Young Doctors in Kenya: Dr. Patrick Mugonya Kihiu is a general medical practitioner in Makueni County. He is also a Dj who goes by the name Dj Daktari. He is 28.
How did you get into the field of medicine?
I have practiced medicine for five years. I started practicing immediately after graduating from Kenyatta University in 2015. I was aged 23 at the time. In my high school days, I had always dreamed of pursuing a career in medicine. This dream was anchored on the strength of my academic performance. Medicine was my first choice. Engineering was also an option because I am a very hands-on individual. I was accepted at Kenyatta University to pursue medicine after completing my KCSE at Nyahururu Elite Senior School in 2008 with a mean grade score of A Minus.
What pushed you to juggle medicine and entertainment?
I started my entertainment business purely out of passion. I am very passionate about clear and quality sound and music. When I was starting out this business, I knew that this was the service I wanted to offer. I started out with a public address system, movable stage, lighting and big screens. This incorporated end to end audiovisual solutions.
What is the name of your entertainment business and how much did you start it with?
The business is called Cross Entertainment Sounds. I started it with about Sh. 250,000. I got this amount from my first salary savings. I used Sh. 50,000 to purchase a turntable and Sh. 200,000 to purchase speakers, microphone and a sound amplifier.
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How do you juggle medicine and entertainment?
To begin with, medicine is more of a calling than a source of income to me. When I graduated, I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to work in fancy city hospitals. I would go for a rural area where professional medical services are hard to come by. Today, I treat and offer medical help in a small village called Kilungu in Makueni. The reward for my decision has been satisfying. While I could have made more bucks elsewhere, I wouldn’t trade the joy I get whenever someone who wouldn’t otherwise access medical services gets relief from our health facility. To manage medicine and my side business, I have a team that I have trained to solicit for business and handle setups for events. I usually join them over the weekends when I am mostly free.
How has medicine and entertainment impacted you?
One is a calling. The other is a hobby that I am passionate about and which I converted into a business. Entertainment has been very therapeutic for me. It is my way of relieving the stresses and trauma that comes with the field of medicine.
Did you go to a Disc Jockeying school to study entertainment?
I never went to any school to acquire my Dj skills. In fact, I like to think that I was born to deejay. After getting my first salary, I walked into a music shop and bought a turntable. I started practicing and sharpening my skills from my home. It did not take long for me to master the skills. Back in high school, I had acted as a Dj during student parties where I played music using the online home Dj software on a laptop.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced?
Breaking into the market and competing with the already established audiovisual companies has been a tough nut to crack. When I started, it was very hard to convince corporates and big brands that we could provide the same qualities that other entertainment companies have been offering. With time, and one job after the other, we have proved that we can do even better than our competitors and at more competitive rates. At the same time, this being a capital intensive industry, capital has been quite a challenge. The only way to stay ahead of the pack is by constantly investing in the latest equipment, and upgrading software and your stage. All this requires significant financial investments.
How did your family take it when you ventured into entertainment?
Convincing my family that entertainment is a value adding venture is still a struggle. As a medical doctor, they would prefer me to stick to medicine. While I highly regard my medical career, I also believe that I am breaking the belief that white collar jobs are better than entrepreneurship. It is important to create more than one income stream to progress in life. For example, if I returned to class to scale up my medical skills, my entertainment business would come in handy in providing the finances.
What piece of advice would you tell a 23-year-old you?
I would advise my younger self to be more confident, assertive and aggressive in pursuing the road I have taken. But I feel that the journey has totally been worth it both in returns and lessons learned. It is very rewarding to earn through something you actually enjoy doing.
What’s your parting shot, especially to the youth?
Believe in your dreams. Accept to start small. Most of us are afraid to start because we don’t have adequate capital, fear of the unknown and the initial small returns. Don’t let these hold you back. Be ethical. Do what you have to do with utmost dedication and excellence. It will set you up for a bigger stage in life. And put God first.