Author - Jammy

Mombasa Eateries: Blue Room – Likoni Mall Branch

If you grew up in Mombasa, then you know Blue Room, opened in 1952 as simple place for serving exceptional tea, bhajias and BR ice cream. Today, it has become a household name for Ice Cream, Tea and meals. Blue Room was the place to go after going to Makadara where you are fed chips and chicken on that special Eid day. It’s the place for meetings, and dates and family gatherings. It is also a landmark for navigation in Mombasa.

As days goes by, they had to keep improving the restaurant. Today, Blue Room has opened another restaurant at Likoni Mall and its beautiful and warm ambiance brings the nostalgic feeling and memories of our childhood.

Life in Mombasa had a chance to sample the improved menu at the Likoni Mall branch:

▪️SIGNATURE FRENCH TOAST [V]

Fresh bread, dipped in our egg mixture, pan fried and topped with cream cheese and our gourmet strawberry jam

▪️CHICKEN TIKKA SKEWERS

Tender boneless chicken marinated in tikka sauce. Served with chilli mint chutney and fresh onions

▪️LEBANESE HUMMUS [V]

Cooked chick peas served with paprika olive oil and focaccia bread

▪️CHEESE BURGER

Grilled beef patty topped with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions, aioli, mayonnaise, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes

▪️MOMBASA CHICKEN TIKKA

Marinated half chicken, flame roasted and served with our house mint chutney and yogurt

▪️PANEER BIRIYANI

Mixed vegetables with paneer biryani


For Dessert – we had Brownies topped with Ice Cream and Blue Room Signature Caramel Ice Cream Cone.

Visit when you get time!

Check out their website for menu: www.blueroom.co.ke


The Circular Economy HUB

Our story

As Close the Gap Kenya was on life in Mombasa with our one stop shop “Close the Gap HUB”, we couldn’t leave out our new plant “the Circular Economy HUB”.  The Circular Economy HUB is also part of the social enterprise, Close the Gap Kenya. That aims to bridge the digital divide by offering high-quality, nearly new computers collected from European and international companies to educational, medical and social projects in developing and emerging countries.

State of art ITAD facility

Close the Gap Kenya is very proud of their recently manufactured state of art IT asset disposition facility in Jomvu, The Circular Economy HUB.

IT asset disposition, or ITAD is the process of how and where to dispose or re-manufacture IT-hardware. It is the first fully automated ICT assembly and manufacturing plant at the Kenyan coast. Here Close the Gap Kenya assembles computer components, mobile devices, spare parts, and other tech devices into affordable ‘made in Kenya’ nearly new computer devices. These devices will be used in educational, medical and social projects.

The process

After the devices arrive in the harbor, they will be taken to the Circular Economy HUB. The process starts here. It starts by unpacking the container. All devices pass the “check-in”. At the check-in they check the state of the devices, the specifications and register them in the stock system. After this they go through different kind of processes at the Circular Economy HUB, called: teardown, monitor, mobility, and data wipe.

At the teardown all broken devices, are processed. These are devices that cannot be re-used.

They will be taken a-part and the e-waste will be disposed in a safe way. 

At monitor, as the word already reveals they process all screens, and at mobility we process mobile phones and tablets. The data wipe area is for wiping all data from the devices. Data wiping is key in their process. This the process of overwriting the data on a particular hard drive to such an extent that the original data is unreadable. The benefit of data wiping, aside from protecting company data, is that you can completely reuse the original hard drive.

After the data wipe process the assets are ready, they get validated in the system and are carefully packed and stored to await their new destination. After they are assigned to a project, the devices will be installed with the needed software and they get packed and delivered to start a new valuable life.

With this process Close the Gap Kenya wants to contribute to introducing work opportunities and better equal income for disadvantaged youth and women.   

The Circular Economy HUB will be the third pilar of the incubation program “BOOST”. This program is founded to support the growth of decent work opportunity, green business, and access to sustainable technology, while fostering the circular economy of Mombasa.

