses find it difficult to produce content to market their products.

Luckily, for Mr Muhando who is an online comedian, anything to do with technology is not so hard for him. It only took an hour to create and set up his Facebook account.

“It takes witty captions and for you to have a good camera. It is also important to post the prices. Without seeing the prices, the customers will not be interested in the products, especially if it’s a small business,”  he adds.

He additionally posts the menu for his vegetables, with various discounts to attract customers including free delivery for those purchasing goods worth more than Sh1,000.

To have a variety and almost everything one needs in their kitchen, Baba Mboga apart from greens and fruits also sells spices such as ginger, garlic and onions, with starches such as sweet potatoes and arrowroots as well as eggs.

Invest in branding 

To grow his business, Mr Muhando says it was important to invest in branding for his audience to take it seriously.

He targets families and the busy clientele who could be at work or travelling. On a good day, he makes up to Sh2,000 after delivery.

In his recent innovation, as it is by some business owners who want to add value to their products, he has also introduced the bachelors package, where the traditional vegetables, which usually take time to be made are picked and sorted for easy preparation.

He also does extra services including chopping onions, tomatoes and preparing fruits or vegetables depending on the customer’s orders. Afterwards, he packs them in a branded reusable shopping bag.

As his business expands, Mr Muhando has sought partners who work with him, one, who is in charge of transport and deliveries while another is in charge of a walk-in store he is putting up.

Major challenge 

His major challenge is finding the balance between the cost he uses to purchase the vegetables and delivering them at the customer’s doorstep.

“Since my customers are spread all over, the main issue is balancing the delivery that it does not eat into  my  profits. Competition is also high since more people are now tapping into this business so it requires a lot of improvement and incentives for the customers,”  he says.

Mr Muhando plans to expand his business and even have a walk in store, such as the popular Zucchini, which will in turn create employment for more people as his contribution to the country’s economy.

His advises to young people who unfortunately lost their jobs during the pandemic, “look for other jobs or set up your own businesses,  however small”.

“Keep trying, remember quality service is your biggest advertising,” says Mr Muhando.


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