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Brooms and groundnuts business sweep clear man's academic journey .

By Joseph Sosi | February 25th 2017
Brooms and groundnuts swept away the misfortunes that were set to ground Nelson Mandela's destiny being raised by guardians as a total orphan in Nairobi's Kawangware.

He learned the art of buying, repackaging and hawking groundnuts as a young boy on the capital's streets where he spent a year of his childhood days as a street boy.

It is the birth of the free primary education in 2003 that came to his rescue making his caregivers realize that his education will be sustainable back at their home in Homa Bay County.

While in Kawangware his schooling was sort of on a moonlighter schedule as livelihood could send him back to the streets on school days to help raise part of the money he required to be in school.

Today, Mandela prides in his blossoming enterprise as a dealer in bags and contracts three people to help him balance class work alongside business as an applied statistics fourth-year student at Maseno University.

Being a self-sponsored student, Mandela knew all would not be easy for him and had set his eyes on his dream of being a prominent business man as he grew up, now he feels not very far from realising.

His faith in making a living out of selling small packs of groundnuts did not end long ago as he had to revive the venture after clearing high school as he awaited his admission to the university but then had a team of friends who worked under him.

It is through this hustle that he made savings that helped start off as a first year coupled with relatives and friends' aid bringing down the business.

In his early days, Mandela realised brooms could bring home the bacon as most of his colleagues appeared traveling to the nearby Luanda market to purchase the home-made brooms.

He opted to invest his Sh750 pocket money in the readily available market for the brooms delivering them to each room and demanding ten shillings from occupants of every room that needed one.

He could only do this at night as he feared being identified as a first year could harm his then only friend to lean on as he had known no one in the institution.

It is through this undertaking that Mandela obtained venture capital for the start of his Mandela International Bags then a twelve bag-roadside display stall with each going for Sh 50 and Sh150.

Mandela now has two retail shops at Maseno township with two attendants who help serve his customers mostly university students who buy the bags at prices ranging between Sh 50 and Sh 4,500 depending on their size, design, fashion and style they reckon with.

He reveals that striving to satisfy customer needs is the heart of the success of every business man, however, diverse they may be.

This year, being his final year as a student he has a move to establishing a car wash in Homa Bay and sites the lecturers' strike as the major challenge so far as it has affected his business as sales had deteriorated as a result of most of his customers having deserted the institution.
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