Orphaned Kibera father of twins wins Sportpesa Mega Jackpot
Matatu touts aggressively call passengers and a group of young men sit casually outside a barber shop as two women engage in deep conversation at a milk vending machine.
Such is the routine start to the day that marked Wednesday, February 7, 2018, for residents of Olympic estate in Kibera.
But it is a day they most likely will never forget.
It all began with the arrival of the SportPesa motorcade - a light grey limousine, blue SportPesa minivan, several small cars and a procession of motorbikes, just a few minutes to midday.
The scene suddenly created a frenzy at the cramped Olympic shopping centre, consisting mainly of ramshackle tin structures.
It is this dusty and unassuming slum that has produced Kenya’s latest millionaire, 35-year-old Gordon Paul Ogada.
Mr Ogada won Sh230,742,881, the highest sports betting amount ever won in East Africa. He won by correctly predicting the outcome of 16 games played over the weekend. The 17th game was postponed, leading to a public live draw on Tuesday, which established Ogada as the winner of the mega jackpot.
“I cannot believe he won. He was just a hustler like me,” screams Ogada’s friend Eric Odhiambo, before rushing off to join the growing crowd.
Many of the residents and businesspeople operating outside Ogada’s home are confused.
"What is happening? Is there a riot?” enquires a worried woman, as she quickly locks up her rickety hair saloon. As the screams and chants of Ogada’s eager and electrified friends spread, so does word that an Olympic resident, one of their own, has won the SportPesa jackpot. As more residents learn of the win, the celebration grows.
While Ogada’s friends religiously chant his name and push through crowds and security to greet him inside the limousine, more residents abandon their shops and join the happy crowd.
The young man’s friends form part of the procession that escorts Ogada to the award ceremony at the Carnivore Restaurant in Langata, where SportPesa Head of Customer Care Emily Gichuhi hands him a dummy cheque.
“Jackpots are not about winning but about providing ordinary people with extraordinary opportunities,” said Ms Gachuhi.
True to her word, Ogada's life has changed in an extraordinary way. The moderately tall man with a protruding belly has had a difficult life.
Orphaned at 15, he left his home in Migori County and set out for Nairobi. He settled in Kibera, where he met his wife, Agnes Nasirumbi, who works as a receptionist at the Kibera office of NGO Shining Hope For Communities. Ogada, the father of eight-year-old twins Ryan and Ramsey, is a community health worker at Kemri CDC.
“On Sunday, he asked me whether I was ready for my life to change,” reveals his jubilant wife. “I was so nervous, at first I did not believe it,” she said of the moment she found out about her husband’s win.
Ms Nasirumbi admitted that at first, her husband’s betting habit annoyed her.
“He would get up in the middle of the night to bet and since I did not really understand what betting was, I would get angry. However, I eventually accepted it and even started supporting him when he did not have the money to bet,” she says.
According to Ogada, betting has formed a pivotal part of his life.
“I have a laptop and WiFi so everyday I analyse the games then bet”.
Over the past year, he has won more than Sh100,000. On Tuesday night, after the announcement by SportPesa that he had won the mega jackpot, he won another Sh200,000. Coincidentally, on the same night, Samuel Abisai, who won the Sh221 million jackpot in May 2017, won Sh50,000.
Apart from telling his wife that her life was about to change, Ogada also told his friend a major event was going to happen on the weekend he won the jackpot.
For the moment, Ogada and his wife say they are still figuring out their next move since the win came so unexpectedly.
“I am happy that Ogada has joined the league of millionaires. Welcome to the club,” said an excited Mr Abisai. “You will get a lot of pressure. Everyone will tell you what to do but just relax and do what you love, not what people want you to do,” advised Abisai.
“I started a business that supplies paint in the whole East Africa region and bought two vehicles, one personal and the other for work,” he said.
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