The recent KenGen I. P. O. got me thinking. The requirement was Ksh 7 billion shillings and the subscription was in excess of Ksh 26 billion. Allan Bloom, a US philosopher said that “whereas economists tell us how to make money; psychiatrists give us a place to spend it. ” I wonder whether or not this thought will hold any water when pay-time comes for those who borrowed to invest but will get refunds. However, I digress.
Given the overwhelming interest in the KenGen share, it was encouraging to see many young people queuing to buy. It’s time to own this country and take charge of our lives.
I recall the good old days. I attended a high school where Aviation was taught. Many people thought this would make one a pilot. Alex, a friend of mine who was several years ahead of me wanted to be a pilot. Upon completion secondary education, he discovered he had a long way to go. He had to either enroll at an Aviation College or pursue his studies abroad. Coming from a modest background, he could do neither. Given that he had passed his exams very well, he settled for an Engineering course at the University of Nairobi, hoping that this would earn him a job at Kenya Airways. However, life was never easy. He even failed to get placement for internship at KQ.
Upon graduation, he applied for a position with the company. He was short listed for a management trainee position but did not qualify for appointment. Never to give up, Alex persisted and kept on applying for all relevant positions. Months turned into years. No offer was forthcoming. This was very bad. Alex was adversely affected psychologically. As a very qualified graduate, he watched as his dreams came to naught. He wondered how he would make money out of Kenya Airways without working for them. A golden opportunity presented itself when Kenya Airways was privatized. As James Baldwin would say, “Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn't have it and thought of other things if you did. ” His main problem was how to get initial capital to invest in the airline. Luckily, Alex had long prepared himself for the Kenya Airways I. P. O. by saving some money. He was at the time working on contract with a leading oil firm in the country.
To get extra cash, Alex went back to shaggz. Being highly determined, he never gave a small damn what his friends and neighbors would think. He was on a mission and come what may, he would succeed.
He settled on small scale farming of onions and potatoes. Fortunately, climatic conditions were favorable. Within months, he sold his harvest. Armed with cash, he came back to Nairobi.
When trading commenced, Alex bought 5,000 shares. He stuck with the company all through even with no dividend as many of us can attest about that share. When the share price started dropping, Alex held on.
I remember one particular time when we met and he told me that he’d increased his shareholding at KQ to 10,000 shares. At the time, I didn’t see the wisdom in that. I now know better.
When the group started declaring huge profits, winning awards and paying dividends, Alex started smiling all the way to the bank. He was now making money without ever setting foot in a plane. This was money working for him, for he was working some place else.
At a time when many young Kenyans are wondering how to make money, the above story offers an example worth considering, albeit with some lessons. “Money differs from an automobile, a mistress, or cancer in being equally important to those who have it and those who do not, ” said J. K. Galbraith.
The key lesson is that opportunities to make money in this country abound. For those who really hate to report to work every morning, this happens to be an easy way to make capital gains by letting your money work for you.
The second reason may be a bit ill- intended but I’ll highlight it nonetheless. Some years back, some guys attended interviews in a very reputable company in Nairobi. Later, the ones who weren’t appointed accessed privileged information detailing their performance in the aptitude tests they sat and in the interviews. The guy who was appointed had performed dismally. Since his uncle worked there, he had been offered a place.
These unfortunate guys decided to buy the company’s shares to at least make some money from the company. Sounds familiar? Then go out and buy the shares of some of those companies who purposely didn’t employ you though you qualified. You will make capital gains and earn dividends.
The long and short of this whole share business is that you can make money without working for it. Also, you don’t have to start big. Since I am addressing fellow young people, we do have the advantage of time. You can grow bit by bit.
Talking of bit by bit, an inmate went to see the prison doctor and was astonished to be told that he needed to have one of his kidneys removed.
"Look, " said the prisoner. “You've already removed my tonsils, my adenoids, my spleen and my gall bladder. Now you want one of my kidneys. I only came to see if you could get me out of here. "
"And that's exactly what I am doing, " the doctor replied. “Bit by bit. "
I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, 25 years ago. The realization that I can write came after I read ‘The River Between’ by Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Chinua Achebe's ‘Things Fall Apart’. This was before my 10th birthday. I therefore started contributing to ‘Rainbow', a Kenyan Children's Magazine. Later on, I would write for my High School and College Magazines. Currently, I write for Capital FM's ‘QZ Magazine’. I also e-publish PETSTANMOST, a monthly ezine that profiles my graphic design and writing skills. My writing for QZ Magazine heralded involvement in other forums. I now write and carry out graphic design and layout for Manenoworld Limited, publishers of a Children's Magazine and Diary in Kenya. I currently am working on a collection of short stories and a novel which will both be published early 2007.