We kid you not! In this very Nairobi, there exists a 78-year-old grandma who has the expertise to fix your car sound system.
Born during World War 2, or ‘the German – Italian war’ as she calls it, Cecilia Wangari is unlike any other septuagenarian spending their sunset years in the village.
The great-grandmother of three not only fixes audio systems on personal cars but also runs four systems shops and service centres in Nairobi’s Eastland area with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The shops are aptly named Shosh(Grandma) Sound Systems, with the grandma managing one in Nairobi’s Kariobangi South.
The other three shops are managed by her family members including sons, grandsons and their wives, providing employment for 17 people including hired staff.
Speaking with CapitalBusiness, Shosh revealed that she first shattered the glass-ceiling when she got into the public transport industry in 1980 with her matatu plying the Eastland – Nairobi CBD route.
“When the matatu broke down, I would go to the garage and keenly watch the mechanics fix the problem and within no time I was making the repairs; removing and replacing engines, fixing the cylinder heads, replacing pistons and sumps, and other many other things,” she said.
After 10 years in the matatu industry, and having grown her fleet to three vehicles, Shosho had to leave the public transport business on doctor’s advice due to the stress of managing a struggling business in a sector characterized by harassment from cartels and authorities, frequent vehicle breakdowns and theft by employees.
Cecilia further disclosed that she was once a matatu tout and driver.
“I could even drive a trailer and people would laugh or taunt me, but I would just continue with my job,” she said.
It is through her grandson, who she sponsored for an electronics course, that she learnt how to repair radios and fix speakers soon after her Matatu business folded.
“I really like it when we work together. No one in my family bothers the local leaders or other people with job requests and I haven’t heard anyone looking for a job elsewhere…even these young ones have learnt how to work and are now earning a living,” said Shosho, referring to 20-year-old twin great-grandsons.
“If we all knew how to work with our hands, we will not have problems in Kenya,” she is quoted as saying.
“The problem with this generation is that everyone talks about ‘My rights’ but no one wants to talk about ‘My responsibility’.
Her parting shot: “Let everyone stop being lazy and idle. If we all work hard, we can end some of the financial constraints we are facing. However, no child will work hard without support and guidance from the parents.”
Watch a video report courtesy of CapitalBusiness and be inspired.