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‘Our self-taught careers took off and gained ground’

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PRISCILLA KAMANDE

By PRISCILLA KAMANDE
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What are you doing on the Internet? It is no secret that the internet has greatly affected the way we interact among ourselves, and altered operations in many organisations. We have become dependent on it for almost all our daily activities. We shop, communicate, read news and even watch movies online. And now, a crop of young people has emerged, and they are taking things to the next level. They are learning different skills and transforming themselves into self-taught professionals just by watching online tutorials. What’s more, they are competing favourably at their respective workplaces against colleagues who have gone through formal training.

This week, we had a chat with three young Kenyans who have capitalised on the internet to create impressive careers.

One need not look far to find a list of individuals who excelled in careers that were founded entirely on online tutorials.

The most popular of them is no doubt Kenyan javelinist Julius Yego, the first Kenyan to win a World Championships gold medal in a field event. Also known as “the You Tube Man”, Yego taught himself how to throw the javelin by watching videos on YouTube.

Playing Javelin requires technique, power, flexibility and speed, and the 30-year-old learnt all these skills from online tutorials. Within no time, he ascended to the top of the Kenyan Javelin scene, and became the world champion we celebrate today.

Mahila Mohammed is a self-taught Kenyan chef who recently made headlines when she became the first African woman to win an international cooking award. The Mombasa-based cook earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records after cooking for 75 hours inside the Kenya Bay Beach Hotel kitchen in Mombasa.

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Also ranking high on the list of individuals who’ve excelled in self-taught careers is Asmelash Zorefu, an Ethiopian man who learnt how to build a plane through the internet.

The 39-year-old single handedly completed the construction of Ethiopia’s first ever homebuilt aircraft by reading aviation books and watching YouTube tutorials.

Joel Embiid from Cameroon is enormously thankful to online tutorials, because through them, he learnt a number of basketball skills such as shooting, rebounding, passing, dribbling, blocking and stealing. Joel, who turns out for the Philadelphia 76ers, is now a key member of his team. 

 There is also Louis Rebeiro, an 11-year-old Australian pianist. An eight-minute jaw dropping, impromptu public street performance by the youngster was recorded by his transfixed audience and shared across the globe, with many people greatly appreciating the impeccable skills possessed by one so young. Rebeiro later revealed that he taught himself how to play the piano by watching online tutorials.

Paolo Ballesteros is a renowned self-taught make-up artist from Philippines who specialises in celebrity make-up. She has since revealed that he learnt his immaculate makeup application skills by watching YouTube.

Gidraf Orenjaa Mtange, 24, software engineer



Gidraf Orenjaa Mtange.
Gidraf Orenjaa Mtange.

“Brilliance is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.”

These are the words of Gidraf Orenja, a self-taught Software Engineer.

The 24-year-old spends huge portions of his days working on his computer. He is an employee of Tracom Services Limited, a microfinance software company that help organisations develop customised applications for their operations.

However, he did not learn any software development skills in school. He learnt everything he knows by watching online tutorials.

“My love for technology began when I was 12 years old after I played my first video game at a friend’s house. Before that, I was determined to be a doctor. My love for video games grew exponentially over time and before long, I found myself using my lunch money to access virtual games from the cyber!

“By the time I was 13, I was forced to find alternative sources of money to satisfy my deep thirst for video games. I began collecting and selling scrap metal to supplement my lunch money when I went to play the computer games. That way, I learnt so much about computers at a very young age,” he says.

When he got to secondary school, his interest in computers peaked, and he began looking for information about how the devices performed such marvellous functions.

Gidraf was unable to go to college due to financial constraints, but he secured a job soon after completing his secondary school education as a cyber attendant in Mombasa. There, he worked for three years on a Sh200 daily wage, but he managed to save enough money to buy a laptop.

This enabled Gidraf to learn coding and software development methods from the internet, although he could not always afford Internet bundles.

“I went to one of my previous employers and made him an offer. I would use his Wi-Fi and in return, assist him to run his cyber cafe. I used to walk from Maweni to Shanzu just to get Internet so that I could  access the online tutorials. I was driven by nothing but passion, and because of my determination, I learnt a lot. I am now a software engineer with a substantial salary!

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Gidraf has created a Learning Management App (LMA), which is a web application that helps online learners manage their studies. Learners who have downloaded the app can schedule the academic articles they need to read within a specific period, and the app will notify them when it is time to read. He has also built an app that reminds Matatu passengers to collect their balance before the end of their ride. All the apps are available for download on Google Play.

Mathias Kavuttih, 32, translator and guitarist



Mathias Kavuttih.
Mathias Kavuttih.

