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January 24, 2019

How young prodigies can cope with Nairobi life

How young prodigies can cope with Nairobi life
How young prodigies can cope with Nairobi life

I was surprised in the past week when I heard a story about a young British Nigerian woman called Esther Okade who had been accepted to the Open University. The amazing part of this story is that this girl is only 10 years old. She was hoping to own a bank by the age of 16. As I saw this, I was reminded of our own precocious kids who we fete every year when their primary and secondary school exam results are announced. I’m not saying that Ms Okade will not be owning a bank in six years time, but I have serious reservations about this coming to pass. When I was that age, I remember saying to myself that by the age of 26 I would be married with two kids, whilst owning a car and a house, and my own business. Guess what? By the time I was 26, I had only just been out of college two years. I had none of the rest apart from having a job, leave alone my own business

It’s not just this columnist who has had to adjust his lofty ambitions. I remember once meeting a young medical student at the University of Nairobi who was in his third year. When I asked him what he was hoping to do at the end of his course, he was quite candid. When he qualified to do medicine at the university, he had boasted to his family that they were about to have the first neurosurgeon in their midst. Within two years, he had been forced to change his priorities; all he wanted was a passing grade at the grinding life for a medical student.

If you walk around this city, you are likely to meet many folks who have had to adjust downward their hopes for their lives when they were young and impressionable with the future before them. It doesn’t just apply to prodigies – although they are the easiest people to show this phenomenon. Where is chess grandmaster KK who wowed us with his skills at a young age, and was to be Kenya’s Gary Kasparov? For all we know, he could be bagging groceries at a supermarket in Mavoko. What happened to all the young girls who were at the airport giving flowers to visiting heads of states and getting peck and a pat on the head? It is possible that one of these lovely young girls is now a cyber café attendant in Kayole estate.

Being a young achiever can be a hard thing for the best of them. So, perhaps, we need to start giving the truth to our young ones so that as they go on in life they are prepared to deal with the challenges that are likely to befall them. Here are some guidelines that will help them cope with the future upsets.


When you end up in the work space, you tend to stick. When you start earning money it becomes more difficult to leave the work place. Whatever career you pick there shall be loads of work for you to navigate, and this you cannot escape if you plan on moving ahead. So I wouldn’t recommend that you get in when you are still going through the changes of your body like breaking your voice or getting hairy at strange parts of your body. You may know the job, but you need to have the human skills you need to work with colleagues in the same office who are at an advanced age. So try and learn not just the technical side of the job, but its human side. You need to learn what it means when a jacket is left over a desk all afternoon.


We all want love and all its glories as read in Mills and Boon, and watched on every single romantic comedy Hollywood can throw at us. Finding love involves many things for many people; some very painful, and there is no need to rush to this space when you are not able to cope with its rigours. You might go on the date, and then while seated, either a lady and two kids in tow shows up to claim her husband, or an angry man asks you what you are doing with their wife. So, if you must go ahead this is one place you want to be cautious the younger you are.

Venue Review: Persia Lounge, Thika Road Mall, Thika Road

Once upon a time, Thika Road was not a place that could be considered to chill out by many of the upwardly mobile. Since that road we like calling the Super Highway came along, things have been looking distinctly rosier. Many new developments have come up that have excited many of us. Of these is the Thika Road Mall (TRM) – a large mall just after the Safaricom Stadium and before the turn off into Mwiki.

In this mall, you will find the Persia Lounge and Sheesha Lounge where I went to have a drink and a bite last Sunday. The place is divided into three distinct areas. One is a sort of outside area where folks sit and enjoy the afternoon. Then there are two areas within – one which is around a large square counter with barmen within. In here across from the entrance, there was a large selection of hookahs that made the 'sheesha lounge' part of its name make perfect sense. There you can enjoy a wide variety of flavours of the popular intoxicant. The third areas was behind the counter, which could be called the lounge proper with its plush dark seats that one could easily sink in.

I had a seat at the counter and ordered my cold Tusker and the drink came with some very tasty chips. This told me that the price here wasn’t ideal for the 'common mwananchi' like they like saying on the TV – the beer cost me Sh300. Don’t come here if you are those folks who drink alcohol by the crate, unless your bank balance is very healthy kind sir.

The lounge is still a work in progress. This is because on that day they were installing their flat screen TVs for their clients. This meant that I would not be seeing the Chelsea Vs Southampton football match in the English Premier League featuring Kenya’s own Victor Wanyama. They assured me that by next week, I would be able to watch my matches. As you read this, they have already sorted this out. While I was unhappy to be missing such a big football match, there was something else on offer for the discerning punter – a gentleman blowing skillfully on the saxophone. It turns out that this is where the legendary saxophone player Frank Waruhiu does his Jazz Sunday every week at the venue. Very nice.

A quick recap of the venue:

Good: Great décor and service, disability friendly, emergency exits sorted, TV for the sports fanatic.

Bad: Pricey.

My verdict: You are here to impress with your lady friend your knowledge of the different types of sheeshas in the Kenyan market away from the maddening crowd.

Twitter: @jamesmurua

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