The matatu industry in Kenya is one of the biggest employers in the country. This sector provides income of hundreds of thousands and has made some people very rich. Some well known money men started working in the matatu industry before branching out to bigger and better things, including Bonfire Adventures CEO Simon Kabu. One other person who has made a fortune through the industry and loves the limelight Jamal Roho Safi.
Jamal Roho Safi is an entrepreneur who knows how to turn situations in his favor and make good money while doing so.
Born in a family of 14 children, the businessman comes from an Islamic family and is a practicing Muslim as well. He was raised in Kajiado before relocating to South C. Upon completing high school, his mother really wanted him to become a pilot but the young man did not have a passion for it and would later use money meant for his education to buy his first ever Matatu.
Immediately after high school, he decided to become a tout and diligently did this for two years. Later, he bought his own matatu and employed a driver and a tout while he went ahead to become a driver in someone else’s vehicle. Even while driving, he had a vision to make it and worked towards achieving this.
When the directive for matatus to become a Sacco became serious, he asked some friends whether they could come together to form one but they declined. Therefore, he registered his Sacco Telaviv and little by little other matatus began to join him and he charged them a certain amount for them to be part of the Sacco. This is how he began making a lot of money.
Later, he was elected chairman of matatu association, a position he has now held for four years. He still has two more years before his term ends.
Today, he is also venturing to the online business and came up with the concept Ajira Chap Chap whose aim is to hook job seekers with jobs and employers with employees.
Jamal met his first wife Amira back in high school and the two got married and were blessed with two sons. She stood by him through his difficult moments and never gave up on him.
Late 2020, popular blogger Edgar Obare exposed him for having an affair with socialite Amber Ray and released several pictures of the two looking all lovey dovey. Later, Jamal introduced her as his second wife something that did not sit well with the first wife.
Amira said she understands that the Islamic religion allows for two wives, however, she felt bad that she had to find out about Amber through social media. This has led to a bitter online war with the two launching vicious attacks against each other.
According to the chairman of Matatus association, he loves both his wives and it is within his religious rights to marry up to four wives. He further stated that Amber changed his life before meeting her he would spend time and money on other ladies but after meeting Amber he has settled down.
Surviving on Loans
Jamal’s first wife Amira has bastardised reports on the media suggesting that her husband is super rich. She told Edgar Obare that her man “……is not rich. He lives on loans,” adding that he survives “na madeni ya watu”.
In a swift rejoinder, Jamal told Word Is that he has three bank loans amounting to Kes320 million.
“I owe Sh150 million in loans to a bank and another Sh80 million and another bank I owe Sh90 million. If you owe three banks that amount then you have a good income to sustain those loans…”, the flamboyant businessman stated.
“A bank is not your mother’s house to check-in and they will just front you the cash. They have to look at your net worth, assets and then decide to give you a loan,” he said defending his borrowing spree.