I first met Arthur Mwai in 2013 on a Jameson familiarisation trip to Dublin, Ireland. It was organised by Pernod Ricard. It was cold – the tail-end of winter. Arthur was cool. He was dressed to the nines. He had a walking cane with a fancy handle that he went about with, limping like a don or a music mogul, a different scarf noosed around his neck each day. He had a cane because he had gout. Yeah, he was just the type to make gout look cool. You’d look at him and think, ‘yeah, one day I shall also have gout.’ He had a silently commanding personality; people would gather around him. He was a keen storyteller, always holding court but without being in it with his two legs. Dublin was a scream.
After that trip, I’d occasionally run into him. In a mall. At a bar. In traffic. Small talk. Then he recently said, ‘man, I’ve been through the wringer, maybe we should do my story one day, it’s mad.’ One day? I asked, can that day be next week Wednesday?
I went over. In his digs you wash your hands right outside his door, sanitize, then you step through the threshold, remove your shoes and pick from a long rack, one of the numerous comfortable slippers like those disposal ones in hotels. We sat out on the balcony where we had lunch – that he grilled – then he poured rosé out and settled next to Nyambura, his girlfriend/best friend/ partner who finished his words and laughed (as we all did) at his funny stories told in his signature cheek.
“When I was seventeen I spent all my holidays in a hot pickup car, parked in a dusty patch of road in Kangemi. Since there were no mobile phones to distract us, I’d be in the car with my bro, just shooting the shit, biding our time. My bro, Peter, was older, wiser, smarter, cockier, craftier. He’d be looking out the window, surveying the area. He was a businessman already, destined to this life of profit and loss, of buying and selling. He was also a wizard with numbers. Once a number entered his head, it was imprisoned. It would never get out. It doesn’t matter what; car registration plates, highway codes, figures. He could – and still can do – fairly complex arithmetic without touching a calculator: four hundred and sixty eight multiplied by thirty four? He will stare at a spot briefly, mumbling something, then looks up and says, fifteen thousand nine hundred and twelve. I kid you not. What’s six hundred and twenty five divided by two point five? Stares at a spot, mouth mumbling – looks up; two hundred and fifty.
He has hundreds of thousands of numbers in his head. Once he sees a vehicle registration number it won’t leave his head. He knows the registration numbers of all the cars my dad has ever owned. He knows all the registration numbers of cars owned by our cousins and aunts and uncles and his friends. He remembers people by their car registration number; I’d ask him ‘remember that guy who sold us paint? And he’d go, “aah, the guy for KCJ 786H?’ I’d be like, ‘I…gueess.’. Genius, that’s what my bro is.
Atop the pickup we sat in was a board written; ASK FOR TRANSPORT; DRIVER WITH A DEGREE. This was our selling point, the driver – my bro – had a degree. This meant that our clientele were mostly bougie, well-heeled people. There was a guy who wanted a lawnmower picked from Valley Arcade and dropped off to his residence. There was Kerea, a guy who wanted to move house. Yeah, we hamishad guys, a whole family in one car. Buckets, beds, gas cylinders, back there in the Peugeot 404. We had tons of white people coming to ask for transport. We’d pick Wafula the houseboy with the dog from lavish homes in Loresho and drop them off at the vet. We’d hang around in the car outside for the vet to finish with the dog then drop off the dog and Wafula back to Loresho. We also bebad beers for bars. Timber from hardware shops. Nyanyas for mama mbogas. I was the makanga, hauling and arranging things at the back, he was the driver. Sometimes he drove with his elbow sticking out because he was a grown up. Sometimes he never said a word, the loud clicking sound of the indicator filling our thoughts.
After a long hard day we’d go back to Kangemi, to a local bar called Kilos, order mutura, measured by the flat end of a rusty looking but sharp knife, kachumbari of avocado and some cold beers – always Tusker Export. A beer then was 7-bob in Kangemi, while in Serena it was 23 bob. Often we’d go to the Jeans Bar in Nairobi West for cheap beers before heading out to Carnivore, all before 9pm to avoid the entrance fee of 50-bob, buy one beer and warm it against the fire so that we could get high quickly. We’d cradle our bottles to cover the level of beer from judgemental eyes. I’d stare at sophisticated girls wearing red lipstick, knowing I couldn’t afford to talk to them and I certainly could not approach them. The disco lights whirled and curled overhead, throwing psychedelic lights on us, creating a heady moment of mystery and utopia for just that night. That one beer, occasionally warmed against the fire, would shore us through the night and when the deejay scratched the record to mark shika-shika time – a time for lovers to press and slowly grind against each other – we’d pretend that we had blacked out in our seats to avoid the embarrassment of being unpaired, of being unwanted, of being unlucky. Soon after, we’d stumble out of the club with the old taste of barley in our mouths, blinking in the grey light of dawn.
I completed form three, and soon after I finished high school at Greenfields in Kitale. Biashara was a great gig. I learned by watching my brother do his thing. I also learnt about marketing; “driver with a degree” separated us from the rest. It implied that we were polished, that we wouldn’t steal from you. That we had gone to school.
After that we got into other businesses – just hustling; we sold scrunchies for hair. Those things girls tie their hair with? We sold mitumba in the labyrinth that was Gikomba market, in the process learning to speak above the louder traders, to deal with all sorts of characters, some who were crafty and cutthroat. When you sell mitumba you learn about clothes and what they mean; people will judge you by what you wear before they even listen to what you have to sell. I might have gotten my eye for clothes then. At some point we sold t-shirts at Harlequins along Ngong’ Road. We would sell Chicago Bulls t-shirts, singlets and also t-shirts with the picture of Da-Brat, or whatever was in vogue, on them.
We stumbled upon a different business idea just as I was joining Utalii College in 1990 for the Hotel Management course: selling used tyres. Here is how it worked. In Europe, people changed their car tyres during Winter because the roads are slippery and they need special tyres. We knew a guy who’d send those tyres over to Kenya. What we did was buy them at a cheap rate then we’d polish them with Kiwi shoe-polish until they looked new and then sell them off. We sold them off to lecturers mostly. We knocked on office doors and sold tyres. Good gig.
At Utalii I was slaughtering cows, learning where sirloin steak came from, where rump steak came from, false fillet, top side. We would carry the carcasses ourselves. We did everything. We beat eggs. I’d make mayonnaise from eggs. We learnt how to spread a bed. How to clean a toilet. How to carry a thousand plates on one hand and another two thousand on the other. We cooked and cleaned. We learnt French and German. Then off I went to Block Hotels Limited as a management trainee. I lived in the hotel for a year, learning my trade and getting drunk. It’s there that at one time, a chef slapped me when I came to the kitchen hungover and chewing gum. The kitchen was a toxic place. You were abused as you cut onions. The language was foul, the hours brutal and the expectations wild. But you kept your head low.
After one year I left for Samburu Lodge as Food and Beverage manager. It was the full bush experience; when you looked up you were met with open blue skies that went on and on forever. When you cast your eyes down, the land was rugged and wild, with sparse thorny trees thrusting from the parched ground. The heat seemed to rise from the very ground we stood on. We were cast in the middle of nowhere, just us, doing the good work of hospitality, making sure that guests coming in small planes and in Landcruisers were hydrated, fed and had clean pillows. Ewaso Ng’iro river would flood often and I’d wake up in my house full of water, the sufurias floating about, knocking against each other. I’d shelter on the island that was my bed. Eventually, I would cautiously wade through this water, avoiding snakes and thorns. Block hotels didn’t have the kind of resources other lodges had. Generator doesn’t work? Figure something out. Room is leaking? Up to you. You learnt how to improvise, think on your feet.
Then the wanyamas. The place was not fenced.
It’s in Samburu that an elephant chased me. You don’t want an elephant chasing you – it’s like a storied house chasing after you. It was the end of another day and I was walking back to my house on a moonless night. I had half a bottle of gin in me, so I was feeling pretty bold and fearless, humming slightly as I stumbled in the pitch black darkness of Samburu with my torch. Unbeknownst to me, the elephant was sleeping right next to my house. Elephants sleep standing, like they are in a police cell. I must have shone my light his way after seeing an even darker mass in the darkness and it shone on its ass. Now, I’ve never had the opportunity of looking at an elephant’s ass before, so I really didn’t recognise it immediately. But when I did I panicked, stumbled and fell. Remember the half bottle of gin? The elephant shtukad, raised its trunk and started making that deafening elephant sound. Then it started chasing me and I ran around the house. I tried my keys quickly, but the door didn’t open, so I ran around again, eventually making it inside. I stared out the window and found the elephant staring back at me, angry at being awoken with a light shining on its ass. It was breathing hard. We both were.
