By Prudence Minayo
In October 2020, Deputy President William Ruto visited Embakasi West on a campaign trail and after addressing a number of youths, he afterwards distributed wheelbarrows and hand carts (mkokotenis).
Anthony Ngumo who was in the crowd saw an opportunity and seized it. Throwing himself on DP Ruto’s convoy, the ambitious young man begged for a hand cart. He had a mobile car wash business and renting a hand cart was eating into his profits.
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“I was determined, very. I wanted my own mkokoteni. I was tired of leasing one,” he said during an interview with TV 47 on September 3, 2021.
One week after the encounter, Embakasi West Member of Parliament George Theuri called him to the office and gave him a brand new hand cart. He branded it ‘Every hustle counts.’
Ngumo was born and raised in the slums of Dandora. His parents parted ways when he was still a young boy.
After primary school, he joined Kimunyu Boys High School in Gatundu, Kiambu county. He was not a fan of education and in form two, hoping to be expelled, he led a strike. His plan failed. Later, he provoked a fight with a teacher and was finally expelled.
The young man’s behaviour angered his father. Nonetheless, he managed to secure a day school for Ngumo. Uninterested in education, he dropped out of school in form four.
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Wanting to make quick money, he resorted to picking locks and burglary. His luck ran out when he was caught in the act and attacked by a mob, only surviving by a whisker.
Venturing into Business
The near-death experience changed the trajectory of his life. He began to grind for his earnings. He started out by carrying goods in a hand cart and earning between Ksh150 to Ksh500 a day. He saved part of the money and began hawking dresses, women’s shoes and sweets. However, county council enforcement officers were always on his case prompting him to give up on the hustle.
Finding out how sweet it was to earn through his own sweat, he went back to the hand cart business. At first, he bought a second-hand wheelbarrow and a 100-litres water tank. He started a mobile car and motorcycle washing business. This was convenient to the motorists who had the car wash going to them rather than them going to the car wash.
Having saved enough, he bought a car wash machine that was powered by solar and two more carts. He also rented a mkokoteni at Ksh150 per day.
By watching YouTube videos, he was able to know how to connect and use the machine. On average, he washes 10 cars and 10 motorbikes a day. Depending on the details, he charges between Ksh100 to 3000 per wash. He has one employee and wishes to grow more in future and get a permanent license.
“This will double up as my office for those enquiring about the mobile services,” said the budding entrepreneur who hopes to be a car dealer one day.