Besides using the devices in educational, medical and social projects. Close the Gap Kenya will also offer the devices for the individual consumer. They will be offered via our website and at our one stop shop at Ratna Square.

Are you interested?

Are you interested in a laptop or computer from Close the Gap Kenya?

Have a look on our website: https://closethegap.co.ke/apply-laptop-or-desktop-mombasa/

Or get in touch with us:

Email: info@closethegap.org

Phone: 0746 998 771

Social media:

Coworking Space: Close the Gap HUB

Our story

Close the Gap HUB is part of the social enterprise, Close the Gap Kenya. That aims to bridge the digital divide by offering high-quality, pre-owned computers collected from European and international companies to educational, medical and social projects in developing and emerging countries. To maximize our impact, we have created a one-stop-shop at Ratna Square where we innovate, educate and manufacture.

Our one-stop shop at Ratna square

This one stop shop called “Close the Gap HUB” is created in Mombasa at Ratna Square. It is the dynamic heart for individual and international co-workers, young entrepreneurs and start-ups.

There is a great inspirational and spacious co-working space with meeting rooms to host all your meetings and events. The members can even exercise in the mini-gym during their breaks.
Young start-ups can benefit from an incubation program called “BOOST”. There is also an innovational maker space, where users can access state of the art machinery. This machine is geared to helping create prototypes.  

If after all this you are in need of a break, you can have lunch at the Close the Gap Café, where they sell an excellent range of coffee, pastries and tasty baguettes.

Why and how to join

So, what is in it for you? We have an inspiring community filled with individual & international co-workers, start-ups and young entrepreneurs. In a perfect place with all the facilities you need.

Our memberships start from 1,000 KES for 4 hours, up till our monthly flex-desk of 15,000 KES per month.

All memberships include access to our spacious & inspiring co-working space, coffee, tea and water, seating at any available desks, highspeed internet and access to our mini gym.

We have a special offer for readers of “life in Mombasa” come and try our co-working space for a half day for free. Get your voucher here

Take a look at our website for more: https://closethegap.co.ke/coworking/

Or get in touch with us:

Email: info@closethegap.org

Phone: 0746 998 771

Social media:

Vuna Mamili Na Kitui Flour Mills

[Paid Ad]

Mahamri, chapatti, kalamati , mitai and flour based meals are nostalgic to coastal people, many people grew up eating these meals and still an essential part of cuisines in a coastal household. It doesn’t go a day without having the Swahili delicacies. Today, Unga wa dola is a common household flour brand in Mombasa, because of the coastal Swahili food it is widely used in cooking various meals. Meals such as chapatti, mahambri, and other flour based Swahili delicacies that need flour to make it. Kitui Flour Mills started in Mwingi in the Eastern Region of Kenya in 1987; it is now one of the top milling companies with nationwide milling plants producing a wide range of nutritious products. The infrastructure of the company includes 8 modern flour mills fully equipped with latest & advanced technology machines with an installed capacity to produce/process 50,000 metric tons of processed flour per month.

Their products have been able to transform family meals and eventually homes. Throughout the years, the Kitui Flour Mills family has been united and fortified by love, loyalty, sharing and solidarity.  They provide an opportunity for families to eat together and create cohesions through scrumptious meals. Kitui Flour Mills will be celebrating 40 years next year, in appreciation of customers through Unga Wa dola and Jahazi brand will be launching appreciation awareness campaign. The campaign will give consumers opportunity to win various prizes. The three-month campaign, ‘VUNA MAMILI NA KITUI FLOUR MILLS,’ will run from the beginning of April, 2021 to June, and incorporates the group’s most popular brands: Unga wa Dola, EGL Dola and Jahazi Flour Promotional Packet. The purchase of any 2Kg, 1Kg, or 500g packet from the this brand range qualifies a consumer for a chance to win KES.1 Million weekly, instant prizes and airtime, smart TV and fridge among other electronics, Tuktuk & motorbikes.