In 1997 I went back to Nyali Beach hotel as assistant food and beverage manager. I did a year there, then the boss – Ketan Somaia sent me to South Africa as FnB manager for Rivonia Inn before I was promoted to General Manager not long after. It was in the Sandton area, very affluent, very posh. Everything glittered. Egoli, was indeed the place of gold as they call Johannesburg. South Africa, without saying too much, was wild. I was only 27-years old, so I didn’t know how to hold back. It was the best time of my life; tumbling from one swanky party to the next, drinking daily – on rooftops, by swimming pools, in hotels, out of town by beaches and resorts. I had Somaia’s luxury cars at my disposal, so I would roll in his S-class Mercedes and top-of-the-range BMWs, cruising through Jozi in these vehicles, young, brazen and invincible. It wasn’t a normal life.
It was all going swimmingly well until my girlfriend came down to visit me one time and saw how I was balling, and these hot South African girls (if you know, you know) who I introduced as ‘my friends’, and she thought, aii zii. She gave me an ultimatum; if you don’t come back home and marry me, I’m moving on with my life. This is a babe I knew from Utalii College. This was my best friend.
A few weeks after her visit I landed on Kenyan soil on a Tuesday morning, slightly hungover. I told my folks I was getting married on Saturday. My dad thought I was mad. He said he’d not attend a wedding like that. I shrugged. On Saturday I got married to my first wife at Windsor in one of the terraces overlooking the lush green that was a great metaphor for my life. I paid cash for the wedding. She bought the rings. Actually she did everything else. I was just the guy who showed up. Peter, my brother (the driver with a degree) was my best man. I wore a snazzy suit that was cut for men who had nothing to lose. The evening party was at Hard Rock Cafe at Barclays Plaza, you know the one that had a pink Cadillac coming out of the wall? Unbeknownst to me, this marriage would end in 2009. Then I’d get a baby momma. That would also end. But this story isn’t about marriage it’s about business and life.
In December of 1999 I relocated back home to be a husband. After four months I was a senior assistant manager at Nyali beach hotel. I had an office with big windows that overlooked a garden and palm trees. One year later, a friend called Badar Omar told me that a German guy called Bob Mason was selling his business; Bob’s Sandwich bar. I knew the place; I’d frequently hang out there on my days off, eating burgers, playing cards and having beers. It was a decent place. I knew a few things about bars that time since back in SA Somaia had let me run my own bar in one of his hotels. It was called Dylan’s bar, a horse racing joint. I brought in a barman called Mutua from Nanyuki and it blew up. I don’t know where the money we made went. No, I do. It all poured into the fast South African lifestyle I was leading.
Bob was asking for 1.4M for his joint. Most men I know secretly want to own a bar. I didn’t have that money so Omar and I partnered. I got a loan of 350K and he got the 350K and we paid Bob half upfront, with the rest paid off after a few months. And that’s how I got on the path of running bars. Bob’s Sandwich bar that became Bob’s Bar. We didn’t do much sprucing up. We got Omar to be the deejay and put up some umbrellas outside. Soon I realised that I was doing my employer dirty when I’d sit in meetings as the marketing manager of Block hotels and someone would say there is a new bar called Bob’s that’s killing our own nightclub, Noons nightclub. Nobody knew I owned Bob’s. But not for long, so I quit.
I was apprehensive. I was leaving a monthly salary for something uncertain. The first month we made 52k profit, which we split, so I made 25K. I had a car loan. The following month we did 180K, then 400K, then it kept climbing as Bob’s became this vessel on jet fuel that just soared and soared. In 2003, Kimenyi, a contact in the hospitality industry, told me that State House was looking for someone. I threw my hat in the ring and came down to Nairobi for an interview at the State House with three stern and dyed-in-the-wool civil servants. I killed it.
I started my job as Principal Household Service Manager in the State House in 2003, working for President Mwai Kibaki. I was in charge of all State Houses and lodges covering food and beverage, maintenance and gardening. I was also in charge of State house protocol and all functions. President Kibaki called me by my first name. I travelled everywhere he went. I would travel three days before his arrival with a forward party consisting of housekeeping, waiters and chefs to make sure we changed his bedsheets, that the duvet was the right one, that his meals were to his liking, that he had the right soap and shampoo and that there were no roses in his room (he didn’t like those) and generally that his living conditions were up to standard and that he was as comfortable and at home as possible in foreign countries. He especially loved London. He was happiest there. He would tell me stories about his school days in London, filled with nostalgia, as I stood smiling, my hands behind my back because he was after all, the President. I was as close to power as you can get, at the very heart of where it frothed with ambition.
I also developed high blood pressure while working in State house. It was a great gig but it was also frustrating as I discovered. I’d develop anxiety before his travels because if he ever fell sick after eating anything, I’d surely be put in handcuffs to answer questions. It wasn’t just the president I was serving, it was the office, someone elected by tens of millions of people. I had an altercation with someone very powerful inside the State House and I was fired twice but reinstated each time after the president intervened secretly. Meanwhile Bob’s Bar was soaring so much that in 2004 I, together with my brother Peter and close friends opened Psys Bar on Langata road.
In 2005 I was fired from State House for good. I had it coming. The President couldn’t protect me anymore. I carried my shit out of there in a box, locked out of power but with immense opportunities waiting beyond the gates. In 2006, Peter, myself and others, opened Psys bar in Westlands. Then in 2006 we opened Slims Restaurant on Ralph Bunch/ Lenana Road. It had that lovely sullen vibe about it, a place fit for a dinner date but also with a sunken bar for drinks. Sometimes we had a band, sometimes we didn’t. In 2007 my wife turned down a job at Kenya Airways as Head of inflight services and standards but recommended me for the post which I got. I was in charge of cabin crew operations, scheduling and training. I was the guy who decided which cabin crew flew where. It came with major problems, politics and temptations. I had come to KQ with a promise not to mess with any of those girls because I had had a nasty experience at my previous job in Samburu. I had slept with the secretary who, after the affair ended had greatly sabotaged me. She’d hide my mail. I’d be in the meeting and my visiting boss would ask, ‘Mwai, what’s the status of the new menus and wine glasses?” and I’d look around and go, “What new menu? What glasses?” I almost got the sack, man. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Resisting the girls at KQ was a high-wire act. I was in charge of thousands of cabin crew, most of whom were long-legged and stunning. The temptation to put my hand in the cookie jar was dizzying. I had countless opportunities to take full advantage of my position. I could have scheduled a tryst out of the country, in a seaside city like Cape Town, under the ruse of work and nobody would have been none the wiser. But Samburu had put the fear of God in me. So I didn’t. I constantly looked the other way. I heard whispers that I was gay.
In 2008 my marriage hit a brick wall and broke right in the middle like a cookie. I had it coming, though. The following year the KQ carpet was yanked from under my feet. I was jobless. In 2010 we opened Mercury Lounge at ABC place with my bro and a few other close friends. The following year we opened Psys bar CBD and Mercury Lounge at Junction mall and then Psys at T-mall in 2013. We also opened Mercury Delta Plaza, and Mchana pub and grill on Ngong Road. I was up to my tits in the bar business. And I was making money. Lots of it.
There was a time when I was sitting upstairs looking at a throng of people at Bob’s bar, jostling to get a drink and I thought, ‘these guys are fighting to give us their hard-earned money!” I was making millions from these bars every weekend, driving fantastic cars, wearing pure gold chains and flying abroad for holiday. Then slowly, things started to unravel. One by one, various market reasons led to the start of our bar closures. They started falling like dominoes; Slims in 2011, Psys Westlands in 2014, Psys CBD the following year, Mercury Junction 2017, Psys T-mall 2018 and then Bob’s bar – my first baby – in 2018.
Because when it rains it really pours, my relationship with my baby momma also screeched to a halt. My daughter, who I had taken abroad for studies, needed money for fees and I had underestimated how costly it would be. I was broke and I couldn’t pay for her education, my first child. I felt like I was failing her. Last year, the bottom fell off and I fell into depression. I lost weight. I woke up daily, clothed in sadness. I was afraid to step outside, to be in the sun because it made me feel naked. I avoided seeing friends. I’d wake up and pad around the house aimlessly or just sit in a heap of hopelessness. The few times I’d venture outside the house I’d dread meeting anyone I knew, dreaded to stand there and make small talk. Because I couldn’t meet my financial obligations I felt less and less of a man. Each day my manhood withered. I slept a lot. I lost all taste for life. I’d just sit in my chair feeling small and worthless and pitiful.
The only bright thing in my life was Nyambura, who I was seeing and living with. She’s petite, beautiful, strong. She held my hand when I was stumbling through the brackish waters that had become my life. She’s the only one I wanted to spend my days with. “Baby, hold my head,” I would tell her. I didn’t want her to leave the house for work and leave me alone in the house. I was clingy and needy. This woman eventually saved me, but first I went through shit when COVID came and swept away the remnants of what I had.
