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Youthful MKU student conquers Kigali entertainment scene

At Mount Kenya University’s Department of Journalism – Kigali Campus, there is a spin master, a radio presenter, an actress, a Master of Ceremony and a dancer. And they all answer to the name Anita Pendo.
Standing almost six feet tall, with a slightly intimidating husky voice and dreadlocks to boot, she has that commanding stage presence that fits her choice of careers like a mortise in a tenon joint.

Anita PendoAnita Pendo“It started as a hobby,” says Pendo, 28. Her first gig was as an emcee at an MTN event eight years ago. “My pay cheque was RWF 120,000 (Ksh15,000) per month.”

Now she attracts between RWF 300,00 (Ksh30,000) and RWF 500,0000 (Ksh62,500) per show.
Her rota of past and future events is as busy as the motorcycle-filled streets of Kigali. On February 27, 2015, she was the emcee at the Mr and Miss MKU Kigali Campus 2015 competition. Kenyan musician Jaguar and slapstick comedian Jalang’o were the star performers.

Last year, Pendo was the emcee when P-Square, Diamond and international Jamaican sensation Sean Kingston performed in Kigali. She recalls the P-Square event as one of her best so far.  

“It was held at Amahoro stadium, packed to the brim,” she says, not a tinge of stage freight in her voice. The stadium has a sitting capacity of over 60,000 people.

In March 2015, Pendo will be spreading her love to Bujumbura, Burundi, when she will emcee at Moto Concert, billed to be one of East Africa’s biggest gospel music shows. Kenya’s Esther Wahome, and One Nation from Rwanda will be among the performers during this concert.

“To be a good emcee, I strive to understand the performer and the audience before the show. Whatever I say to keep the show moving varies with the event.”

Her emceeing duties mostly take place in the 5pm-to-midnight hours. In between, she divides her time between class (where she is a semester eight student in Journalism and Mass Communication), radio and club dee-jaying, and, occasionally, dancing and acting with Mashirika, a 35-member strong troupe based in Kigali.

Every weekday morning from 6am to 9:30am, Pendo is at Magic FM doing her Magic Morning Show. On Wednesday evenings, she is the resident DJ at Fantastic club. She replays the overnight deejaying routine at City Lounge Pub every Friday and Saturday.

“I’m happy with my achievements,” she says. “I’m already financially independent and I pay my own school fees besides that of my siblings.” She is the eldest in a family of seven.

Question: Doesn’t she raise eyebrows by playing roles that are traditionally conceived to belong to the realm of men? “Well, women, unlike men, can do many things at the same time. We are blessed with sharp minds. Chauvinistic men should change their attitude.”

With the Mashirika troupe, Anita has performed at many high profile events graced by Rwanda’s first lady, Her Excellency Janet Kagame. “Alongside my grandmother, the first lady is my role model,” Anita says.        
Future plans? “I want to finish my studies and package myself as an international brand to exercise my talents not only in East Africa but beyond.”

Meet the trendsetting trio of job creators

The mantra “be a job creator, not a job seeker” has been used so often in MKU circles that it has evolved into a reflex. But for these three students from Mombasa Campus, they have embraced the mantra, perfected it, and are now living it out.

Bonfic Mochache
Programme: Bachelor of Business Management
Age: 30
His enterprise: CoastaldeSalsa, a six-member group of Salsa dancers that performs at corporate and high profile social events.
Average monthly income: Ksh80,000
Number of employees: Six
He says: “I discovered my passion for dancing when I was a kid. I even have a dance floor in my house. Why not profit from this passion? We have performed at Serena Beach Hotel, Miss Tourism Mombasa event, Mr and Miss MKU, and we were the star show at Flamingo Hotel’s New Year Eve’s party.

Cyprian Kilonzo Cyprian Kilonzo Cyprian Kilonzo
Programme: Masters of Business Administration (Strategic Management)
Age: 30
His enterprises: Jubilant Kenya (the flagship), Jubilant Capital Integrity Solar Systems, Finito Security Services, Faida Capital and Talantas Insurance Agency Ltd.
Annual turnover: Ksh100 million
Number of employees: 63
He says: “A few years ago, I used to conduct Christian Missions and I realized the words of encouragement I shared with the congregation on financial success wasn’t enough. Why not start something that would actually be beneficial to them? The community microfinance was thus born. You can achieve all you want in life. It’s simply a matter of choice. My dream is to have 10 profitable companies by the time I’m 40.”


Linet KariukiLinet KariukiLinet Kariuki
Programme: Bachelor of Business Management (Supplies and Procurement Management)
Age: 22
Her enterprise: Linda Africa Security Services, whose vision is “to be the most recognized security company in the provision of customer focused, personal and corporate security services in Kenya.”
Number of employees: 15
She says: “Insecurity is a major challenge facing government, business, private and public institutions. Modern organisations are adopting a proactive approach using electronic technology, which seek to pre-empt and minimize the occurrence of an attack or destruction of property and persons. To effectively implement this, a well-trained personnel to and the systems and be able to detect any criminal activity, is a must. We, at Linda Africa Security Services have dedicated a lot of resources in the training of high caliber guards to man facilities, such as yours. A good insurance package is not adequate, as businesses are looking for continuity in their daily operations and not only the ability to recoup losses.”

