By Odumbe Kute via FB
I wanna celebrate real hustlers. I’m not talking about chicken selling thieves who only saw their first 10k courtesy of YK92 500 bobs aka Jirongos and end up being billionaires. It’s a good thing Forbes don’t chronicle political thieves because anyone who starts selling chickens and ends up being a dollar multi-millionaire absofuckinglutely ends up in the top 0.1% of their entrepreneur list.
I wanna celebrate real hustlers because you are the people who surmount incredible odds to survive and feed your families, give hope to those who believe your dreams are valid, and wake up every single day without a safety net, yet despite all that is thrown at you, you always find a way out of a jam.
I wanna celebrate real hustlers because times are hard and earth is hard. Being a real hustler is a necessity despite the fact that some wheel barrow bottom up economic chanting thieves have chosen to use the plight of the natives as a fad and means to oppress and exploit the masses.
I wanna celebrate the real hustlers because I’m a hustler. I was taught by the best. My late mother – bless her cotton socks, my former high school mates, friends that I found in the darkest days of my life and we dragged each other out of the nightmare that was life.
I was catching up with an old friend, an old hustler like me. We laughed so hard about the good old traumatic days and how far we’ve got. We laughed about days we used to walk around town in Nairobi as we dreamt about how we would dress very sharp when we got the money. You should have seen us browsing around Abdullah Fazal and Little Red as if we were ever going to afford the designer clothes they sold. You should have seen us at Khans on Kenyatta Avenue trying out classy moccasins we were never going to afford.
If you don’t remember Abdullah Fazal, Little Red and Khan’s, then you never dreamt of finer things when it came to fashion. But we found our ways. For the shoes, Oduori came along. Oduori made a killing out of duplicating designer moccasins from Khan and other major shops and his prices were very friendly for natives like us. If you didn’t wear Oduori’s shoes, you were nobody.
For the threads, there was always Sunshine Boutique aka Gikomba. I know there’s a mitumba craze now, but back in the day, if you were trying to survive in high society Nairobi, you could never mention that the classy trousers and polo shirt you were wearing came from Sunshine Boutique. You had to be meticulous in scouring and hunting the cool outfits. Keeping up appearances was the only way to survive in high society. We were doing it way before we even met Hyacinth Bucket – the lady of the house.
Shopping in Gikomba was an experience I tell you. There were days you could just crack up in laughter. These merchants had piles of mitumba and they even sometimes lay on them. Make a mistake of checking out a garment and lining it up across your body to see if it fits and in front of everyone, the seller would shout “Mama, Wacha kulala kama nyoka. Nunua hiyo nightdress”.
What are the craziest things you’ve ever done for the hustle? Things that you thought you’d never do but necessity bitched slapped reality into you and you ended up doing it. I started young in high school. I used to write love letters for my high school mates, guys who couldn’t express themselves properly for one reason or another. You have no idea how lucrative that business was. I was paid in cash, with bread, in favours, you name it. I didn’t know it then, but I was what people now call a ghost writer.
That’s how I earned my beer money back in the day. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped hustling. If you’re a hustler, I celebrate you, especially if you haven’t become a billionaire from selling chickens.