Do men really fit in beauty parlours? It is kind of ridiculous how many men perceive taking a plunge into this field without raising eyebrows. But visit Machakos town and meet Boniface Mwaka a 26-year-old beautician who has defied odds to make a mark in a female-dominated field.
Mwaka was born and raised in Makueni County by a single mother alongside two others, his twin brother Nicholus Kilonzo and a girl who is the last born in the family. His brother Kilonzo is a student at Kenyatta University currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in engineering. Mwaka says he was not so lucky in getting a good education.
He studied up to class 8 and sat for his KCPE in 2009 scoring 312 marks. Due to lack of school fees to join form one, he could not continue with his secondary education but allowed his brother a chance to further his education. However, his sacrifice was soon to turn out as a curse.
Since he had nothing to engage himself in, between 2009 and 2011, he started using drugs and loitering around the streets. “Life was so hard handling challenge after challenge. I opted to use drugs to make it easy and not to care anymore,” he told KNA when visited at the Machakos bus park where he plies his manicure trade.
Due to continuous use of hard drugs such as bhang and cocaine, his dreams and ambition of becoming a competent driver were shattered. But in a twist of luck, in 2012, he met a friend, Nicholus Musembi who motivated him to venture into the beauty business. He took the advice positively.
With time he turned from being a drug addict to a competent nail technologist. Initially he started in Nairobi but later moved to Machakos town. “After moving to the city, life became a challenge due to the high cost of doing of business. I finally decided to settle down in Machakos town where most of my friends were currently living,” he adds as he attended to one of his customers.
This work has been supporting his family of three – wife Nancy Wayua and their daughter Mercy Mutheu. He gets at least Sh250, from every client which he says, is enough to take care of his young family.
But as they say, even roses have thorns. The young entrepreneur has nevertheless met challenges. Some of the challenges facing his business are scorching sun, rogue county government askaris, a hostile weather and high cost of some of the products he uses. Be as it may, he is urging the youth not to discriminate work.
“As youth, we should involve ourselves in doing something constructive and not idling all day long in order to put our nation in a better place,” he says.
He says the county government should recognise them as other businesses by giving them licenses. They opt to pay Sh20 a day rather than paying 3,700 yearly. His vision in five years to come is to own a business premise like a wholesale but is quick to admit that this would not kill his love for the beauty business.