Real estate mogul PETE MURAYA of Suraya Property Group knows that persistence pays. He made several wrong moves before he finally hit jackpot. He owes his success to his unwavering faith and supportive wife, writes PETER MUIRURI
Sitting comfortably in his modest office along Shanzu Link, Pete Muraya portrays the very picture of contentment. The multi-billion real estate venture he and his wife Sue created six years ago has become a brand of sorts, revolutionalising people’s lifestyles brick by brick.
But life was not always cosy for Pete, the soft-spoken CEO of Suraya Property Group. His has been a long and treacherous journey that started in his home area of Kahaini, Muranga County.
His father, then an officer in charge of the bustling Kenya Prison Industries made sure that the young boy got a taste of two worlds – city and rural life.
At Kamiti Nursery School, Pete had the luxury of donning shoes, a ‘privilege’ he lost when his father decided to transfer him to Mugecha Full Primary School in Kandara for the first three years of primary education.
“When I reported to the local school, I was chased away for wearing shoes while everyone else walked barefoot. As a result, jiggers had a party feasting on my soft feet. Thankfully, we had some local antiseptic, the bitter juice of ndongu (solanum) plant,” recalls Pete.
He was again transferred to Nairobi Primary for the remainder of his basic education. Still, all holidays were spent working on the family’s coffee farm in Murang’a.
Pete joined Lenana High School both for his O and A levels from 1975 to 81 where he became a proficient rugby player. Yet, growing up in a family of three brothers and four sisters turned Pete into a hustler of sorts.
“I would hire my father’s pickup and transport other people’s coffee to the factory as my first foray into the world of business. So good was the venture that by the time I was joining the University of Nairobi in 1982, I had ‘graduated’ to transporting French beans to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport,” says Pete.
Pete later graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1987.
Having tried his hand in menial work, Pete had already made a resolve of not going for formal employment.