Timeless lessons on wealth creation

Everybody can succeed financially regardless of his or her status in life and current well-being.  Speaking to soldiers of the 12 Engineers Batallion recently, Dr. Philemon Bureti, the Corporate Affairs and Communication Director said personal development is influenced by the choices one makes, and wealth does not discriminate. “A lot of the time,” said Dr. Bureti, “we blame our employers for our failures… if only they paid us more….sometimes we blame the government,” he opened his talk on ‘Strategies of Wealth Creation’. The topic of the day was ‘Preparation for Retirement’, which in Army lingua, its called The Pillar Five of Training. “I chose the topic on wealth creation because it is an important topic that cuts across the economic and social cadres.” Below is his presentation in full.   

WEALTH  CREATION BY Dr. PHILEMON BURETI : Dip Ed, Bed, Med, Phd, Senior Lecturer,Director Corporate Communication, Mount Kenya University

Nobody else can change your situation, but you.  The circumstances you find yourself in today are not anybody else’s fault.  Many of us have gotten into the habit of blaming other people for the way our lives have turned out.  A lot of the time we blame our employers; if only they paid us more….sometimes we blame the government.  However, this blame game has to stop, because whenever you shift blame to someone else, you give up you power and responsibility.  Take back control.  Ask yourself:  Now that I’m here, what am I going to do about it?
Seems obvious enough and we all know we should do this, yet most of us struggle with this.  Think about it this way, that little amount that you refrain from spending could go a long way in helping make your financial situation better.
     When you loose the comfort of a regular income you realize that the Ksh.300 you spent on 3 bottles of beer daily adds up to Kshs.9,000 per month and kshs.108,000 per year.  What can you do with sh108, 000 in savings each year?  It could mean that you finally afford to go on that holiday that you have always dreamt of or it helps you pay off your debt faster or make an investment which will put more money in your pocket.  Either that, or you can continue spending sh108,000 on drinks every year in lieu of meeting your financial goals.

There is a difference between assets and ‘flossets’.  Assets increase your money (e.g. investments, businesses) and ‘flossets reduce your money.  Ironically, society believes people are wealthy by the amount of flossets they have e.g cars, trendy clothes, latest phones, shoes, houses they live in, lifestyle gadgets, etc.  These items have no bearing on how wealthy you are.  You need more things that put money in your pocket and less of those that remove it.

Do not take a loan to buy ‘flossets’.  That’s what we call bad debt and it will take you many steps backward.  Good debt i.e. debt that will lead to increased assets will take you forward.

My personal definition of wealth creation is the ability to multiply resources.  Start with evaluating how you use the resource called time.  Do you spend more time doing things that remove money from your pocket or things that put money in your pocket?  Use your time wisely and multiply your knowledge, skills, networks and this will ultimately lead to multiplication of your financial resources.  Maybe you don’t have money in your bank account right now but you can still start multiplying these other resources to your benefit.

Making one million shillings will not make you happy?  Why?  When you do get it, you will want 10 million shillings and so on.  You have got to come to terms with why you actually want to make money?  A good way to think about it is:  if you had all the money in the world, what would you do (after buying all the things you think you would want)?  Would you spend more time with family, travel, establish an organisation, help others?  Money is a tool to help you achieve these things; it is not in itself what you really want.  Identify the deeper reason why you want to become wealthy.

Keep the kind of company that provides an environment that is conducive to wealth creation.  The people that complain about being broke all the time are not the right company.

Eventually everybody will get to a point where income is his or her most important financial requirement.  You may retire and still need an income to sustain your life.  You may lose a job along the way and realize the importance of income.  You may be unable to work or simply want to be able to make the choice not to work.  One day the source of your income will have to move from your ability to work 40-60 hours a week, to your investments.  Your investments will need to be generating that income to keep you going.  What is your plan to grow or structure your investments so that they can generate the amount of income you need?

This is the pill that is sometimes hard to swallow.  Creating wealth cannot be all about you.  A selfish attitude leads to small thinking.  When it is all about you:  what can you spend, what can you buy, etc., you may end up achieving that but only that.  You can do so much more.  What you want for yourself is important but when you combine this with a bigger picture that includes family, those around you, your community, etc.  You see things in a whole different perspective.  The best investments you make may not be those that you made when you were thinking about yourself, but those that you made when you were thinking about the future generation because you were willing to take a long-term view.  What do you want to be remembered for?

A huge amount of money will not fall on your lap one day and sort all your problems out.  You will not get a life-changing deal.  The process of wealth creation is choice not chance.  Having a vision as opposed to just focusing on survival.  Action not just ideas.  Empowerment not creating dependence.