Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Papa Shirandula’s Njoro: I made more money from hawking sweets than acting

Arguably, most Kenyan actors who have risen to stardom have histories of tough beginnings due to poverty.

Kenneth Gichoya, popularly known as Njoro from the comedy-drama ‘Papa Shirandula,’ is one of the actors who opened up about his humble beginnings.

In a past interview with Daniel Ndambuki on Churchill’s Journey series, Njoro revealed he used to hawk sweets to make ends meet.

However, he explained that hawking paid him nearly 10 times more than what he used to get from acting on set plays at the Kenya National Theatre.

This forced him to request his bosses to assign him a few acting roles so he could get time for his business.

“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 recalled.

“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.

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Njoro revealed his humor helped him make more profit than his competitors. He would get his stock at Kirinyaga Road in Nairobi at Sh75 per packet of sweets which gave him a profit of Sh250.

“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.

Despite soaring to become one of the top actors in the country, Njoro’s passion for entrepreneurship propelled him to invest in various sectors.

He runs several businesses including an entertainment joint, a hardware store and is in the matatu business.

The actor has also invested heavily in the real estate sector, where he owns rental houses in different parts of Kenya, including Machakos, Nairobi, and Kiserian.

“I have delegated some businesses to my wife so she can also have something to do,” he said.

He advised other actors to always have a side hustle and avoid wasting their money on lavish lifestyles to please people.

“Just live your life, and you will be blessed. You live flashy lifestyles when you are famous, and when you get into problems, you don’t have someone to talk to.”

“I have learned 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,” he advised.

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