Peter, my bro, advised me to offload the assets I had. You throw shit overboard to stay afloat, that’s the basic principle. “That shit is not helping you, man.” He told me. So I sold my house to a nice Somali guy and I paid my daughter’s fees and invested in this home delivery business that I’m doing now. This was Nyambura’s idea. “You are a great host, and a great cook, why don’t you turn that into a business, deliver it instead of hosting it.” She said. So here we are. I started cooking and delivering food and my self esteem started rising and I started feeling like a man again, but not the man I was, a better man. A man who has been bruised and survived it. Every man has to be bruised to be a better version of themselves.
I must have lost about 60-million shillings.
But I don’t see it as lost money, I see it as the fee I paid to discover this new me. When I was in the bowels of depression, when I couldn’t even see the hand I was holding before my eyes because of the darkness of loneliness and unhappiness, my brother Peter was there for me. He called and even though he wasn’t aware I was depressed, even though I didn’t open up to him, he just knew and he kept calling. And he kept loaning me money. Him and another friend called Timothy Kabiru, a stand-up guy, would often come through for me financially.
When I stopped working at State House, nobody would pick my calls and of course my phone stopped ringing. When you fall from grace you learn, which is odd because we all know these things. We know we should invest in solid relationships. We know friendships are superficial, based on what you have and who you know and which parties you go to. For the longest time I was investing in things: cars, plots, watches, clothes. I’d wake up at the crack of dawn to go meet people and do deals in order to buy plots, to buy new things. To what end? What do you need three houses and two cars for? We’d go to Narok to look for land and get chased away by Maasais, for what? I’d be looking for the prettiest girl to hang onto my hand, so that my peers could say, did you see that bird Arthur was with jana? For what? Why did I need to go to Italy just so that I could show my trip off on Instagram? Money is smoke. I spent my life doing deals, getting into some businesses like sports betting for the sake of money, things I didn’t enjoy doing when what I needed to do was just follow my passion.
I now live a very simple, uncomplicated life. I’m making just enough to pay rent and live off but I’m more peaceful than I have ever been. I’m not chasing waterfalls anymore. I’m just happy to be here, swimming in my small stream. I have rediscovered my passion, my purpose. I cook. I have a drink at my balcony. I feel sunset on my face. I love my woman. I wake up daily and I cook. I don’t wear a blazer or fancy shoes or gold. I don’t care what the latest sunglasses are. I spend my whole day in tracksuits and a cloth towel hanging from my hip and I grill as I hear Nyambura in the next room taking orders on the phone. A Glovo guy will ring the bell to pick up orders for delivery. The peace I have now is unimaginable.
You have a compelling story for 2020? A Covid story? Kindly, [email protected] Also, the registration of Bikozulu Creative Writing Masterclass is still on. [email protected]
No comment? Yaay. First comment today. So I comment, then read then comment
Haha… This doesn’t get old? 🙂
Check this out: https://himizascribes.com/2020/09/15/the-richest-of-stories/
Kiongozi, congratulations. A most sobering story I have read in a long long while; all the best Arthur, I take great delight in the fact that you bounced back and bounced back new and wise. As for Nyambura, may Heaven reward you, the likes of you are rare.
We chase happiness, when really , it should come from within.Such a compelling story
It’s in Samburu that an elephant chased me. You don’t want an elephant chasing you … pretty normal convo this side of the world 🙂 #ILoveMyCountry
It’s a pleasure to read
I feel like so much has happened here and in such a fast pace, i need to re-read this to come to terms with it all.
I feel the same too.
Same case a novel could come out of this
What’s his cooking gig? I want to order in…
It’s called AthursLafayette on IG and FB
Wow! Just Wow!
Oh Biko. I don’t know what you’ve done to me. I was in the washroom and had finished my business and was about to get into the shower when my phone buzzed with the email notification that you had posted. I’m still here on the toilet seat commenting. That’s how much I look forward to your posts. (Do you guys go to the washroom with your phone? To read or watch sth as you do your bathroom business? I do that because it helps me take my time. I’m sorry, am I disgusting you?)
Onto the story now. Thank-you for sharing this with us. My takeaway is that passion is everything. And to invest in real relationships. And also that money is just smoke.
I do that all the time, actually, everytime i get an email notification, i just wait for my next bathroom visit
You are not disgusting especially because I do the same! The toilet seat moment is special. It does help to take your time and be patient!
Wow! This guy has lived a thousand lifetimes!!!
I was today years old when I learned that elephants sleep while standing
Peace It Is. Oh Biko. The stories you share shape the world man. Thank you.
I can imagine Arthur standing in his balcony in the unpredictable weather of this city with a cloth towel hanging from his hip. Living a simple life and getting excited at the next Glovo order and loving every 5-star rating. Just a man sharing his cooking craft with Nairobi and loving his Nyambura.
That image is a stark contrast of the man who owned several pubs, served as the food guy for the president, conquered the party life in South Africa, and scorned a woman in Samburu. I can’t imagine how it feels to earn a few million shillings every weekend but I think it feels damn good. Maybe the same feeling of diving into a heated swimming pool. Not that I would know how that feels either.
Arthur’s story is a solid tale of finding happiness in the simple. A lesson that there may be lots of money in deciding what the president will eat for supper but that peace could be in deciding what random Nairobians on Glovo will eat in the middle of a pandemic.
Money is smoke ,that is deep …
Can you give us more information about your food business I would love to sample. This was a very nice piece
I feel this is the most important thing that was forgotten in this beautifully inspiring read.
It takes a mixture of courage and beautiful madness to be this guy. Such a great read!
Who else read Kerea as kerea?
For someone who has been reading Bikozulu since “The Giraffe” days and rarely comments, this has struck a chord. I am very happy for you Mwai. The most liberating thing a human being can do is get off the shackles of earning or making a lot of money to live this life that you really don’t enjoy.
I took the plunge beginning of August. I resigned from my corporate job with no job in sight. I was unhappy, frustrated, dull and constantly fell sick. I had known for a while that the career path I had found myself on wasn’t the one for me, but adulting and raising three children alone most of the time meant I needed to wear my big girls pants and soldier on. Yet my purpose and reason for life kept gnawing at my heart. The lack of fulfillment every night when I lay my head on the pillow ensured I suffered insomnia daily.
I got tired of the suffocating lifestyle and took the jump. I turn 36 in October and it is time I live my purpose and find a way to make ends meet out of it. I have been waiting for the dreary feeling of regret , “Girl, what did you just do resigning without another job,” but only joy fills my heart. I am excited for the next chapter of my life and can’t wait to fly and not hold back.
Money is smoke.
Mwai I wish you the very best!!
Wow! your comment caught my eye. Very authentic and interesting journey you have. I would love to hear more- I produce a podcast called Lifenpurpose and I think yours is a story we could learn a tad bit from. If you don’t mind and would love to share, please do email me your number on [email protected]
Thanks for this. I reached out via gmail.
You go girl… Fly and soar to heights you never thought imaginable…
Kind of my thingie, too. I also chose to leave a very stable, and lifelong career – but, I was dying slowly everyday – toxic work place, filled with dread and uncertainties – and ventured into agri-business and stuff. I feel your vibe and whatnot. I lost friends and family who valued me for what I used to send them, et al. It’s real. At some point, I realized I didn’t need too much money, I just needed enough – to be happy. Am so glad I left a suffocating job, to do what I love.
My former work place was not toxic but I can relate with ” filled with dread and uncertainties”. Though I would have wished to stay longer it is good I was let go cordially. I am now rejuvenated and at my happiest. I actually regret not leaving much much earlier and finding my groove.
Hi Adu Mercy, I am also in your club of big girls pants A mother of three with a great life experience too.Kindly let us link up on email
My email is [email protected]
“I was unhappy, frustrated, dull and constantly fell sick. I had known for a while that the career path I had found myself on wasn’t the one for me, but adulting and…….. meant I needed to wear my big girls pants and soldier on”
Mercy this is so me! i have been “toying” with the idea of resigning- i have actually tried it ones then got dissuaded by my boss- but people are always ‘whats your exit plan?’
Thanks though, you have really helped a sister
Biko!!!…. This is the most beautiful story I have read in a very long time!
He’s lived life! He met life and danced with it and finally, living his passion. Not many get to do that. He’s blessed! Many times over!
Nyambura, thank you! You are a keeper!
Cheers and all the best. You have GIFTED HANDS!!!
Wow!! Talk of of an article with all sorts of emotions.
Haha he watched people fighting to give them their hard earned money..