Twelve lucky consumers stand a chance of winning the weekly grand prize of Ksh. 1 Million. There will be 12 Kshs 50,000 weekly winners, 24 Kshs 20,000 twice weekly winners, 60 Ksh 10,000 five times weekly winners, 60 Kshs 5,000 five times weekly winners and 240 Kshs 1,000 twenty times weekly winners. There are also 12 motorbikes, 12 43” smart televisions,12 double door refrigerators, 12 non-stick cooking set and 12 cake mixers up for grabs each item to be won on a weekly basis.

How to enter the campaign:

  • Purchase of your favorite brands – Unga wa Dola, EGL Dola and Jahazi Flour
  • Check for an eight character alphanumeric code printed inside the flour packet (for one entry only)
  • Send an SMS with the 8-character alphanumeric code to 20770. (Normal SMS rates shall apply)
  • Each alphanumeric code sent will form an entry into the draw and be eligible to win any prize in the promotion.

Winners of the Kshs. 1,000,000, Kshs.50,000, KES.20,000 , 42” Hisense Television, 150cc Motorbike (Haojin brand), Ramtons Double door Refrigerator, Cookware Non-Stick Cooking set, Nunix Electric Cake Mixer and 225cc TVS King Tuk-tuk shall be notified by a call from our toll free telephone number 0111 033 777 and instructed on how to collect their prize.

Unga wa Dola Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UngaWaDola/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ungawadola

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ungawadola/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDRulr2zCTTFHjLlqPSZ4dA

Website: https://kituiflourmills.co.ke/

Coworking Space: MombasaWorks CBD

MombasaWorks has opened its second and newest coworking location along Nkrumah road in Mombasa’s CBD. They are located inside the Oriental Building, a beautiful Mughal-inspired heritage building built in 1937 and lovingly maintained. With ancient teak floors, you still feel steeped in history, despite the remarkable transformation of the space’s interior.

The Space – bigger and better

The MombasaWorks mission is to enable entrepreneurs and small and growing business through flexible office facilities, networking, peer-learning, capacity development and collaboration. Their new space was designed with this mind. If you’ve visited their space in Nyali, you will not be disappointed with their newest location. They’ve gone bigger and better!

The space has 4 meeting rooms of varying size and style, some with writeable walls and smart TVs, others withmoveable furniture and beanbags. Their largest meeting room can hold 14 people for a training, and with moveable furniture, can be turned into an event room for cocktails or firesides.

Entrepreneurs and small and growing businesses do not need tons of idle space, so they introduced dedicated desks in a members-only zone and a dozen lockers and a strong room for storage.

The new space also has private office suites, able to sit between 2 to 6 people each. These are fully-furnished, with ergonomic seats, desks and storage space. As well as telephone extensions and air-conditions.

They wanted to offer as many options as possible for users to get a change of scenery during their work day. The coffee bar, equipped with coffee machines, lounge and chill room were introduced with this in mind. The entire space is air-conditioned, a cool respite from the sometimes intense heat of Mombasa island.

Being on the island, the space and location is also perfectly suited for frequent business travellers and agile teams.

What’s included in the Membership

With several membership options available, you pay for only what you need, when you need it. Monthly memberships start from 10,000 KES; and you can walk in and work with a Day Pass for only 1,500 KES. Meeting room prices begin at 1,000 KES per hour.

Users of the space have access to:

  • A desk and chair
  • High speed dedicated wireless internet
  • Access to all 4 private meeting rooms
  • Access to a commercial colour printer/scanner
  • An inspiring and beautiful communal workspace.
  • A great community and interesting events. All members are invited to join a private group where resources, consulting and business opportunities and members-only events are shared.

And whether you are there for a day or a month, you have access to unlimited hot beverages and water throughout.

