Skip to main content

Cunning Nairobi Hawkers

Have you ever wondered how easy it is to de-fraud the public? Do you think that you need to be a politician to defraud the public? It is quite easy to defraud the public, and secondly, politicians work very hard and in fact most of their income is handed to them on a silver platter, been the gate keepers of Government contracts. Whether politicans defraud the public shall be left to another day. As for how easy it is to defraud the public, Jeffrey Acher, in one of his novels, illustrates a couple of guys who send in a classified Ad to the dailies reading "Deadline near. Send your money quickly." According to Archer, the guys received money. Whether it was just a piece of imagination or an actual occurence we leave it to the author.

Yesterday, I happened to take a Kenya Bus Services Management bus, yes , one of the buses responsible for intoducing a large hole on half of my pin striped suit with their crude seats. I boarded the bus travelling from Teleposta towers, previous headquarters of Telkom to their new headquarters of the even stranger Telkom-Orange based at Telkom Plaza. As I wasted time waiting for the bus to get full , some hawkers boarded the bus to peddle thier wares. It was a waste of time because the strange frenchman who I had a scheduled interview with at Orange would later decide that his schedule had better meetings than a scheduled one with some small time journalist.

The hawkers, are not your ordinary hawker. This hawkers have choreographed voices to start with. The mostly male hawkers, have a deep crooning baritone voice that makes you believe that you are part of a perfromance which you would perform better by buying from them. It takes talent too, to be a hawker.

This hawkers were selling airtime. You would think anyone who needs airtime already purchased it on the ground. Wrong!.The hawkers announced that they were selling special airtime vouchers that increased the chances of one winning the ongoing "Masonko na Safaricom" promotion. This sepcial cards had a different design from the normal ones and would receive higher consideration when selecting the promotion winners.

My fellow passengers, on a Kibera bound bus purchased the airtimes in droves. Kibera, fellow readers (yeah, am a reader of this blog!) is a slum once touted to be the biggest in Africa and attracted tourists from far and wide including Barrack Obama and Chris Rock. That was until a census held an year ago showed that the actual popualtion was a tenth of the estimated million. Maybe that's why it took an year to get the results released, they had to verify Kibera's population!. And so the Kibera destined passengers purchased the airtime in high dominions of Ksh. 100, maybe hoping that their probability of winning was almost 1 (in mathematics, a probability of 1 is equivalent to 100%).

Well, those keen enough should notice that Safaricom is busy undertaking a promotion to wound up its 10 year party (More on this on the next issue of CIO East Africa magazine). As part of the fanfare, Safaricom has decided to re-brand and re-design its cards and this day happened to be day 1 of the new cards. The hawkers must have sang all the way to their M-PESA accounts.

Meanwhile, I hope the reason the Orange CEO decided that I should waste 2 hours but not see him was because he was engrossed in a meeting with one of this hawkers on how to sell to the market!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Kenyan in Addis Ababa (Part 2) - The "University Girls"

This post continues from Part 1. 

The residents of Addis are friendly too. On my first day, I did meet a guard at a hotel, who later offered to show me around. Among the places he suggested, was this place where some “University girls” were holding some "dancing ceremony". He added, that Ethiopians being Orthodox Christians, were about to go on a sex, alcohol and meat fast, hence the importance of this “ceremony.”
I had some suspicion that I was being sold to sex, but my guide insisted that this was not a sex sale. Just dancing University girls. We did end up in some nondescript compound, and into a house. There was sort of a sitting area, with a radio system, low benches and tables, and grass sprinkled around the floor. Grass sprinkled around the floor is an Ethiopian tradition that indicates you are welcome to a place.

It was about 5 PM,  and the hosts seemed not to be expecting any visitors at this time. My guide disappeared down some corridor into the back to call them. In…

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.
For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.
Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

Why Kenyans love Kigali (Part 2)

See part 1 of why Kenyans Love Kigali, which this articl is a continuation.

In my previous post on why Kenyans love Kigali, or Rwanda for that matter, I had mentioned on the security of the city. The post however widely dealt with the feel and appearance of the city, and a little bit of the country.

Both of my visits to Kigali have been through the airport, though you may opt for a more adventurous journey by road. Getting to Kigali then required a Kenyan passport, but no visa. Now, all you need to go through both Uganda and Rwandan borders are a National Identity Card.

For travel by air, Rwandair is a cheaper option for Kenyans as compared to our national flag carrier, Kenya Airways. Ironically, most other Africans get to Kigali via Kenya Airways, thought most Kenyans will opt for the cheaper Rwandair. The flights are comfortable and the service on board the 1 hour 15 minutes flight is great.

Depending on the weather, your landing can be quite full of turbulence in Kigali. The airpor…

Kenya Power customers suffer from Ksh 0.5 billion faulty prepaid meters

Kenya Power is a famous company in Kenya, one which draws what my colleagues in media will call "mixed reactions". While those in urban areas such as Nairobi regard Kenya Power as a very unreliable firm, I have heard of villages in rural areas where blackouts go unreported for even 3 days . To the rural people, recent electrification means that at least they get to get electricity for some days, which is better than no electricity.

In urban areas, the story is not any different. Around Imara Daima along Mombasa Road, power is mostly reliable, with blackouts been few in a week, and even at times been less than 10 in a month. In other places in the city, blackouts are a daily occurrence, and in some places, the blackouts are more than meals, counting two teas , breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Another aspect about Kenya Power is the prepaid meters, which like the firm, are equally loved and hated.

Ever since I became proud enough to start paying my own bills, I have used the Keny…

The Idle Life of a Regular Kenyatta University Student.

My education life was quite an active one, till I completed the 8.4. part of 8.4.4. I went to good primary schools, with tuition in class 6-8 and boarding in class 7 & 8. My life in primary was quite full, esp with tuition in class 7 & 8.I passed KCPE and was admitted to a good National School in Nairobi. My High School life was divided into 3 months holiday and 9 months schooling per year, except for 4th form where i spend I had a 1 month holiday between January and November. I was therefore well occupied for the first 12 years of my education.

After sitting for my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education(KCSE) in November 2004, I had to wait for results till March 2005. I was well above the B+ university cut off. Previously in early 2004, we had chosen universities and courses we would like to attend by filling the Joint Admissions Board forms. After the results were out in early 2005, we had to wait till August 2005 for the 2004 KCSE lot to change their university and cours…