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John Nyaoke: Farmer turned sculptor reaping returns

By Amimo Zacchaeus | May 11th 2016

With numerous financial needs directly requiring his attention John Nyaoke, whose horticulturalist projects returns kept on dwindling, has found a new means of income. He now blends sculpturing with farming which has seen him grow his earnings.

“Farming was at its best before everybody gave it a stab not to mention having to deal with hooligans who steal the ready produce from my farm,” says the disgruntled father of seven.

The 74-year-old turned to sculpting, a skill he learned from a British tutor in 1961 while at Asumbi Intermediate school, and where he now devotes much of his time and energy.

“When I resorted to this venture, my competitors wrote my obituary but today I regret the amount of time I squandered toiling the barren land,” Nyaoke says as he makes final touches to a primate representation which he is to deliver to a client.

The sculptor has created a clientele base from within his home county and needs not to travel miles away searching for buyers as was the case before.

“Initially I would travel all the way to Tabaka, Kisumu or Nairobi to sell my art works. But today, I have clients just a stone throw away,” he says in reference to many posh hotels in Oyugis town and its environs that play host to tourists.

The amounts that Nyaoke makes depends on the material used. Wooden sculptors fetch between Sh1,200 and Sh3,000 while the clay moulded ones fetch between Sh900 and Sh2,000.

The elderly man believes his business is doing well not just because of his skill but also because he has no competition and the raw materials are readily available.

“I dream of one day having a showroom where I can showcase all my artwork,” he says.

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