How do I Join?

For all the details on amenities and pricing visit their website. They also welcome visitors to go and see the space. Get in touch with them to arrange a visit.

Limited offer

Readers of Life in Mombasa can get a 15% discount on the first month of a part-time or full-time monthly membership with the offer code lifeinmombasa. The offer is only valid for memberships during the month of April 2021 .

Email info@mombasaworks.com or call 0799 484116 for more information.

Social Media

Facebook : MombasaWorks

Instagram : MombasaWorks 

Twitter : MombasaWorks 

The Space in Pictures:


#NowTravelReady Mombasa is Now Ready

It has been a year since Covid-19 pandemic affected our lives, we have changed our daily lives to be more protected and mitigate the risk of testing positive for Covid-19. We have learnt to wear masks, we wash our hands regularly and above all got used to staying home most of the time. The lockdowns and curfews made us realize how we took many things for granted, we are now appreciating little things that make our lives worthwhile.

As we got used to the mitigations, we created the “New Norm”. It has become normal to wear a mask, to carry sanitizers and to maintain social distance. One of the biggest affected industry is the travel industry, airplanes were grounded, hotels were closed and restaurants were operating for delivery services only. Today, we have continued to reduce the risks the skies have finally opened. People are now ready to travel and abide to the rules set forth by various health ministries globally.  Although international flights have resumed, the most common travelers worldwide are domestic tourists in their respective countries. Because of stricter rules to fly internationaly, more people are opting to travel within their countries. Domestic Tourism has been on the rise, in Kenya more people are traveling locally and enjoy local destinations and experiencing local experiences.

To celebrate the return of the flights, JamboJet embarked on a journey to showcase and celebrate local tourism and the New Norm of traveling. The #NowTravelReady campaign took local content creators across their destination to capture and showcase the different strategies that have been implemented to mitigate covd-19 spread from the Airport, accommodation and activities. The #NowTravelReady campaign curated stories all throughout social media channels by the different content creators. Life in Mombasa in collaboration with Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment- Tourism Unit was delighted to sponsor and host Now Travel Ready in Mombasa from the 4th of February to the 8th of February 2021.  The simple itinerary included visiting old and upcoming areas in Mombasa.

The simple itinerary included:

Thursday 4th February

Friday 5th Feb

Saturday 6th Feb

Sunday 7th Feb

Monday 8th Feb

  • Check Out 

Transport throughout the trip was sponsored by Kilian Tours and Travel

Content Creators

The Content creators included the following, click on their links to see their curated works:

Monica Macharia @MonyqueXO

Marion Mithamo @Marion_Mithamo

Bonita Aluoch @bonitonsafari

James Wamathai @Wamathai

George Magunga Williams @TheMagunga

Oscar Ogero @Gufydox

Trevor Maingi @the_mentalyst

Sights and Sounds from #NowTravelReady Mombasa:

Now Travel Ready by JamboJet

KTN News Culture Quest

Scrapbook Journeys by Marion Mithamo

Bonita on Safari

The Enchanting Fort Jesus Sound & Light Show

Mombasa has a lot of history that makes us one of the unique cities in Kenya, dating from 900 AD Mombasa has a lot of rich stories of the past. You can learn from text books and hear all the stories but the best is to experience the history and learn from it. One of the key places to know more about the history of Mombasa is Fort Jesus.

Fort Jesus was built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 to the designs of Giovanni Battista Cairati to protect the port of Mombasa by order of King Philip I of Portugal. The fort was built in the shape of a man (viewed from the air) and is roughly square, with four bulwarks at its corners. Fort Jesus was captured and recaptured at least nine times between 1631, when the Portuguese lost it to the Sultan Yusuf ibn al-Hasan of Mombasa, and 1895 when it fell under British rule and was converted into a prison. After the Portuguese recaptured it from the Sultan in 1632, they refurbished it and built more fortifications, subsequently making it harder for the fort to fall. The fort was subject to an epic two-year siege from 1696-98 by the Omani Arabs, led by Saif bin Sultan. The capture of the fort marked the end of Portuguese presence on the coast, although they briefly captured and re-occupied it between 1728 and 1729 with the help of the Swahili city-states. The fort fell under local rule from 1741 to 1837, when it was again captured by the Omanis and used as a barracks, before its occupation by the British in 1895, after the declaration of the Protectorate of Kenya.