Mathias Kavuttih is a professional translator and a self-taught guitarist who plays the bass guitar.

The 32-year-old is a jack of many trades. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Translation at the University of Nairobi, a song writer, vocalist, recording artist and band leader with NU Heritage Band.

He developed an interest in music while he was a child, and he got the motivation to pursue music from his father who was also a self-taught guitarist.

After acquiring the basic skills from his father, Matthias went online and sharpened his abilities on YouTube.

“I started watching online video tutorials seven years ago. My favourite tutors were Musicademy, KF Music, Sage the Drummer and Reggae in the Ruff.

“I was also privileged to receive mentorship from renowned Christian musician Reuben Kagame, who was my father’s friend.”

Mathias laments that although there are several institutions that teach music, there are not as many seasoned guitarists who take time to mentor interested novices. Online videos, therefore, offered him a great platform on which to advance his skills.

“I like learning from these tutorials because they are available online all the time, and that allows me to plan my lessons conveniently. Also, I can watch and re-watch the videos as many times as possible, which helps me perfect my skills.

“Also, I can compare different tutors and the lessons they offer, and that way I get to learn many different ways of playing the guitar,” he says.

To access the treasure trove of online video tutorials, all he needed to do was to buy a bass guitar, a laptop, and some Internet bundles. His favourite genres are Seben, Ballads, Rumba, and Reggae. He is currently learning how to play Jazz.

“I am part of a band, and we regularly get invited to perform at weddings and birthday parties, which helps me get some income. Recently, I have opened my house up for interested beginners to come learn some guitar skills from me at a small fee,” he said.

Matthias’ greatest challenge is that music, especially Christian music, does not pay well in Kenya because some people assume that gospel artists are just volunteers in Christian ministry.

“Also, not many people appreciate music played by live bands. Many prefer to play recorded music off the radio or flash disks, and that denies artists like us an opportunity to showcase our skills.

Antony Carlos Onyango, 24, filmmaker



Antony Carlos Onyango.
Antony Carlos Onyango.

Carlos wears several hats. He is a film producer and founder of EyeCarl Productions, a company that offers an array of services such as shooting and producing music and wedding videos, as well as recoding corporate events.

He is a graduate of Law from the University of Nairobi, and is currently taking an Advocates Training Program at the Kenya School of Law.

Carlos, who is very enthusiastic about film production, has never gone to a film school. He developed an interest in film production when he was only 19 years old, and learnt the requisite skills from YouTube.

“I really enjoyed watching travel videos by YouTube personalities such as Peter McKinnon, Caisey Neistat and Sam Kolder. While watching this videos, I started dreaming about developing my own videos, and so I started watching tutorials that offered tips on video editing and production.”

Initially, Carlos shot and produced his own YouTube videos as a hobby. But now that he has polished his skills and earned the confidence of many clients, he has begun to offer his services at a fee.  He has worked as part of the production crew in a number of TV programmes such as the Samantha Bridal Show and the Kasuku Talent Show. He has also worked with popular video directors such as Enos Olik. He markets his business entirely through social media, and gets most of his clients through referrals.

Carlos, says that despite the fact that the film industry is dynamic and exciting, it has its fair share of challenges.

“Sometimes people don’t trust you because they feel that you don’t have the necessary experience, and they may refuse to offer you a contract just because of that. I’ve experienced situations where I’ve secured an interview based on my online portfolio but when the interviewers met me, they said I was too young and therefore unqualified for the job.

“Also, I am still in school and balancing my Law studies with film production requires discipline, sacrifice and hard work.

“There is more to being on social media than just chatting with friends on Twitter and Facebook. The internet is a classroom where one can learn so much about so many subjects. My advice for those who want to venture into this line of work is that they should pursue their passion, talent and interests, and the money will follow.”

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Singer speaks after attacking lover at WCB signee Zuchu’s star-studded concert

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By Standard Entertainment



56 minutes ago

Controversial singer Gigy Money turned WCB signee Zuchu’s concert into a fight club, hurling shoes at her lover.

On 18 July, there was fanfare at the Mlimani City Hall in Dar es Salaam as WCB signee Zuchu held a thanksgiving concert months after her debut EP, I Am Zuchu. The event dubbed ‘Ahsante Nashukuru’ mainly featured performances by artistes from the WCB stable and attracted the whos-who in the Tanzanian entertainment and political scenes. 

READ ALSO: I’m not behind Diamond, Tanasha split- WCB’s Zuchu sets record straight

However, singer Gigy Money who also performed made the headlines for the wrong reasons after getting into a scuffle with her lover during the much-publicised concert.