What did I just read???
Quite a tale, valuable lessons, money sure is smoke!! Glad that he’s discovered and loves his fur self.
I have been such a follower, and user of this brand, it took me through my young wild years, well. It was very sad when they started closing, one by one. However, once a star, always a star. The blossom is in your touch! Whatever you touch, will blossom, so just keep touching…
Reminds of several articles i have penned on ‘if only we knew the important things in life’. And those things are not material. Unfortunately, most people realize this simple truth too late in their lives.
I have read this twice.
What a story.
Anyhow, readers around, I’m looking for internship in HR/ or any job for a start. Anyone who can link me, I’ll appreciate.
Many lessons to learn from the article. Follow your passion. Don’t chase waterfalls.
……..Vanity, a chasing after the wind!…….The Holy Book says!
I love this piece!
Wow……this story is on another level
… unbeknownst – love this word in your writing!
What a lesson”When you fall from grace you learn”
I’ve learnt alot. Thank you Biko
Life oh life!
wow!!!!! Just amazing
His burgers are phenomenal!
Good story and good luck Arthur.
What a story…wish him all the best in his endeavors….where can we order?
Psys T-mall used to be my joint man in 2016. I couldn’t afford it but I used to save for it. Those beautiful ladies there really inspired me to work hard in life.
Quite a read. Feels like Arthur has lived several lifetimes. Sad that Bob’s Bar is no more; was a favourite hang out when I was at the Coast.
Wow! A great story it is.
Note to self: I need to stop complicating life. There’s a lot of joy and peace in simplicity. No more trying to keep up with the Joneses.
(I’m not chasing waterfalls anymore. I’m just happy to be here, swimming in my small stream)………….Being content with what you have is the best feeling in the world ….Just peace and Vibes
Fantastic read….encouraging too.
This is one of the best stories I have read. I had awesome experiences at Psys Langata and Mercury at the Junction… I am happy Arthur found peace. Interestingly, I’m a driver with a degree
What a story. This is most of us this year. Covid has knocked us back to factory settings!…Props to everyone still in it this far.
On the flip side, sad to hear Bob’s is no more.
Anybody ever escape to Mombasa to get away from you usual just for a short while but then end up at Bob’s only to get half the vagabonds from your local are in there!!….
Wah he’s had an amazing life, I mean being chased by an elephant among other things. He should seriously consider writing a book. Glad he’s reached a place of peace and calm now.
I love how he’s risen, a better version he’s proud of.
Absolutely fascinating. The realest and most captivating story I have read in a long time
“I’m not chasing waterfalls anymore”,that line is real deep…glad that he rediscovered himself and happy,all the best to him and his new business venture.
“When you fall from grace you learn, which is odd because we all know these things. We know we should invest in solid relationships. We know friendships are superficial, based on what you have and who you know” ..The things we know but still ignore and realize waaay later
It’s the simple things, persuasion of one’s passion that gives life a solid meaning.
The principle of true north!
An insightful read it is.
“Now, I’ve never had the opportunity of looking at an elephant’s ass before, so I really didn’t recognise it immediately” Biko!!! I paused to laugh at this .
1. I definitely want to hear the story of his first marriage.
2. Kunaitwa nini tupige order?
3. God bless Nyambura!!
We know we should invest in solid relationships. We know friendships are superficial, based on what you have and who you know and which parties you go to.
Money is smoke! He lost 60 what! And now hes paying rent!
This story is some deep sh**! Thanks Biko
I have been among those “fighting to give me their hard earned money….” at Psys Langata road. How i loved the name and class. Sad to know that its no more. Arthur right now is livinh a more fulling life than then.
Am encouraged to simply choose my small joys and stay content (my Nyambura & cooking ) thanks Arthur for sharing.
Wow! God bless his new journey. I’m turning 28 in October. I have had several near death experiences that have taught me many of the lessons in this article. Most importantly I’ve learnt that life is to be lived actively not exploited for status or for accumulation. Passive living kills more dreams than many know.
Wow…. I thought my life was a movie. Its barely a season. But you know what, I’m encouraged and I’m looking forward to that very peaceful moment where I do what I love and at the same time have the one I love by my side..and just recently I concluded that’s all I need. Lots of money is good but should I even get it in billions, it ain’t everything, it will never determine who I am or should be. Rivonia is awesome by the way
The temptation to put my hand in the cookie jar was dizzying.
This cracked me up! Thank God you resisted. That could have been such a blow to your wife, after she sacrificed that job offer just for you to have it!
Nyams, keep it up!! Good women still exist
This has for sure struck a chord….
Having been a fun of each and every joint that you’ve had I’ve read this with hanging tears….but most of All….I have also had a good laugh…… Youve got great sense of humor. This is truly the most inspiring story I have read during Covid 19 times.
Arthur your star will shine again and it will shine soo bright. Keep on…
Am truky happy that you have found life’s purpose. You have lived life and danced to every tune of life and now you are living your passion. God Bless you Nyambura for standing by Arthur… To Arthur May God continue to bless the work of your hands.
What’s the name of the burger joint we make orders?
Life has a way of teaching us simplicity.
And that’s the truth!
Wow, Courage in one word! These impactful soul lessons comes in the moments we choose to unlearn who society projected on us.
I am happy Mwai you found yourself. That you are taking a day at a time. That you stepped out of the matrix and no longer participate in the rat racez.
Nyambura is a gem!
This is best piece I have read in a while. Say Hi to Peter….
Very inspiring, Arthur should think of coming up with a book about his life experiences.
How I loved to frequent the Psys and Mercury Lounge pubs. Damn. A beautiful story full of sadness but with an amazing end. Nyambura is a keeper. God bless her.
What a story! We made memories at Bobs. My take away- money is smoke; invest in relationships
All the best Mwai
Such a captivating story, life lessons. Glad to have been inspired today.
Candid, Raw and oh so true, thankyou Arthur for allowing yourself to be vulnerable, your words have stirred an awakening in me and i am sure in others. Rick Warren in his book (highly recommend) Purpose Driven Life says those experiences in our lives that were the hardest, gruelling are our most impactful testimonies, share them!!
Indeed money is smoke. Great lesson learnt from his story.
Life lessons kwa wingi. COVID has us locked away from home for months. Makes Greenfields Kitale sound nostalgic. heheh.
The ever elusive Happiness.
Thankyou Arthur for allowing yourself to be vulnerable, your words have stirred an awakening in me and i am sure in others. Rick Warren in his book (highly recommend) Purpose Driven Life says those experiences in our lives that were the hardest, gruelling are our most impactful testimonies, share them!!
Wow. Deep. Realistic. Arthur’s digits?
Arthur has been to the top and to the bottom. Very few of us come from that bottom. Thanks for this story Biko. Life lessons indeed.
Maybe, this was the whole point of 2020. For us to just stop and focus and what really is the point of life.
Pass by hear and get a taste of Bikozulu Masterclass student: https://himizascribes.com/2020/09/15/the-richest-of-stories/
Indeed vanity is just billows of smoke… It’s superficial and has never brought happiness to no human
“I’d be looking for the prettiest girl to hang onto my hand, so that my peers could say, did you see that bird Arthur was with jana? For what? Why did I need to go to Italy just so that I could show my trip off on Instagram? ”
Grown man talking.
This story has given me Hope. Arthur you were a good HOI..
Can i get his menu please?
Arthur is top notch. Kick it boy. Be you
Just how many lifetimes did you have? Felt like you have lived 5 or more. The energy in your story is captivating.
Going through my mails every Tuesday has turned into a habit, with great anticipation I look forward to what Biko has in store; and today’s article is beyond what words can explain.
Thank you for the great work
The Satellite kitchen is called [email protected],
To Order please call 0703391451
We close every Tuesday.
Thank you people for all your kind comments.
We are glad our story has left a positive impact.
Biko always on point on these life stories
Very compelling story ….I’ve done bar business for some years back… though on a much smaller scale & i can identify with some parts of the story ….i like the part where he says ….”Every man has to be bruised to be a better version of themselves.” this is definitely true. I think at some point life is about self discovery, doing what you like (or following your passions) ….and generally becoming a better version of yourself as time goes by
Awesome story, Mwai was my boss in KQ. Such an inspiring story. Lesson learnt.
“I see it as the fee I paid to discover the new me”..I felt that!I’m glad you are content in your newness,second chances cost a dime.Live.Laugh.Love
“Money is smoke” I want that Smoke…..
‘I’m not chasing water falls anymore’ It’s a lovely story. Rediscovering one self and hidden treasures in this life..
The meaning of life
Wow, this guy had all the opportunities bana .Glad he his picking up.This time more wiser and with lots of peace.