The Enchanting Sound & Light Multimedia Experience

To experience all this, Jays Pyrotechnics curated a sound and Light show that captures the historic background of Mombasa and Fort Jesus. The enchanting sound and Light show takes you into the battles of Fort Jesus using 3D projection mapping, lasers and holograms., the 30-minute show will narrate the story of Fort Jesus. It is one-of-a-kind sound & light multimedia show in Africa, termed by National Geographic as a world-class production. The experience ends with colourful firework display on the night skies of Mombasa Old town.

The show is available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Available for corporate, entertainment events. In addition, they can customize projections messages such as birthday wishes, proposals and wedding anniversaries. The show starts at 7:00 pm and ends at 8 pm.

Entrance Fee – kshs 1000

Other Experience Offers:

The Enchanting Show + Dhow & Dinner Experience: Every 2nd Saturday of the month

You board the Dhow at the Tamarind Restaurant at 4 PM for a 2-hour sunset cruise, onboard you’re served cocktails and dropped at the Old Port. From there you walk across the enchanting Old Town, which is lit with holograms from the 15th Century to The Fort Jesus for the Show, followed by a 5-Course Dinner & Wine. Your tour ends with a night tour of Fort Jesus. The Experience is 5 hours.

Cost: Resident Rate: Ksh. 9,000 per person

4 Hour Enchanting Experience – The Enchanting Dhow & Show Experience: Every Saturday Only

You board the Dhow at Tamarind at 5.00PM in Nyali for a 2 hour sunset cruise where you’re served with cocktails and drinks, after which you are dropped at the Old Port in Old Town. You walk through the Enchanting Old Town which is lit with holograms from the 15th century Mombasa culture to the Fort Jesus where you watch the Enchanting Sound & Light Show with Firework, a 45-minute show where you are taken through the 400-year history of the Fort Jesus using 3D projection mapping, special and visual effects.

Cost: Resident Rate: Ksh. 3,000 per person

Booking Details

To book all the experiences contact:

fortjesusmombasa@gmail.com

+254 726 532 299

Website: https://www.fortjesusmombasa.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Soundandlightshowmombasa/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortjesusmombasa/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fort_jesusmsa

Sights of the Enchanting Fort Jesus Sound & Light Show


Jina langu ni Hassan Farouq Sabri

Your name and what do you do?

My name is Hassan Farouq Sabri. A teacher, writer, poet, actor, philanthropist and a director. 

Founder of #kumbushamwanafunzi initiative.

What is your education background?

I am a teacher by profession who pursued Bachelors of Education (arts) from Moi University Eldoret Kenya. I am proud to be an alumnus of Allidina Visram High School Mombasa. Always an Allidinian.

I am a high school Teacher and my teaching subjects are Islamic Religious Education (IRE) and Kiswahili.

As a teacher, how do you motivate students?

As a teacher, I always take the responsibility of motivating my students. I mostly deal with the age group between 14-18 years. This is a very delicate group and a lot of focus is needed to help them. I really try my best to make my students feel and know the purpose of life. I always champion for self-awareness and self-actualization, that they are super capable of changing the negative narratives not only in their communities but world at large.

How do you approach discipline and what role does it play in learning?

