In Kenya, being raised up in slums comes with a lot of challenges ranging from the obvious health risks to high crime rates. It is a fact that these densely populated are also poorly connected to various social services. A majority of Nairobi’s slums are known to be the home to thousands of poor people who survive on menial jobs to make ends meet.
However, sometimes individuals raised in such difficult environments have been able to develop resilience and ultimately uncloaked the shroud of poverty. This article will feature renowned personalities who were brought up in slums.
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Professor Laban Ayiro is the current Vice Chancellor of Daystar University. He holds an admirable curriculum vitae and is a professor of research methods and statistics.
Ayiro was raised in an impoverished family in Kibera slums. As a matter of fact, he shared a single room together with his parents and had his school fees paid by a white medic who was being driven to work by his father.
“I am somebody with a very humble background, growing up the slums of Kibera has defined my life in a very special way, and dictated my path, and how I relate to other human beings,” he proudly says
The former Moi University acting VC was a sharp student whose school fees was paid by the father’s boss but along the way the medic relocated back to his native country. However, Ayiro went on to score impressive grades in secondary school, missing out on a medicine degree cutoff points by a small margin.
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Ayiro was frustrated when he couldn’t join the medical profession but his mother convinced him to pursue education. He has over the years risen to become a man of many hats in the education sector.
The former Citizen TV news anchor was also brought up in the sprawling Kibera slums. Sadly, his father was deep into alcoholism and this meant that Mwakazi’s mother was the sole breadwinner of the family.
The mother was a cleaner earning only ksh 3000 monthly, but managed to ensure her son got educated. Due to his deep voice, he secured what would be his life-changing opportunity when his presentation impressed one of the bosses at Hot 96 radio. Later on, Royal Media Services tapped him as a news anchor for Power Breakfast morning show.
According to Mwakazi, he was comfortable living in Kibera but it was only after getting out that he realized how ghetto people are deprived of opportunities. He currently owns an event organization company and still does voice over commercials.
Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma
Eric Ouma is a defender who plays the left back position for the Kenyan side Harambee Stars and Swedish side AIK. He is nicknamed ‘Marcelo’ because he always looked up to the popular Real Madrid fullback.
Known for his undying love for omena, Ouma grew up in the squalid Kibera slum where he honed his skills at a tender age before joining the Green Commandos in secondary school. Ouma once played for Gor Mahia.
The musician was raised in Mathare slums and his debut song ‘sitolia’ which featured Gloria Muliro was an emotional reminder of the hardships he had gone through. The award-winning artiste at one point dropped out of school because of financial constraints. Willy Paul would later establish himself in the gospel genre before he switched to secular music in 2018.
Born Eunice Wanjiru Njoki, the comedienne grew up in Kibera and was raised by a single mother. Unfortunately, she has never gotten to know her father though her mother single-handedly ensured she got educated.
Mammito holds a degree in community development and got into stand up comedy after she struggled to land a job. Through numerous auditions at Churchill show, she finally landed the opportunity in 2015.