Beautiful story. All the best Mwai life is short enjoy it with the one you love!
‘Chasing waterfalls’ would have been the title of this -incredible read!
Wow…an authentic and great story.Mwai has lived on both worlds very high end to normal, but the message well brought out ‘Money is Smoke’ focus on solid and real friendships and passion brings true happiness with a good keeper of course.
Wow, this was a whirlwind. So money isn’t everything and anybody can go back to zero pretty quick but with great lessons.
What a story. Advise Mwai to write a book. Each paragraph of this story is a chapter. They title all look so clear in my head.
What a life he has had.
Me feels like this should be a whole book!
Deep. Thanks for writing and sharing this. Game of life.
My word……. A1 story. One of my best reads on this blog since Alley Tales.
Aaaahh this story feels rushed..it’s like there were so many different stories each fighting to make it to the main page story – the headline issue..
But I loved the elephant piece..I also donno how an elephants ass looks like …that cracked me up!!
I love how bikozulu narrates stories..big up i love your stories
A cimplelling and humbling story
Wisdom is indeed your portion.
Quite inspiring story, and funny haven’t laughed this much in a while…
Sure if it would be turned into a movie it would be … worthwhile!
This could be a movie script. Have you worked on any movie scripts before or would it be something that interests you?
I love this story because I know Authur. I first met him at Bob’s then at a meeting in KQ. He is a great guy by all means. I’m happy he gave his name so now I can relate to the story. People used to say he was Kibaki’s nephew because of the name and I actually thought he owned Slims with Jimmy Kibaki. His Grace will return. He has lived a great life, few people have lived half his life. I wish him the very best. Hang in there Authur.
Waoh beautiful thrilling
I’m not chasing waterfalls anymore… The biggest life lesson of this pandemic is that we have been overcomplicating our lives. A little goes a long way…
A man who has been bruised and survived it. Every man has to be bruised to be a better version of themselves…
I live for this.
Mind blowing… Reading this as I pass by Muchana Grill… Never seen it before.
Great lessons here.
The power of truth and humility If only people could face their truth..the freedom that comes when you know oneself and your limitations..What brings most people down is delusions of self importance.Even in the highest point in life humility allows one to be sober minded and realise i may be successful but..good for you Arthur..you were lucky to have 3 good friends and listened to their good advice.there’s a saying”You laugh with many people but cry alone ‘
Sad, how money can be deceiving. Every man has to be bruised to be a better version of themselves.
Every word, every line
Need to re read and come into terms with this great Biko
Amazing story, well written , well told….a good lesson right there money is smoke!
I was in Coasto around this time when Bobs Bar was Bobs Bar
and I was operating a taxi from Bobs bar area… if you ever took a cab and the drivers name was Sam (short kiuk guy) and Karisah ( Giriama boy and his brother) .. I was part of that crew … let me tell you Maina …
we made mad chums then from guys coming into Bobs (picking up guys who were lodging at the beach hotels ) ~ kwanza folks from Baraa ( Nai) .. coz I was a guy of Nai… people would. Relate with me mbaya sana … I was tour guide cum pimp at some time
to dropping off guys from Bobs …. I once dropped off a client in Malindi… yes I drove from nyali (hapo caltex) to Malindi to drop off a client with a mummi he had chippod from Bobs at 4am
That weekend I didnt work mpaka the following weekend…. that’ guy paid me chums to sustain me for a whole week. …
Back then Bobs was Bobs….. we made money/ mad chums
I would look at the owners of Bobs and look up to this guys yaaani…. one day me too nitapata zangu… well that dream fizzled out … and im now in West Africa reading this story with lots of Nostalgia.
Yenyewe pesa is just but dust.
Build relationships for me is very key
Great reading this
Its taken me way back into time
From cab driver to a life in West Africa.. that sounds like an interesting story!
Am still trying to pronounce “psys”
Wow! But wow. In am.so motivated by this story .
This felt like many lifetimes in words. So many lessons to learn from Arthur on life, loss and money. This had to be read twice too.
Great read as always !
Money is like Smoke !
Amazing story…. Arthur is a great chef . He missed out on the stint he had with Ngacha on “doof” food show? I wonder how that went , would be great to know ……
My brother Arthur thanks for sharing what most of us have could the gusts to do so – Indeed as part of the block hotels team and fellow Nairobi – I do recognize some of those events like at Nyali Beach now internationa NB resort- Wishing you all the best – we should get together some time Bro
The rollercoaster was on another level, na school fees ulilipia! Oh may we learn early…not everyone will have a chance to come out alive!
Great life story.
Great piece, I’m a hotelier by profession and can relate all the experiences.
‘No more chasing the waterfalls and finding inner peace’, good take home.
The thing about this blog that I love is that it’s got a tonne of life lessons that we needn’t go through life to learn them but we can read from others lives.
Nice read. Love the reference to my favorite song by TLC.
Call 0703391451 to order.
Thank you for all the love.
Wao! Arthur, Thank you sharing . I am so happy l can have my Slims wings and Mercury burger . Placing and order asap !
This is one of those posts that you read and implore God for a sit down, a tête-à-tête. Then the first word that comes out your mouth is, ‘God I see what you’re doing for others.’
Arthur’s come back game is so strong, it’s like his ancestors pleased God with their burnt offerings, and poured just the right amount of libations. He also has to share which position he takes while talking to God. We will copy. Is it kneeling, falling flat on his face or standing with his arms stretched out. We are on standby with our notebooks and pen.
The elephant scenario took me out. The gentle giants can turn into raging stompers when startled. Elephants sleep standing? Who would’ve thought?
Powerful lessons right there!!
Nice Storty,I met Arthur at the famous Bob’s Bar those many years ago with Badar. What are his contacts we promote the business?
Got to know Mwai quite well as the Psys’ guy between 2005 (Psys, Langata Rd), Psys CBD (2011 – 13) & Psys T-Mall (till 2015ish). What’s the moral of this true story? When Life cuts ye down to psys, all you need is the chance to seize the opportunity to size your real worth in this life …
A beautifully powerful story! Mwai
Did the president use his infamous accent off camera?
This is so eye-opening in so many ways with various takeaways; friendships, passion, priorities and basically life lessons. I used to be a regular at Psys T-mall when visiting my friends who stayed at Mada. Thinking of those days just makes me smile
Life is more than just chasing waterfalls!
Arthur Mwai, there was a time when you would sit upstairs looking at a throng of people at Bob’s bar, jostling to get a drink and think, ‘these guys are fighting to give us their hard-earned money!” That was so me, i must admit i was among your most loyal customers, especially at Mercury Lounge, ABC Place, am not sure if it still exists, thanks for the nice times, but you owe me back part of “my hard-earned money!” Wish you the best, and this story has made me make the decision, its time i took the jump and start living, not just surviving. Thanks Biko.
Wow….Realiest stuff ive heard this year..
Purpose wispers,calls & eventually shouts out loud.Sometimes its heard,sometimes its not.Those who hear it – are never the same again.Kudos Arthur,It can only get better from where you @❤❤
Wow! The most awesome piece have read in a longtime.
Worth every word! All the best to Arthur and kudos to the author
An interesting read.
This is me kabisa
Always a thrilling read with underlying lessons of course.
What an article
Wow! The best thing to have in this life is peace of mind indeed.
Hilarious tearful & insightful sojourn
Bobs bar was the place back in the day
Oh Biko. What a story. These are the things majority of us are chasing. I feel some details like why you would lose the KQ and state house jobs has been left out. Is it bank loans that made you dispose off your assets? If you had plots and bought houses, you could have left yourself one instead of paying rent. All in all this is such an eye opener for us. Money is indeed a smoke.
The fall from grace. Most of life valuable lessons are taught from the fall…. But eventually He who restores grace… gives it a much deeper meaning.
Arthur has lived many lifetimes, seen a lot of things. so many lessons to take home from his story
Biko, you must have heard this a mlion times – you are truly gifted and I’m glad you are there to shape and share stories for the rest of us common folks. Bless you man.
When we realise what matters we really wish we had known early. But you sir. I salute you. The nine lives of a cat cannot compare to you
Athur, this is a beautiful summary of your life honestly articulated- , the ending and the lessons are so true and I am thankful that you dusted yourself, and are trying again but wiser and more content this time around….thank you for sharing and for being generous with your story & acknowledging Nyambura, Peter and Timothy, the true ones. “True friends are those rare people who come and find you in the dark places and lead you back to the light”, I lift you high up in love and light and wish you the very very deepest levels of peace,awareness, presence and contentment. Biko, thank you for giving us a gift so well written, as always.
Anyone we go has traveled this road can identify the landmarks!
Wow! Biko! That story left me breathless! Arthur Mwai you have a lived a full life 2-3 times over! Kudos … yes money is just smoke and at then end, following your passion is everything!
