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Salim Swaleh’s heartbreaking yet inspirational story; if he made it then so can you


Listening to ntv’s top Kiswahili anchor’s life story begs just why question in the listener; why did he keep silent with such an uplifting story for so long? At a time when there are so many stories about young people using unscrupulous methods to get ahead, such as the recent wash wash exposé, not to mention famous personalities like Jalang’o and Mc Jesse who have come out to boast about how they used deceitful tactics to get their first jobs, the positive and motivating story of Salim Swaleh is a breathe of fresh. However, it is also a sad story full of pain, tribulations and heartache.


Swaleh shared his story when he made an appearance on Churchill Show’s Journey Series, hosted by comedian Dan Ndambuki popularly known as Churchill.


His story begins in Nakuru where he was born to a polygamous family in an estate known as Mabondeni. His father had three wives, and in his mother’s household, they were only two. The heartbreak in his story starts almost immediately. He began having to deal with loss from quite a young age after his father died when he was still a child. After there things began getting rocky. His mother moved to Naivasha to try and eke out a living, leaving him to struggle with life.
Barely in class four, he dropped out of school, and for three long years, he pushed on with life as a dropout. During the time, it got to a point where he moved to his mum’s hometown of Gilgil and started frying mandazis with his maternal grandmother.


His mum got married again, but her new husband couldn’t entertain the idea of living with a child who wasn’t his. However, after much convincing he finally agreed, and surprisingly, he ended up being a good father.


Also surprising was that despite jumping three classes and rejoining at class seven, Swaleh managed to pass his KCPE a year later and joined Menengai Secondary.


However, another obstacle awaited him. He struggled with maths so hopelessly amid ridicule from a teacher. Again, despite this, he managed to score a relatively good grade in his KCSE.
He then began a string of low jobs after getting a diploma, from teaching as an untrained teacher, to working at Industrial Area to even working at a media house called Ghetto FM (not to be confused with ghetto radio) without pay.


However, finally, he got a spot on Mwananchi Radio owned by Koigi Wamwere, and was earning 8000 a month. From there, he found his way to Iran. He landed a job paying him 200, 000 thousand a month, but faced untold horrors through racism.


Nevertheless he upgraded his education at Tehran University and since then, has kept climbing the academic ladder.


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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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