The story of K1 club house. Kikuyu persistence & diligence.

Their father was wise enough to teach the kids that no one will own anything in the family business. Kila mtu alipwe salary and benefits. An inspirational article.

The Story of the Kahama family. Networth about 2 or 3 billion bob. Or more, who knows.

[SIZE=6]Club House That has Stood the Test of Time[/SIZE]
THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2019 23:00
BY JACKSON BIKO Kahama Group director of Kahama, owners of K1 Klub House, Parklands Shade Hotel, Kahama Nairobi, Kahama Athi River and Kahama Mombasa. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Before the brouhaha from the 1982 attempted coup had settled, government security forces showed up at the residence of James Kahama Mwangi in Eldoret and hauled him away in a Land Rover.
The three young sons he left behind — John Mwangi, Sammy Wakaina and Stephen Mwaura — tried to keep the family’s business, Kahama Bakery, running.
When he was released two months later, he packed his stuff and left for Nairobi with his first son, John, and purchased the Kenya International Hotel through a bank loan.
He shook up its soul, gave it a new heart and then renamed it Kahama Hotel. His second son, Sammy, stayed behind to tie the loose ends as the bakery wound down before he joined them in Nairobi in 1983. The Kahamas were done baking, ending a successful chapter with dough.

“When we started Kahama Hotel in the 80s, in entertainment the Jukebox was the thing,” Sammy chuckles.

“So we focused on music, alcohol and nyama choma. It was a hit. We initially thought we would be in the hotel business but then based on the trends, we decided to take a stab at entertainment,” he says.
A few years later, Mzee Kahama took another loan and purchased Tree Shade Hotel on Nairobi’s Parklands, Ojijo Road, a struggling hotel built under an elegant tree, on a two-acre land.
Again, Mzee Kahama, waved his entrepreneurial wand at it (but leaving the tree standing) and K1 Klubhouse started with Sammy saddling it.
“We got a licence to operate after 11pm, got a live band going, brought in some pool tables before pool tables really became the rage and then for the last genius stroke, did away with entry fee. Clubs around hated us,” Sammy who is dreadlocked and youthful and could pass off as a pianist in a hit band in Mombasa laughs at the memory.
Pre-emptively, the logo of K1 Klubhouse was already an emoji years before the arrival of the Internet. It was of a yellow smiley sun (because is there a sad sun?) donning cool sunglasses, perhaps the future was so bright it was hurting its eyes.
“Steve who had been studying in the UK was back and together we ran K1 while John ran Kahama Hotel. My father was a decisive, hardworking and forward-thinking leader and he drove us hard. My God, he pushed us,” he says.
KI soon started theme nights at the club and that also did well.
In 2001, off the successes of the two businesses, they opened K2 on Nairobi’s Baricho Road, which also grew a life of its own until they closed it some years later when the lease ended.
As of today, they have 300 employees spread across their four hotel and entertainment businesses in Nairobi and in Mombasa and an estate estimated to be worth Sh2 billion.
K1 Klubhouse valued at an estimated Sh500 million has become one of the notable entertainment monuments like Carnivore and Mamba Village. Uber, the ride hailing company, recently released a report that showed Aga Khan Hospital and K1 Klubhouse as the top destinations of 2018.
One of their products, Pitcher and Butch showcases an unrivalled reggae nights on Thursdays, the mecca of the urban Rastafarians at heart.
They have a Round Box at K1, a space fashioned as a restaurant-cum-theatre with wooden chairs and tables, a balconied floor up, that hosts movies from a big screen on Mondays and football matches on days.
K1 Klub House off Ojijo Road, Parklands. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

When you ask Sammy to explain their invention, reinvention and longevity, he struggles with the explanation.
“What we are selling is actually so simple it will sound abstract and cliché,” he murmurs, staring at a spot on the floor.
“We sell happiness.”
Alas, the cool happy sun in sunglasses!
He leans forward, “with a million shillings anyone can open a pub and lower the price of beer,” he explains.

