Celebrated Kenyan thespian Kenneth Gichoya, famously known as Njoro from comedy-drama ‘Papa Shirandula’, opened up about his humble beginnings revealing that he used to hawk sweets to make ends meet.
Interestingly, the actor said he used to make nearly 10 times more money from hawking than from acting on set plays at the Kenya National Theatre.
Speaking on Churchill’s journey series, Gichoya said he would ask show producers to give him minor acting roles so that he would have more time to hawk sweets.
“I did not want to act but always wanted to remain backstage to do my business, I just wanted to sell sweets. I did the math; actors were paid Sh300 a day, and I would get Sh3,000 from selling my sweets. I was way ahead,” he narrated.
“After finishing the short role, I would go and hawk my sweets. The good thing is that even when I was selling sweets, I was still a funny guy and would make people laugh and happy. The school boys and girls would miss yule ‘jamaa wa sweet’ if I failed to show up for one reason or the other,” he added.
Njoro explained how he made his profits making him the envy of his competitors who always sold less than he did.
“I would buy a packet of sweets at Sh75 and it would give me a profit of Sh250. So, I just needed to leave my house with a hundred bob. I would run to Kirinyaga Road and get one packet and by the end of the day, I would end up selling like 10 packets.”
“That is how I managed to buy my secondborn child diapers and everything the mother needed,” he said.
In addition to acting, Njoro supplements his income through several business ventures; he owns an entertainment joint, a hardware store and is in the matatu business as well.
“I have delegated some businesses to my wife so she can also have something to do,” said the father of three whose secondborn daughter is in form four.
His advice to fellow actors and famous creatives is “just live your life and you will be blessed from there. You live flashy lifestyles when you are in fame and when you get into problems, you end up not having someone to talk to.”
“I have learnt to love investment. I have always encouraged other thespians to have a side hustle so in case this fails, you will have a fallback plan on the other side.”
Photos of Njoro and his children.