21.8 C
Sunday, March 26, 2023

How I earn from my online matatu gallery


Related stories

Absa Group announces net zero targets as part of broader sustainability/sustainable finance goals

Absa Group, Africa’s largest funder of renewables, announced today...

Rivals clash in the NSL as golden boot race heats up

The 2022/2023 National Super League (NSL) season is in...

Kakamega Homeboyz’ Mudavadi: Why I didn’t honour Engin Firat’s call-up for our match against Iran

Kakamega Homeboyz midfielder Moses Mudavadi has opened up about...

Mathare united acquires the signature of foreign defender

Mathare United, a football club based in Nairobi, has...

Brian Wanyama is passionate about matatus. His interest in Kenya’s most popular means of transport made him known to a vast number of drivers and conductors alike when he was in Form Three at NPC Buruburu Academy.

Back then, his parents were taking none of it: “They thought I was wasting my time… that I was skipping classes to hang in matatus all day. They didn’t support me. I blame what they had seen from other people.” Today they support me, “but with fingers crossed.”

Even in secondary school, Mr Wanyama believed that matatu culture is a lifestyle and it needs to be showcased. “Every matatu has a unique side – art, music – and this is something that hasn’t been featured anywhere in the world.”

Six years ago, Mr Wanyama founded Matwana Investments, a virtual enterprise that showcases and preserves the matatu culture via online platforms.

“We go to the streets and using our cellphones take photos, videos and interview matatu crew. We also go to fabricators to promote the works they are doing, turning trucks into fancy looking matatus.”

Since 2009 Matwana Investments is slowly developing a virtual museum, an art gallery or better yet a one-stop-shop where one can learn the latest trends in the transport industry. The nature of business has also tipped other youth to start similar outfits: “Competition is healthy. I welcome it. It reminds me why I am doing my job every day.

Matwana Investments is now an employer of two. “I don’t have formal training but I have hooked up with a professional photographer who has sharpened my photography and design skills.”

And just like any youth interested in matatus, quite often Mr Wanyama would get chances to ride on the PSVs while in school. “I used those chances to collect data and advance my cause.”

From his base in Buruburu, Mr Wanyama has so far handled over 5,000 matatus. “Every matatu is unique. Our work is a way of saying thank you to the matatu investors who pump millions of shillings into the business. Media outlets come to our site for the latest trends in the matatu trade e.g. they saw the well pimped matatu that has leather seats from our site recently,” said the chef-turned-designer, adding, people get the latest from our site before the matatu hits the road.

His work saw him nominated by his girlfriend to participate in a recent #IAmLegend campaign run by Africa Spirits Limited. Mr Wanyama bagged Sh10,000 cash prize that he will use to revamp his online gallery. The #IAmLegend campaign recognized young, talented youth who are doing exemplary projects in the society.

The motivation for the 25-year-old is not money but matatu owners usually appreciate his work. “I once got Sh25,000 cheque from a matatu owner just for photographing his vehicle. If it was about money I would still be cooking but I think my job now helps more people.”

Mr Wanyama has previously whipped meals at the International School of Kenya, Uchumi Supermarkers, Windsor Golf Hotel and Maasai Mara Sopa lodge among others.

With rising cases of road carnage, Matwana Investments seeks to launch a safety awareness campaign targeting conductors and drivers. We also encourage passengers to take action on rogue drivers, he noted.

Seeking a piece of the cake from the matatu business is not for the faint hearted and Mr Wanyama has learnt from the best: “Besides losing my phone to thieves at Bus Station, I once got arrested by askaris of the defunct City Council or Nairobi for taking pictures. They said I was intent on sharing them with terrorist.”

For the youth seeking to invest or work in the ever dynamic matatu industry, Mr Wanyama has a word of advice. “You need discipline. New matatus can mess you if you have short-term goals. You also need a good savings culture,” he says.

As the year winds down to a close, Matwana is organizing the third edition of Nganya Awards, where Mr Wanyama, who is one of the organizers, says  the best matatus, buses, shuttles, matatu DJs, best social media group within the industry will be competing for honors.


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.