Beautifully written story full of life lessons. I am glad he won the battle against depression. Very inspiring story, with great lessons, thanks for sharing, Biko.
No more chasing waterfalls…
“You don’t want an elephant chasing you – it’s like a storied house chasing after you…The elephant shtukad, raised its trunk and started making that deafening elephant sound. Then it started chasing me and I ran around the house. I tried my keys quickly, but the door didn’t open, so I ran around again, eventually making it inside. I stared out the window and found the elephant staring back at me, angry at being awoken with a light shining on its ass. It was breathing hard. We both were…
“I now live a very simple, uncomplicated life. I’m making just enough to pay rent and live off but I’m more peaceful than I have ever been. I’m not chasing waterfalls anymore. I’m just happy to be here, swimming in my small stream. I have rediscovered my passion, my purpose. I cook. I have a drink at my balcony. I feel sunset on my face. I love my woman. I wake up daily and I cook. I don’t wear a blazer or fancy shoes or gold. I don’t care what the latest sunglasses are. I spend my whole day in tracksuits and a cloth towel hanging from my hip and I grill as I hear Nyambura in the next room taking orders on the phone. A Glovo guy will ring the bell to pick up orders for delivery. The peace I have now is unimaginable.”
What an encouraging story such keeps me going and very strong .indeed Athur has lived a life … Good that he has found happiness .To Nyambura you are such a gem .indeed money is smoke ..
To peter wesh hello
Not to be rude, but I always secretly wonder how long people who live reckless lives do it for. I feel like alot hasn’t been shared here, but I’m super glad he’s back on his feet
Also love how super chill Kibaki is. Best we ever had
Peter is the Driver with a degree.He saved you severally.
I gatz questions y’all. How was he “balling” in SA and yet was unable to pay for his wedding, please. Also, Wonder where his first wife is, sis was determined to get married she paid for the wedding herself!!! God bless her
I’d say it’s because he was ‘ballin’ in SA is why he couldn’t afford it. Money’s funny that way. The more you spend the less of it remains.
‘I’m not chasing waterfalls anymore. I’m just happy to be here, swimming in my small stream. ‘
That is all that matters. A peace that no one can comprehend.
Greatest adventure ever lived!
A great read awaiting to be written.
I thought I’ve had it in this life but man,a life just been saved
#money is smoke
#passion is everything
So much to learn from this story. Indeed money is smoke. Driver with a degree is a true brother.
Great Man. At first I thought you were describing me. The genius who would cram all numbers including mobile phone numbers including those of random characters in bars and not limited to boda boda guys. One of my friends Oscar would occasionally tell me that I am wasting my RAM memorizing useless info. Eventually we life story. What we good read! Especially that part of the elephant chasing round the house. It reminds me of one of those trips I would make to Maasai Mara. One night after galloping was whole litre of famous groose, the time to rest my tired ass came as I had an early morning balloon safari. No sooner had I been escorted by the scared looking rangers than the rumbling fart of the elephants sleeping right next to my tent started. Have you ever felt like peeing but there is no pee at all? Story for another day.
Money is indeed just smoke
All the best Arthur and God bless Nyambura
Wow, Arthur. I so glad you’re alright. Do keep well.
What’s the name of his food joint?
You are a good writer.let us engage.
my narration could be long haul story or biography but once we talk,some direction may be gotten.
Wow indeed the simplicity of a God given life
Beautiful story!! God loves you Arthur that’s why he gave you so so many new chances. I want some of that Good food delivered aswell.
Try having a real relationship with God,,,it is spiritual and everlasting as well as fulfilling.Solid friendship with guys is not dependable,and has never been!
Spirituality is not for everyone. Just because it works for you doesn’t mean it will work for me.
I have loved reading this, I don’t even do long posts but this one, went through word by word and it was definitely worth it.
well written biko for those of us who know Athu that was brave very inspiring!
Wow what a journey, almost like a roller coaster. Glad you eventually picked yourself up and now you have some peace. “Umeona mkono wake by Bwana”- that song befits you.
I have so many beautiful memories of Arthur – the experiences he created and his humour, kindness and humility even when he was doing so well. Please don’t regret your past. Learn from it and embrace your new beginning.
You read such stories from/about other people but it doesn’t touch you, but when you read this from/about someone you have interacted with at a personal level, it sinks right through your heart. I’m glad you got through with-it Arthur and its brave of you to come out and talk about it with a sense of humor too. Our paths crossed severally; I believe it will again soon. I wish you well.
Best thing I’ve read today. It’s alright to start all over. Even better with experience.
High paced adrenaline story! Book? Reminds me of the Count of Monte Cristo, from the 1st page to the last one, by the time you are done, because of the thrill and adrenaline, you get a book hangover.
Or in movies, it has to be Denzel Washington movies, like Equalizer, action packed, suspense, rushing to know what happens next kind of adrenaline.
A lesson learnt, with a stretched comparison, of Leo Tolstoy short story; how much land does a man need? When all is said and done, social capital is invaluable.
Thank you Mwai for sharing your experience, lessons abound. Biko, as always, my hands are on the ground, in your honor.
Your story is very relatable at so many levels. Love that you found yourself, love and new meaning to life. Well done.
Oh my. What a life. I remember Arthur and Peter. The big bosses from psys langata. I would feel sick if I missed a weekend. I was working at masai lodge then and I would leave the park and get to psys even if I had to drive back at 4 am not caring if lions were lying on the road. Good pick up Arthur. Hope to hear of better stories of new success. People will always judge you no matter what. But there is always a back story.
You have to live ….To see. Nice story with wisdom.
Any chance you could draft an exective summary? Damn, this is toooo long.
“But I don’t see it as lost money, I see it as the fee I paid to discover this new me. ” Motivating…
Such a compelling story
Wow. A great article worth the time
Life has highs and lows… You’ve hit them both … very encouraging .
Super good read.
A very well written article,, from the heart.
This is deep!!
There’s more to peace of mind than the worldly pleasures that excite us.
In the long run, our fate is always destined to make us learn something new.
My dad worked with Block Hotels too at the same time Mwai did. Did the whole chain circuit and finally Stores Manager at HQ.
I adore Arthur and his infectious passions. His clubs, his bars, his TV show all just beamed with his enthusiasm and genuine joy of life. If I walked into a bar and Arthur was there I’d get a big happy “hello Shan , and what are you drinking?” Generosity and energy is Arthur’s superpower. I have no doubt this second chapter will be marvelous.
Authenticity has a very big price tag to pay. Amazing story well told.
I’m glad that Arthur is in peace.
Peace is very important to a man.
We are all in pursuit of happiness but this guy is already there.
Very deep story I’m touched
Beautiful story…a reminder that happiness comes from within, the simple things in life.
Lessons I didn’t know I needed. This has lifted so much anxiety from me. In the end everything works out.
Wonderful story about Arthur my friend former boss take the steps up man only God is immortal.
Biko your writing is impeccable keep it up
This is an amazing Story. Thank you for being vulnerable, sir. Mad respect to you and thank you for encouraging and warning me. Thank you Biko Zulu for sharing this.
” You throw shit overboard to stay afloat, that’s the basic principle. ” I’m literally noting this down.
This is one therapeutic read I have come across this year. Thank you for sharing. I’m encouraged.
Wooooow….that’s an amazing article
This man is brave…very brave. I will one day also tell my story.
Wow. I really feel inspired right now.
Great Story and totally relatable …..
Skip the noise and find Peace, that’s what it’s all about. But you need the noise to know peace!
We know we should invest in solid relationships. We know friendships are superficial, based on what you have and who you know and which parties you go to.
This one here is the icing on the cake.
Big up man such an inspiring and enlightening piece.
Beautiful story Arthur! I patronized every one of the bars save 2…
Money is smoke. Very dangerous
Quite a good read
Reminds me of the book “What a Life!”,
“When it comes to LOOKING, ALL men when are EQUAL. But when it comes to taking their EYES away, some are more EQUAL than others.”.
by Mwangi Ruheni
Humans have an amazing ability to acquire Money & POWER but cannot translate that into HAPPINESS.
Story of Your Life….
This is as real as it is…am happy Arthur you are content n living your life to the fullest n Happiest.
Invest in real friendships , money is just a smoke!!
Biko changed me.
This is such a humbling and inspiring life lesson. Money is not everything in this life, we mostly “paper chase” everyday instead of chasing happiness and appreciating the little that we have.
Arthur was once my employer at Mercury Junction! @biko, talking of Arthur’s swag, your description was an understatement, we had a habit of counting his shoes back then, I’ll be lying to say I saw him recycle a shoe.