READ ALSO: I was bewitched by a friend – Gigy Money

Peaceful arrival, later chaos

Moments earlier, Gigy and her Nigerian man were seen arriving arm in arm at the event whose highlight featured Zuchu receiving a brand new car from WCB head honcho Diamond Platnumz. Donning matching outfits, the couple was spotted on the red carpet as the paparazzi scrambled to capture the moment.  However, all hell breaks loose later and viral videos depict the visibly angered Nigerian arguing with a bouncer at the entrance. After a tense confrontation, Gigy’s man is seen being led by the screaming bouncer towards the exit. Shortly after, a similarly irritated Gigy emerges and follows the pair.

“Gigy! Wewe Gigy wewe!” a woman in the background is heard dissuading the singer from pursuing them but the singer pays no heed and heads for the pair.

“You want to beat me?” the boyfriend is heard asking an approaching Gigy as the bouncer acts as a barrier between them. The bouncer manages to steer the incensed man towards the exit as Gigy follows behind, hurling obscenities.

READ ALSO: I will get a baby with your eldest son – Gigy Money warns Zari

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At some point, a barefoot Gigy turns into a sprint before throwing one of her shoes which hits the man who then responds with an insult. Another bouncer finally intervenes and the two are separated. Gigy then asks for her vehicle so she can head home before warning the press against sharing videos of the incident.

Addresses incident

Though the cause of their tiff is still unknown Gigy later made reference to the shocking incident in a social media post, hinting that alcohol had a part to play in the fracas.  In another post, Gigy shared a photo alongside her estranged lover writing: “My mad man looked handsome before his demons arose and mine arose too.”

‘Running over Ali Kiba’

Gigy is not new controversy and recently said she’d run over her ex, singer Ali Kiba for breaking her heart.

“I will knock all of them down, I mean I will kill them. In fact, I will flatten them like chapatis. The first person I will knock down and kill is Ali Kiba.  Actually, I don’t need a weak car, I need a Fuso so that when I knock him down I will be sure he doesn’t survive,” Gigy told Ayo TV.

READ ALSO: Gigy Money under fire for dirty-dancing with married singer

Dating Kiba brothers

Gigy had in the past admitted to dating both Ali Kiba and his younger brother, Abdu Kiba. She solely laid the blame on Chekecha singer for pursuing her despite knowing that she’d been with his younger brother. Abdu expressed being heartbroken after learning the two had a fling, prompting him to marry.

“I was very hurt on hearing that Ali was dating Gigy Money because I dated her first before she became famous. But it’s alleged that Ali didn’t know. It hurt me for a while till when I married,” said Abdu.

 

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Defunct Nairobi County Council  Nurses Go On Strike, Citing Discrimination By The Government

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Defunct Nairobi County Council  Nurses Go On Strike, Citing Discrimination By The Government

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Why Jahmby Kokai is happy her TV anchor dream never came true

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By Diana Anyango



37 minutes ago

Jahmby Koikai is glad her dream of being a TV anchor never came true.

Popular media personality Jahmby Koikai narrated how her first attempt at auditioning as a TV host backfired and she was sent home on the first day of the audition. Reliving her prime days, Jahmby narrated how she was determined to follow her dream of becoming a news anchor after completing her degree.

“There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro FM. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it.

“Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu?” she posed.

READ ALSO: Jahmby Koikai back in Kenya after a year of treatment abroad

According to the endometriosis survivor, she went ahead to audition for the position despite the warning and was the first contestant to be sent packing.

“So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said some of us have to go home.

“My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news,” she narrated.

READ ALSO: Why I’m walking around with a mask- Jahmby Koikai

Second audition

Later, Jahmby auditioned for another TV opportunity only to miss out as well.

“Then came another opportunity over 10 years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. I didn’t get the job.”

However, due to endometriosis, Jahmby was forced to put her dreams on hold and concentrate on getting better. According to her, it is as though God had better plans for her and is grateful to not have gotten the jobs.

“I battled severe endometriosis in silence for over 19 years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilized all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant.”

 

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There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro Fm. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it. Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu? Nikasema zi. So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said, some of us have to go home. My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news. Then came another opportunity over 10years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. As you see in this pic, I got my hair done at Ralph’s Hair Salon, new suit etc. I didn’t get the job. After KBC, I never got to anchor the news again. I’m grateful I did not get the job even though I felt dejected at the time. I battled severe Endometriosis in silence for over 19years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilised all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant. There are many people like me who are bound by chronic illness and cannot do the things they love. I share your pain. But there’s hope. I’m grateful to God for His reminder that He will restore to you all the years that the locusts have eaten. Also Jer 29:11

A post shared by Jahmby Conqueror (@jahmbykoikai) on

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