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Kitale’s street entertainer

By Geoffrey Arich | August 31st 2016
Man Solo, the Kitale Street entertainer.

When Wekesa Wanyama, from Kitale, dropped out of school in 1996 he was armed with nothing but a passion for music.

A teenager out in the cold with no education and skills, he decided to use his talent and entertain people for money.

Today, the 35-year-old father of five leaves home every morning with his musical instrument mounted on his bicycle which he uses to put food on his family's table.

"I honestly cannot tell you why I did not go far with my studies but am always thankful because my talent turned out to be my only oasis of hope," he says.

Street entertaining is a job many may not consider but Man Solo, as Wekesa is mostly referred (a name he earned from his solo act) is making a killing out of it despite the mockery and difficulties.

Man Solo has learned the different tunes of the regions he visits and it is these he plays to earn his money. Sh20 will earn the listener five minutes of the artists' play while for Sh10 one gets three minutes of enjoyment. From this, Man Solo makes about Sh800 everyday.

He is indeed one of the few individuals who have stepped out of the box to fend for his family. One of his job's advantage is that he is always assured of a daily income since music is appealing to people.

But the job is not without some challenges.

"I always have to be on the move and I sometimes find myself far from home. This pushes me to use slightly more than I would because of transport," he says.

Wekesa says he has remained committed to this job for the last 15years primarily because he wants his children to have a better life than the one he has had. He wants them to study so that they do not get locked out of white-collar jobs.

"I did not go to school and I do not want my children to be like me. I have one who has expressed interest in music but I encourage all of them to first study," he says.

Man Solo has no regrets about his career paths saying his income has helped him also buy several heads of cattle

"I am not leaving my job any time soon. I will be retired by nature," he says.

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