Mzee Kahama
“The question is how long can you keep it open? We try to have a business status where we pay our wait staff but on top of that, we give them commissions on their sale as an incentive. People make businesses, not chairs or TV screens or welcoming drinks, or happy hours. People!,” he says.
Family businesses also come with its share of spectacles.
Mzee Kahama succumbed to a long illness in 1998 and the sons took over operations of the businesses.
There has since been dirty linen flapping in public after reports of family wrangles in court on ownership of the estate.
Sammy does not want to dwell on this, he simply says, “the downside of family-run businesses is that not everybody will agree. There is always someone who wants to take a different direction, someone who feels that they are not favoured as the rest.
It’s normal if you have more than one sibling.”
He prefers to focus on the good side of running a family business instead.
“With a family business, unlike other forms of business, you can go to sleep when tired knowing that your sibling is going to stay up running it well. That for me is the biggest thing; trusting that if anyone will do it, my brother will,” he says.
“I also believe that my father opting to involve us in his bakery business very early in life helped us mature as businessmen and appreciate it for what it is.
I think things get hairy if you let your children in later in life. They will never appreciate the demands or character of that business and what has had to be done to get it where it is.”
Sammy opted not to go to a classroom to get a degree. Instead, he opted to earn his degree in the very trenches of business.
His father’s commitment to the socialisation of his sons in business was so overwhelming, he says, that when his brother finished his PhD in the UK, he opted to join his brothers in business back at home. (Stephen passed on last year). The family has four sisters who are pursuing other careers and businesses of their own.
We had ordered pan-fried liver and green vegetables which came presented in a calabash.
“We are jazzing up the menu,” he grins in explanation.
“Going back home to Africa.”
I ask him about the shareholding structure of the business.
K1 Klub House off Ojijo Road, Parklands. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

“We are five shareholders; my three brothers and my mum. But Steve, our brother died so his wife took his place as a shareholder,” he says.
“My father made a rule in 1986, that nobody really owns anything in the business. Have you watched “The Gods Must Be Crazy” and the Coke bottle that everybody was fighting for? That’s what he foresaw, so nobody really owns anything. Because when people start saying ‘this is mine’, everything crumbles down.
So as a rule, we plough what we make back into the business. But we all have salaries and decent benefits to take care of our families.
We have our shareholders meeting over lunch with my mum sitting at the head of table.
What we long decided, and this wisdom came from my father, is that as shareholders, we agreed not to start individual businesses out there because that would only distract us from what we are trying to build here. So all the businesses we own, we own together in an estate.”
He refers a lot to his father.
“My father used to tell us that we will not be millionaires, our children will,” he says.
“He would say, ‘this business is a loose nut, your job is to tighten it because if you don’t it falls apart.”
And so when tightened, what will their children do? He has three children, two of whom are already working in the business.
“They have to be responsible in growing it, not spending it,” he says.

What next?
K1 Klubhouse has been in business for decades, it has outlived market trends, the Internet came with social media, presidents took oath and left, other entertainment establishments have mushroomed around them and some have died yet K1 Klubhouse still stands stoic on Ojijo Road.
Which begs the question: what next, what is their next move?
“I think the question you are asking is when do you know that it’s time to reinvent yourself?” he poses.
“When do you know that it’s right time to swim now or you sink? Well, as a businessman you can’t afford to look away from the numbers. That’s where the story is, it’s your crystal ball. And if you keenly observe your numbers, you will know when you need to make a move, because numbers never lie.”
The numbers right now tell him that their next phase of entertainment is accommodation and they are currently sprucing up a 42-roomed Small World Country Club, in Athi River, framed by Lukenya mountain. And that is where he is headed after this interview.
An ardent biker, an outdoor junkie, Sammy climbs onto his monstrous 1,100cc motorbike and slaps his helmet visor shut.
“Oh! and you have to be passionate about this business to make it, man.” Off he trumpets, to sell more happiness.

K1 Wanauza Gino kubwa 500. Hii ni robbery without violence. Meffi hao

:meffi::meffi: ushenzi

Surely hata umesoma story? 10 seconds after I’ve posted usha comment. Najua umeona Kahama "Mwangi" … that is it these thieving Kikuyus. :D:rolleyes:

Selling guiness for 500 bob. But ypu can always buy the cheaper 6 pack and drink it at home. Hapa K1 unalipia “ambience”.