Discipline is a code of conduct that in our profession i.e. teaching profession leads in every bar. I am at the forefront to impart discipline not only in my students but also the people around me who i can approach. I do this in my classes and at an individual level. I have or I interact with so many teenagers with different personalities but with the level of professionalism, i am able to make sure they understand the importance of discipline not only in classes but also in their lives for these learners need our guidance. We need integrity, honesty, good mannerism and perseverance from our able students that will reflect in their futures and the future of this country too. This is all attained by Discipline.

What do you think of technology in the classroom and how have you integrated it into your lessons?

The kind of school I am teaching is technological advanced. I incorporate various technological techniques in my lessons thus making them more interesting and understandable. I use projectors to show different content from YouTube, google and soft copies. I give my students assignments they can research on and obviously they use their phones, computers and laptops to research. As a teacher, technology has really boosted my confidence in content delivery and preparation in my lesson planning.

You are also a poet/writer; do you think this has helped you in teaching?

Yes, I am a poet/writer and this has really assisted me in my teaching journey. Being a writer, it has assisted me in my language delivery and has boosted my communication skills. As a poet, I have directed various poetry and performed in national competitions like Kenya National Drama and Film Festivals and also Kenya National Music Festivals and attained the best ranks and also awarded the best Trainer and that is so recent 2019. So this talent through teaching has really helped me. I was among teachers who was chosen by the Ministry of Education to represent Coast Region Teachers and participate in the Kenya National Drama Festivals Adjudicators in Kabarnet early 2020. It is through incorporation of this talent and teaching.

Many youths are unemployed or lack career guidance, how can we approach this issue in Mombasa County?

About youth being unemployed, I am not of the idea of always blaming fate. We need to be innovative and hardworking to pursue our aspirations and goals. Youth should never wait for opportunities but they should look for them. Mombasa county Youth have the potential to beat this unemployment menace. But only if they will take responsibilities and avoid blame games and petty talks about leaders. To those who can access TVETs programs and colleges they can enroll and get possible skills that can sustain themselves and thus reflected to Mombasa economy and Kenya at large. We have so many opportunities like skills mitaani enrollment in various constituencies (sub counties) let’s utilize them to the fullest. Let’s be educated and trust you me, we will change this narrative.

In your opinion, how can youth develop and nurture their talent or skill?

In the Nurturing and talent development, there are various platforms one can establish him/herself. Let’s get creative here. For those who can access technology like phones, cameras, computers or even laptops, Social media can really serve you very well if you serve it well too. Let’s avoid and kill the stereotypes about social media being a negative impact in our society only. There is more in social media than just pornography, cyber bullying, body shaming and dating apps. Make use of it. I have seen magic in it. For those who can’t access technology, never despair just continue doing what you do even if it’s in front of the mirror. Utilize any opportunity that will come like small shows or even family. Norm says we have various talents, try each and every of them you never know what will kiss your destiny.

Draw, sing, model, dance, write, dress, act … (the list is long) your heart out. After all we are fed with what we a capable of doing.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

In 10 years to come I believe i will be touching lives at a wider range and scope in Mombasa and beyond. I want to empower my community educationally. I want to quench this Education thirst in my community. I want to be an Education enthusiast, Education Ambassador, Education Veteran, Education activist or even Education Extremist (Haha just to kill the boredom). I will really champion for #kumbushamwanafunzi for the purpose of consistency in education in my community.

Parting Shot

I am really honored and super excited to be featured in this wonderful and creative Blog. This will be one of my achievements of life. I will never take it for granted.

I believe Mombasa people have the potential to move forward but only if we believe we can. We should all champion for education of all levels for we need to fight our future through pen. A pen always wins because its power is endless. 

Thank you

Mabuyu & Achari Sellers

Mabuyu is a coastal snack enjoyed by the young and old.  Cooked in sugar syrup the baobab seeds are then added colour to give it a zest. Mostly enjoyed while watching movies or hanging out with friends. Mabuyu has even been exported to other countries by coastarian to bring home closer to them.  The colours range from red to even green can be found sold around Mackinon Market and environs or even at individual homes. Achari is mango cut into pieces and dried to make it easier to eat, sometimes sugar is added to make it sweeter. You will find others with added colour , which is mostly red.  Normally sold in sachets the price range for kshs 5 – kshs 20.

