Photo: Courtsey

By William Osoro(@iamosoro)

Years back, owning a TV set was a symbol of wealth. Who would have thought that years later public transport vehicles would have this pieced possession?  From cramped force me by force matatus to ones with VIP sections. Indeed the Kenyan transport industry imetoka far and so have the operators.

Donda,konda,makanga call them as you like. They are the tax collectors in matatus.

Despite the fact that we interact with them on an almost daily basis, many Kenyans have misconceptions about them.

I remember boarding a mat and the lady sitting beside me started complaining; “These guys are too loud, they need to tone down on the shouting”.

“Forgive me lady, but he gets paid for being loud. Are you paid for your loud makeup?”, I whisper in my head while nodding my head.


Depending on the route you are travelling, this might be true. However, dondas are turning into the trendsetters in terms of fashion.  Have you ever boarded a Rongai bound mat and looked at the attires the dondas  dorn?  Man, those brothers sure do know their way around Gikomba.

After complementing the look with some cologne and a smile, what will stop your girl from falling for the jamaa?


Who said dondas are unschooled?

Recently while in a matatu plying the Kasarani route, I get to talk to the donda.  Mwas, as he is referred to, is a fourth year student at the University of Nairobi’s school of business and is due to graduate December.

In a bid to supplement the money sent by his parents in Western Kenya, he decided to be a donda. “Hii wera iko fiti” (it is a nice job) the charismatic tout says.

So next time you board a mat, don’t think your degree makes you better than the donda, you never know


Some time back, two visiting lady friends came to my crib (sic) in tears. “What happened?” I ask, the vigilante in me roused.

Kwani Justin Beiber amekufa?” (Talk of die-hard Beliebers), I further enquire after getting no response.

Aki imagine the konda in the mat we boarded (sob) ametuibia”, Jane says, her European accent suddenly forgotten.

Yeah… yeah, some are thugs but why be so stereotypic? After all, every market place has its mad man. The same way every parliament has its made men and women (feminists, hope you are happy).


Dondas are generally viewed as being broke kuliko watu wa ofisi.

On a good day, a donda in a souped up mat can go home a cool Sh 3500 richer or even more! Yes you heard that right.

The least amount such a donda can go home with is Sh 1500. I can read your mind; are you thinking about quitting that office job?

I know of a donda with a Blackberry Bold 9790 and IPhone 5s complete with the purchase receipts.

You better give that donda respect because he might be earning as much as your boss.