Yes Sir. Kikuyu persistence, diligence, hard work, business acumen and survival tactics. :D:D

Just like your tribe don’t like shortcuts. Odhis akichapa carpentry hata umuambie aje hataki shortcuts. “Hii mbao lasima nipitise rada hadi ikuwe laini. Msumari kwisa kuwa flas na mbao!”

Let us appreciate each tribe’s talents, abilities and capabilities.

Kuna former staff aliniambia wako kwa biashara ya kina sonko na joho. Acha tu ni-assume ni poor people proverbs.

you sound like a tribalistic mofo

Hata wewe ukifikisha movie stall zako zifanane na netflix, stories will abound of how you met the Akashas as a young man.

Kabogo once said that he made his fortune from selling second hand cars but of course everyone prefers their own version of how he became wealthy.

But you are the tribalist. Hata hujasoma article. 10 seconds after I posted you were already complaining. Registering disgust at “those” thieves.

Kahama hotel is where their father started. Formerly known as Kenya International Hotel.

It is located on Murang’a rd hapo Globe roundabout. Sijui mtu huingilia wapi.







Read this stories with a bag of salt beside you.

People actually believe this shit?

Yes Kikuyus are very hardworking and successful.

And resourceful. Any questions?


Why did a government Land Rover fetch the patriarch in early 80s? Ama kulikua na shida na ‘unga’ ya Kahama Bakery?

He was the GEMA chairman Rift Valley and Moi was paranoid of most powerful kyuks

Wengine ni mavi wanaosha huko majuu :smiley:

Ulisomea wapi comprehension

There is something I love about Kiyuks. They see money everywhere and they are willing to put in alot of self sacrifice for it. Having lived in various places in Kenya, kikuyus level of dedication amazes me. You can put a kiyuk in a desert and they’ll find a way to make money. I really admire that about them. You will never find a kiyuk that doesn’t see opportunities even in the most dire circumstances. I love that about them.

That said if you want to get the best version of the formula used by this formula observe Indians and Arabs. I’ve interacted closely with these guys. I went to school with them and I gotta tell you that it’s not a coincidence that they make it big wherever they are in the world.

When I was in primary school, all my chutty friends would go work at their parents shop. So they weren’t really keen on education like blacks but the thing is that those kids were very money savvy. Of course we were all given a small stipend for snacks but I noticed that they always had a goal to buy something and would save up and buy what they wanted. Not huge things but for a child their self discipline was amazing. They were very proficient with money. In a few years they were very proficient with their parents business and they were children below age 14. The problem with Africans is that the man does everything, keeps every thing to himself, won’t engage his kids until they are grown. Some never do it. So when they die kids are left with businesses they don’t know a thing about.

Blacks who have made it also have a problem of spoiling their children. In Arab and Indian communities that live with extended family, your children belong to the larger family and the community not to you so they will check your excesses in spoiling your kids.

Arabs and Indians have strong community and extended family ties. They assist one another. Give one another business. Buy shares in startups by members of their community. You can arrive fresh off the boat from India with out a dime and in a months time you will get Indians or Arabs willing to invest in your business, help you to setup, connect you to everyone they know who will be of use to you. Teach you how things work in Kenya or wherever you are.

Indians and Arabs are very serious about the altars that support their businesses. Like every thing else in the world, business is controlled by supernatural forces. Indians and Arabs never miss temple or mosque and prayers, burning incense, putting idols in their shops. Close shop to go to mosque or temple. Give big monies to build places of worship for their deities. Will not engage in haramu business. Indians will be up by 4am to go take their money to be dedicated to the deity they worship by the gods devotee in the temple. For blacks hata kuomba b4 ufungue duka ni shida let alone going to the church before going to the shop or business.

The greatest strength is their unity. I can take you to several places right now where you can get these guys together socializing and strategising as a community. And they do it every Saturday or Sunday religiously.

For blacks I think we all know the story even for one nuclear family to be united is a tall order. Blacks are individualistic and competitive that’s why these guys always beat us. We can’t unite to save our lives. And if we do one person will try to con the others. There’s no honor and loyalty in blacks.

Sirare border