Oliver Wamachari was devastated when his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results were cancelled. As a top-performing student, he’d eagerly awaited a stellar performance but this was not to be.

“Three quarters of my classmates’ results were also cancelled. They gave us a Y result saying there were some cases of cheating during the exam. I was crushed and so was my mother who is a teacher.”

So disappointed was his mother, in fact, that she refused to take him back to school.

“She told me to leave and go and find a job and start earning as she was done with educating me.”

The 26-year-old first born in a family of three moved to Kiserian in Kajiado town where he landed a job as a construction worker. He earned Sh300 daily. With the proceeds, Oliver decided to enroll in a High School and attempt his final exams once again.

“I come from a family of teachers and my dream was also to become a teacher one day. To become one I knew I had to go through college hence the reason I decided to sit my exams. I also wanted to make my mother proud of me.”


On his second attempt, Oliver managed a B minus. His mother was elated. The following year, he joined Kenyatta University as a self-sponsored student for a course in education.

“My mum chipped in when I joined campus. I had also saved up from my construction job which allowed me to settle in one of the hostels near campus. With the same savings I also started a small grocery shop that would help in my fees and upkeep.”

In 2017, Oliver graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree. He‘s however not in a hurry to find a job. He has since moved his business to the main gate of Kenyatta University along Thika Road. He sells mangoes and until recently, since the mangos are going out of season, he has started on smokies.

“On a good day, I make Sh2000 to Sh3000. Why then would I want to be employed to make Sh15000 a month?”

He has not abandoned his dream of eventually becoming a teacher but with the current terms, he feels the welfare of teachers in the country is not adequately put into consideration.

“This is a person to whom you bring your child to when the baby has just learnt to walk. He or she moulds the child to a person who can read and write among other things, yet the teacher is most poorly paid of professions in Kenya. Something must change.”

Oliver hopes to go back to campus soon for his Master’s Degree in Philosophy and Religion.

“Success and failure are all in your head. I could have chosen to give up after my Y result and settled with my construction job, but I believe I was destined for greatness.”

First published here