This guy was also spot on when it came to service, cocktails and “doof”(food the other way round – that was also the name for his TV show) no compromise!
I’ll definately order his buffalo wings…
Great article and great lesson…
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Glad he came out of depression.Kudos for realizing that the gift you have inside always saves the day.
One of the best reads ever. What a great lesson, “money is smoke, invest on relationships.” I feel renewed, encouraged and grateful after reading this.
WOW!!!! This Kenya will show us things, Great comeback though, some people are like ducks, shit just rolls right off their backs and they manage to stay aflot
This is the Niko I know
wow Bob’s Bar i asked someone about it last nyt only to get the full story ” phones stop ringing once you dont have what people wanted from you”
Wow what a masterpiece how I wish it was a novel!
Great story and insight from a man who has experienced it.
Every man has to be bruised to be a better version of themselves- This is such a mind provoking piece
Great story man!
Awesome piece of a man easy in his skin.
You, Biko, put light in many a darkness.
I enjoyed Mwai’s story, lost my job just at the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic. Very familiar of the phone going silent , I am hopeful of greater times ahead having read this amazing story.
Wait, why is he still paying rent?? I thought he would have bought a house to live on built a house in all that time?
I guess you need to read the story again.
Wow…..speechless all I can say thanks heaps for sharing this!
Whaaa. This is quite a story. I met Arthur in Mombasa just about the time Bob’s started and he is a hilarious guy. I can’t remember laughing the way I did that evening and night. Peter kweli is one of those hands on guys. Went on an overseas trip with him and I remember every restaurant we went to, Peter would take over, manage us and pay the restaurant owners their dues to the last penny. Lessons learned; no matter what goes down, your gift will make room for you. They say when all is said and done, your skill will serve your purpose. It is your tool either fall back to or stepping stone to your expected end
A very inspiring peace. A true testimony. The beauty of a life of simplicity. I’m touched.
Kangemi kilos pub was my local
I happened to work for Arthur Mwai aka Artur for six years,he was a polished hotelier and very professional,by then literally everything he touched became gold,he was my celebrity boss,am still looking forward to working with him as a partner, he’s a great man,long live Artur.
I think I know your handwriting..
Just for laughs, though
Great read and moral in the story
This is really heart-rending. I am touched, to the core. I hope the words will touch other souls as it has mine
I miss the buffalo wings at slims, with the blue cheese dip. The maître de had great customer service too!!!
Maybe you could get Mwai to get on TedEx. Compelling story. Meaningful and telling. All the best Mwai. Good stuff Bikozulu, well in !
Very touching and scary at the same time, key thing, follow your passion and in good relationships with your people, more so family. I love the telling and the vast lessons, from Italy, to Joburg, Kenya etc, State House, who is who’d belong fired and rehired etc.
Excellent piece… truly inspiring
Every story has an encouraging end to it.
Woow what a story. Thank you
Men stop chasing waterfalls and sunsets and skirts. Build real friendships. Mwai your brother is definitely your keeper, legit guy.
As I read this article it saddens me by the choices people make that literally changes their life’s trajectory. Most men feel lonely because their entire worth and value is defined by women. And right there is where they start to fall. Stay woke.
I was one of those,’fighting to give me their hard earned money’, guys at Psys LA, followed to CBD then Tmall…’One Psys fits all’, I’m glad I found my Psys…clocking 5 years off the bottle and loving the swim in my own stream. The 60M school came expensive but the lessons valuable, where do all these ‘friends’ disappear to?
That’s a great story, entertaining but still entertaining. Do such often and let me know. Sometimes this is a recreation of our own escapades.
If you can, revisit this guy after six months….it will be interesting. Thanks again.
It’s a masterpiece.
What a story man. I have just lived the man’s life through words. Surprisingly, I once dealt with him when they were doing Psys Tmall, I thought he was Kibaki’s nephew, lol.
Amazing read on the ups and downs of life
Poor Arthur…after fighting temptations and resisting long-legged beauties at Kq, they still threw him under the bus. No good deed goes unpunished!
What a compelling story. Feels like Mwai has lived 1000 years.
Fabulous Story well told as always boss keep it up.
Arthur Mwai is the funniest person I have ever met. I can vouch for his story in Sandton city, SA. And not that this story needs any affirmation, it stands for itself.
At that time I had left New York city to ru a high end Nightclub /restaurant in Morning side that was struggling. It was a hit at number one, its name was Kalabash.
It was a casino prior to me turning it to the hottest night club in Sandton city.
That’s where I met Arthur.
What transpired then you can refer to Mwai’s story.
It was guns, roses, women and rock and roll.
I had been assigned a house like the one in Scarface movie.
If you know, you know. Mwai showed me restorts. He was savvy and trigger happy when it came to good times.
The reason I wrote this long response, I had an idea it was about Mwai just by SA story before his name was mentioned and his businesses in Nbo.
We ruled the nightlife in SA.
Mwai used to crack us laughing in the elevators bars in the car everywhere.
I bet Mwai knows who is writing this note even before I sign it ! Lol
I think Mwai had another calling as a celeb in Comedy!
But I don’t know who can afford him.
Glad to know Mwai is doing fine and he is destined to bigger things it just a matter of time before he explodes again.
I would bet he will rule the restaurant and bar industry pretty soon, the business is addictive.
Amazing write, very informative, educative and inspiring. I’d love to meet Arthur some day. I’d love to learn a lot from him as I am in business too and maybe see what we can do together. Kindly assist me reach him if that will not be too much to ask.
Such a compelling story! Money is smoke
The experience with the elephant on another level.
All the best Mwai Glovo!
Such a compelling story! Money is smoke
The experience with the elephant is on another level.
All the best Mwai Glovo!
Ah! My heart!!…
I have good memories of Bob’s, Noons, Psys CBD and Sandton, Johannesburg. I might have met Mwai several times. Great life story with amazing insights and inspiration.
This is such a worthy read…bless you
No loss, it was worth discovering the authentic self
Thats a real mans story!!!! i have lots of respect for Arthur ! He was and is My mentor.
ALL THE BEST BRO!!!!!!
Wow, absolutely amazing. I love that it has a nice ending , that he is peaceful. We know that people like you because of what you have when you are up but we entertain them anyway because it feels good.
Yea, we often travel half-way round the world looking for the happiness we left behind in our room……such is life, and an endless lesson it is!
As an old friend of Arthur’ sI have learned more about him here than I have overt he past 25 years. I can relate to his story in similar and different ways suffice to say I , too, have lived the fast paced life and now only want the simple life bila pressure. Biko…this is as real as it gets. So well captured.
I urge you all to support Arthur in his venture. This guy can grill like no other.
Is this a true story… Well it is so captivating so i forgot i was busy…
Mwai was my boss back then at Bobs.
His experience has enlightened many.
What great piece
That was such a nice story!
Very captivating story, especially coming at a point where I’m pointing many life questions to myself. Thank you good sir this has shed some insight
Very inspiring story. Money is Smoke!!
Oook. So an elephant sleeps while standing, and you don’t torch its ass
Am I the only one who knows this very important person in the statehouse was our very own first lady, Lucy, no?
This story is packed with lessons everyone got to hear. It comes at a time when i am really trying to get my priorities right and i just have. Thank you for yet another masterpiece Biko!!
A touching story,nice piece, kudos
Just finished reading. The 2nd time. First time I jumped a number of paragraphs. Until I realised…wait a minute…this is a true story about the owner of Bob’s, Psys, Mercury, etc. So I went back and read keenly. Great story. Great life lessons. I knew all those pubs. I like exotic pubs and all of them fitted the bill. And in 2007, I met some high level Kibaki campaign team at Mercury ABC Place. I also know the millions one can make with pubs. Been there done that. At some point I wanted to buy Psys in Westlands, but never got to meet the owners because ‘they were Kibaki’s sons and very busy’! That’s what a soldier at Unga House told me. Well, now I know. For Arthur….follow your passion, I’m certain you’re on the road to full recovery, healthwise & businesswise. BEST WISHES!
What an interesting story teller! Your persistence, willingness to acknowledge your own faults, strong support system and generally letting yourself be human with the usual ups and downs of life, all point towards greater success in the future.
Good luck Arthur and thank you for sharing your story!
The world is your Oyster
When you understand your authentic intrinsic value, you get to be secure in who you are not in material things! what a story! very inspiring.
A very nice read it resonates well with my life
Am I the only one who gets disappointed after googling someone and seeing their face and it’s not close to that which I had formed from reading their story? I have never formed an image that is close to what they look like in real life
Simply amazing and inspiring!!
You definitely did justice to his story. I could actually feel the fast pace of his life. So much you can learn from this.
It was very nice reading it.
Interesting. Inspiring. Lessons to be learnt too.