One of most demanded gift from Mombasa is Mabuyu and achari, many people from Nairobi and outside the country crave mabuyu and have no place to buy. Life in Mombasa has curated a list to create access to Mabuyu and Achari sellers. The list includes the name, price and contact, to make it easier to order your favorite snack.

NB: This list will be updated regularly.

All Mabuyu and Achari sellers: To be added to this list send an email with your Name, contact, and pricelist to Jamila@lifeinMombasa.com

  • Name: Aamina
  • Contact: 0706788764
  • Pricelist: Mabuyu 600/KG
  • Name: Adeline K. Nyagah
  • Contact: 0721 375826.
  • Pricelist: Mabuyu: Pilipili, Bila-pilipili and Vimto @ 100/= a packet
  • Achari: Pilipili & Bila-pilipili @200/= a packet.
  • Name: Zeenat Nasser – Guilty Pleasures
  • Contact: 0736888283
  • Pricelist: Jaggery Candy kshs 280 250 grams
  • All standards kshs 180 250 grams
  • Rainbow Jars kshs 270
  • Value Pack kshs 200
  • Name: shirin
  • Contact: shirinhassanali52@gmail.com
  • Pricelist: Seedless Mabuyu 300shs
  • Seed Mabuyu 300shs
  • Achari 300shs
  • Papeta 300shs
  • Victoria Mabuyu 300shs
  • Name: Sarah
  • Contact: 0722483067
  • Pricelist: Mabuyu 500grams 400 kshs
  • Achari 300gram 400 kshs
  • Small tins of Achari @80 kshs
  • Name: Fatma Haji Kale
  • Contact: 0707376647
  • Pricelist: Mabuyu kshs 100 per container
  • Name: Huris Collections
  • Contact: 0722477888 / 0710541592
  • Pricelist: Mabuyu packets – 30. 100. 150
  • Name : Nidhi Shah
  • Contact: 0738366699
  • Price list: Mabuyus 300/- a tub

Jina langu ni Ahmed Juma Bhalo

Your name and what do you do?

 My name is Ahmed Juma Bhalo popularly known as Anchor001 or AJB. I am a journalist by profession and an entrepreneur by default and a fragrance enthusiast. Currently, I head the Sales and Marketing department in a real estate agency known as Richland Properties Limited that is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with operations all over the country and beyond. As I had stated earlier, I am an entrepreneur who is amazingly in love with scents, I am also the founder of House of Bhalo which is an online personal grooming shop. At the moment, HoB products include Anchor001 Men’s perfume and Anchor001 Ouds/Bakhoor under the Anchor001 fragrance line.

What is your education background?

I hold a Second-Class (Upper Division) Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from The University of Nairobi. At the moment I’m still a student at the same university pursuing a Master degree in Communication However, due to personal reasons I had to temporarily put on-hold my studies since 2018.

Why did you choose journalism?

 Journalism is a calling just like any other profession and I also fell in love with it at a very tender age. If my memory serves me right, I was in class 5. Back then I would just find myself using my Walkman recording my voice presenting news as I grew up my love for it also grew. There are a number of YouTube videos of me reporting news while still in school.

What challenges have you faced when you were a news anchor?

 Journalism as a career has its fair share of challenges that ‘attack’ you from left, right and center just like in any other profession. Apart from the fame, glamor and prestige that comes with being a television news anchor, there is so much happening behind the scenes both at a personal and professional level. You just have to develop the right mindset and a thick skin to overcome each hurdle that confronts you.

A lot of people say, Mombasa youth are lazy. How can we debunk this notion?

