He could be one of Kenya’s most educated makangas, what with a degree in biochemistry, but still jobless.
At 29, James Mwangi has tarmacked searching for a job since graduating from the University of Nairobi in 2013 without success.
The first of three boys is the son of a photographer father and a house wife mother also tried his hand at various biasharas to no avail in between sending over 200 job applications to among others; pharmaceutical companies and laboratories that would benefit from his knowledge.
He reckons that “getting a job in Kenya without connections or a ‘Godfather’ can be a serious hurdle.”
The alumnus of Gathaiti Primary and Ngenia High school in Limuru told The Nairobian that “I would be a part time teacher at Temple Road high school Nairobi and St Grace Learning Centre Uplands” during semester breaks and even at one time went to Somalia but ended up in a construction firm erecting security infrastructure in 2012.
“When I was invited to Somalia I thought I was going to exercise my knowledge only to be sent to AMISOM camp,” recalls Mwangi adding that the income allowed him to invest in several businesses upon return to Nairobi but they “they did not pick up well” and he ventured into mtumba business besides opening a pub in Banana on the outskirts of Nairobi and the business also “sunk my money.”
Frustrated, Mwangi put his qualifications aside and approached a matatu operations manager in Limuru and requested him to be fixed wherever he could which turned out to be a stage attendant whose job description is verbally calling out for passengers at the main Everbest route terminus in Limuru.
“Mine is basically a job of persuading public to board my SAACO matatus as the competition here is break neck,” explains Mwangi whose other duties include to “follow on SAACO payments by individual matatus.”
Mwangi shrugged off initial discomfort in view of his academic qualifications, but gradually accepted as it is the only job he had. He trousers between Sh10, 000 to Sh12,000 a month which at the moment is better than begging or idling around.
“I call my customers with dignity and with a lot of decorum and this has earned Everbest respect at the terminus,” Mwangi said, adding that he also tries to clean the image people have of touts and matatu operators, which Jane Njeri, a customer concurs saying “Mwangi is courteous, well- groomed and handles us in a very dignified way that’s why I board here.”
Mwangi is still hopeful he’ll one day get a job fit for his qualifications.
“I feel bad but I am determined to soldier on, I am not giving up any time soon," said Mwangi said adding that he consoles himself with the words of American civil rights Dr Martin Luther King Jr who spoke of accepting “finite disappointments, but never lose infinite hope.”