I can relate to the richs to rags (and depression) story, fighting to regain my dignity with my wife (and children) standing by me. I have also experienced ‘hallo hallo’ (aka fake) friends as my dad always called them. At the time of trial, you can could the number of your loyal friends. What a brave human being Arthur Mwai is. Kudos to him!
I know you and actually lived part of the life you are describing as an observer who completely misunderstood the back story of how you guys managed to achieve what you did. I remember when you guys acquired Mercury ABC (I knew about the other ventures) was the point when I told myself that you guys were invincible. What you have done Arthur is bolder than 1000 men put together. You guys are part of my generation’s story. It will be almost impossible to tell the our story without mentioning one of your establishments. You shaped culture. Very few open up to this stage of the journey. The dip before the next spike. Thank you for sharing your story!
Great story. Like in Celine Dion’s song ‘You are alive’
Wow! That’s a worthy story to tell. Great piece.
Brilliant piece of writing.
Wash,this is a must read to every man,thanx.
By now its normal for you to hear how amazing your writing is, flamboyant and smooth of skimmed butter. I’m not a regular here but how you tell a story; honest, raw and unjudged, for me is what I’ve learnt today from you.
Everyone has stories – unlimited in supply. But only few can tell them like the mad in Samburu. Unhinged, unconcerned and the autonomy of comfort under the skin.
Thank you for this.
Most captivating story such is life….the beautiful things in life are absolutely free
This story reminds me of Mark Masons, Purely insightful.May we have the discerning capacity and Nyamburas around us.Nice piece.
When all is said and done; only the “driver-with-a-degree” stands the test of time!
Wishing Arthur Mwai fulfilment in his new endeavors.
This story reaffirms my conviction that God has given us a great, wonderful & simple life but we make it complicated with things that are not necessary; things that shouldn’t define our lives. But as Arthur puts it, it all ends up in smoke. I believe happiness in life should not be chased after but should come from within us in the simplest way possible. We can enjoy the greatness this world has to over in a simple way full of peace of mind.
Very powerful and inspiring story to read. Clear reminder of the the teachings of 1st Corinthians 7:29_31; “What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.”
What an inspiring story…
What a compelling story. I applaud for rising up again.
I wish to receive your beautiful stories on email.
My goodness! Arthu’s story is touching. He is absolutely brave to come out and talk about his story. Wishing him all the success and blessings that he deserve.
I think it’s good to speak what such a powerful person went through so we all get a thing or two about how hard at times life hits us and never to give up in life. I love this story, so inspiring!
Wow… This story speaks to me!
Money is a smoke for sure. Glad he found his purpose that brings peace. Nice read.
The stories is just great. The things that makes happy are very simple. “Every man has to be bruised to be a better version of themselves.” When you fall, just learn to rise as a happy person.
Wow…. What a thrilling story. It sure felt like a movie… Quick movie
Waaa,what thrilling story!Very informative and full of lessons to learn.Thanks for it!
Dear Arthur Mwai, we worked together in nyali beac, the parties at bobs bar, mara ,psys langata and westlands. Why bobs went down is because badar was doing cocaine and we would accompany him to go gamble at nyali cinemax casino . He would call and 350 000 ksh would be bought by your accounts and kwishad coz he woukd loose.
We stood by you anyways in good and bad times. You are still a great person even with all that cash you were still a down to earth guy. I remembervwhen you hired Paul when he came from SA to run bobs for you…we had our fun we woukd drink upto 75 000ksh feeling zero…if i coukd turn the clock back….
Leta number i would like to promote you and make some order….
When you fall. You know your friends. That has been my story too.
Oooooo Biko on this one you had me feeding off your palm like a bird in Mweya safari lodge. I dare hasten to add that me many of your peeps here would love a drink with Mwai, make it happen. Great story of love lost and yet found, of redemption, of mighty small come backs. And it’s funny too.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. @arthurlafayette
In this world true relationship matters. Money will depart and that’s when you realise that it was the root cause of your ‘friends’.
At times in life we have to make wise decision and accept reality before tsunami hits .Brother I salute you for this inspiring story. what I have learnt is Never loose hope in this life and money cannot buy peace
Deep ,deep shit
That’s an good read. But above all it ended well.
You seem to love cooking and I enjoy a good meal. Would you consider offering some basic lessons.
Oh My!……What a story! What a great read! Peter, Nyambura, you are the heroes here. You might just be the reason he lived to tell his story. Arthur, you’ve not cleared all the 9 lives! Keep up Bro. Life is not about money. Life is for the living!
Wow!! Sad but very educative. When you are the top everyone likes you,when you hit rock bottom, you are on your own.it hurts but this is how you know that you’ve grown. Thanks Steve Biko. Peace is all one needs peace of mind and the love of dear ones.
Arthur was always a good human- I have fond memories of him- life comes full circle for everyone – he is where he is supposed to be and that’s okay.
Looking at the mirror of ones self, many people around, a smaller mirror though, but at best you always picked yourself up.
Dizzying stuff of monumental proportions!
Arthur, opportunity dogged you everywhere you went and you seized it.
Wow! just wow! You have been there, done that…
But GOD almighty had other plans for you, and has helped you discover that HIS grace us enough!
You will do just fine
Every man has to be bruised to be a better version of themselves
Yours story is beautiful….especially the now!! Discovering simplicity is a gift
need not sell my soul to buy bliss
Awesome read, pongezi my fellow alumnus of KUC.
All ain’t lost, swim in Christ, and you shall rise more.
This is so powerful Arthur should write a book and someone should do a biopic there is so much content in kenya why are we watching nonsense from our colonial characters this is deep the love betrayal backstabbing biz political conversations in the house n beverage scenes in statehouse bars KQ etc would make for a 5 season series
Inspiring, never say die.
He was my boss then when I worked for mercury group,he lived the life,It’s so unfortunate how things can turn around.
Great and inspiring story
Great story, impeccably written. You did it justice, as you always do.
I feel like you have to have experienced that other side of life the luxurious one, to really know that it takes very simple things to be happy and content in life.
Where can we order his food?
heee what a story.we loved bob’s why lie
Thrilling it is!!
the simple things ni life
Learnt alot from this …its hard to pick yourself up from depression. I salute him and people like Nyabura are rare. Never met her but have fallen in love …when you find the Nyambura do please take care of them too. Such an interesting read.
Waoh!The simple things in life matter most.A very nice piece.
I loooove this
Wow! Would you mind publishing anything on my website afrombo.com?
Wow! What a life l, and good for him.
Wow! Most of us would not come out of that hole..and if we do, not whole.
Floh thanks for leading me here. Great story.
Great context by my former boss at Pays Westlands. I do remember how it was a must to taste his well prepared Pizzas
indeed a very captivating story, i used to work for Arthur back then as an Accountant at Slims restaurant, man you stilled business charisma in me , today an a successful businessman because of what you taught me i still have your number. i remember your bro Peter and other partners .Slims was a class of its own. am glad big Bro you have bounced back, lets seek peace and always be thankful to God Colossians 3: 15-17
The story is just inspirational. It just makes me want to step out of my comfort-zone and do the things I am fearing to do like applying for that job and moving out. I am glad he found peace.
I have read this piece a thousand and one times. and I won’t stop!!!!
This is one of my favorite stories. Hubris. Fall. Hope.
I had a good time at Bob’s in my campus years. Actually one of the most memorable nights with “my dream is to fly over the rainbow…” playing
haha…Arthur is probably the first human living who shined a touch on an elephants ass and lived to tell the story. I love every bit of it Mr. Biko, such a good flow, detailed insights and a very warm sense of humour, I wish I could write like this. This is my favourite line ” snazzy suit that was cut for men who had nothing to loose”
Beautiful story. I learnt this from my grandma, my uncles are rich, my aunties rich too and my Grandma receives all the cash from all of them but she lives a very simple life and she says the simple life equals her happiness. Its the simple things in life that matters. P/S: I always feel like bar business never ends well because of the impact alcohol has on families. So much tears is shade because of those bars and the big man loves tears lol…he comes after people causing those tears to fall(just my opinion)
Wow! This is a story and a half. Indeed it was worth my time. I am an upcoming content writer | blogger and the way you present and articulate your words, blending in your unique grammar is impeccable. I have learnt a lot from this piece. I wish you all the best in your newly found endeavors.
PS: This happens to be the first of many other stories that I am yet to read from your repertoire. This is pure bliss. As a man, having a high Adversity Quotient is significant to your bouncing back from adversaries.
Congratulations Arthur Mwai (Bikozulu) for reviving yourself once again.
Wow! This is an amazing piece!
This story is beyond a “driver with a degree.” I learned something in the last two paragraphs.