That is being stereotypic. I will definitely be wrong to say all Kikuyus are thieves or all Luhyas are watchmen. Why? Because every community is composed of different characters. We shouldn’t use a trait within a small group to define a whole community. All communities have characters that are lazy-heads, thieves, sinful and other negative traits. But we can’t use that to brand the whole group.  Let me add this, the World Guinness Record for the longest cooking chef is held by a Mombasa lady, Chef Maliha Mohamed. Apart from that, one of the most celebrated Kenyan chef with international recognition Ali Said Mandhry popularly known as Chef Ali comes from Mombasa. Last but not least, do you remember the group of boys from Old Town in Mombasa who captured the country’s attention with their unique style of entertaining customers while vending vegetables amid the Covid19 pandemic?

Do you think there are enough resources for the youth?

 Resources will never be enough not just to the youth but to everyone. Even the government does not have enough resources. Itakua mimi na wewe? Challenges, including the scarcity of resources, are inevitable. We as a youth need to change our mindsets and look at a glass that is half-filled with water as being half full and not half empty. We need to embrace positivity, creativity and be innovative in order to independently transform our lives. Haya mambo ya kila kitu ‘Serikali saidia,’ ndio yanatulemaza. We live in a continent that is full of opportunities.  As the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma once said, ‘This is where I see Africa, full of problems, but full of opportunities.” Just identify a problem and provide a solution.

You have an Oud brand; do you think you have enough entrepreneurial skills to sustain your business?

 I have slightly over one year of experience as an entrepreneur since I ventured in the fragrance business. I started off with the introduction of Anchor001 Perfume for men under Anchor001 Fragrance line owned by House Of Bhalo – which is a personal grooming company. The perfume gave birth to the Oud/Bakhoor brand that is still under Anchor001 Fragrance line. As a young entrepreneur, this has been an interesting journey for me.

Concerning my entrepreneurial skills, it depends on how you define ‘enough.’ What I would say is that I have skills to make House of Bhalo a competitive brand. However, I acknowledge the fact that I am not there yet, and I will never be there because I am always yarning for more skills and knowledge.

In your opinion, what skills does one need to succeed in their businesses?

The skill to sell – Any business person is in the game to sale a product or service. Whatever it is that you do, you need to up your selling skills or else you will be out of business in no time. Learn how to position your product or service to convince your clients.

Basic accounting and book keeping skills – No matter how big or small the business is; your financial literacy determines the success of your business. You don’t need to be a professional accountant, what you need to know is how money moves in and out of your business.

Communication skills – Each business or company has its own size or number of stakeholders. Stakeholders include people or entities that ensures the business attains its goals. Stakeholders include shareholders/business owners, employees and customers among others. During the day to day business operations, a business owner is required to interact with the stakeholders in one way or the other. Equip yourself with relevant communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal. Learn how to communicate, what to communicate and when to communicate.

Networking skills – You are an average of the five people you spend most of your time with. If you look at the circle of friends that surround you and don’t get inspired, then you don’t have a circle, you have a cage. What I am basically saying is this, surround yourself with people that motivate you and bring the best out of you. Network with people or companies that take you closer to your dream destination.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Being in the business of fragrances as an online shop for slightly over one year, HoB has established a loyal clientele not just in Kenya and East Africa but also in other continents. We have members of the #anchor001fragrance family in the UK, United States, Canada, Qatar, UAE and India. Our vision – To be the leading retailer of authentic personal grooming and fragrance products in Kenya and beyond.

Parting Shot

To all my fellow youth and anyone reading this, I urge you to monetize your passion and talent. Ask yourself, “What is it that I LOVE & ENJOY doing that I can do for the rest of my life without regret?” or “What is it that I am good at?” Once you have answered one or both of the questions, then acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to make money out of it.  Alhamdulila we live in a digital world that presents numerous opportunities for us to make living independently. In conclusion, know your passion or talent, acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to monetize it, embrace the digital space and have a purpose in life.