This weekend is a sportpesa weekend. Sportpesa has assembled the best of artists in the country to entertain their loyal fans while promoting sportpesa. Top Kenyan artists will entertain spotpesa fans at Nyayo Stadium and possibly also on live TV. For those of you who may not know what sportpesa is, this is the new way teenagers, campus students and young professionals are trying to make it big. People close to me booked tickets lots of weeks ahead of the event. What a success for the promoters. Lots of admiration for this new business model.
Now back to the topic at hand. What is the link between all these sad and uniquely Kenyan phenomena? You guessed right- Instant success and wealth for our micro-wave generation.
Kanyari offered us only Kes 310. It was an amount small enough to plant seeds. All you needed to do was send Kes 310, believe and you could change your fortunes. You could get a perfect man and or a woman. Small enough to risk. You could be blessed by almighty God. You could be rich.
The combined views on Quail farming on YouTube exceeded 1milion. Quails, these small birds created a fleeting industry, a fad based on the their magical healing power. As more and more believed and people turned to the supermarkets to get their supplies, more people started to breed quails. Banks started providing finance. And Quailpreneurs begun doing proposals to get money. Once they got funded, and some of them managed to sell, an even bigger market came up. Others quit their jobs to focus on growing quails. And those who didn’t breed, or fund or eat, were either behind. Again Quails was a small investment of Kes 15 per egg and the pain of enduring that horrible smell and you are healed.
A few years back Pastor Chris Ojigbani came to pray for single ladies who wanted to get husbands. And there is nothing wrong with prayer. I honestly belief prayers does open doors. There is scientific evidence that belief changes lives and in fact moves mountains. That’s why Alcoholic Anonymous have been exceedingly successful. Must they be paid up? Again what is Kes 2K if God can open doors to Mr. Right. Miracle babies pastor, could pray for God to give babies. And you could also pray for a baby without having to wait for 9 months. Again a small risk, negligible investment and you could get your dreams.
The latest fad, that will not go anywhere anytime soon is sportpesa. Young people, and even a bit older, can risk as little as Kes 90 and stand a chance to win Kes.90,000. And can do that betting their own teams winning. The risk, just like for Quails, Miracle babies, 310 or Naija pastor is small. A little bit of money, the hope of making it big like the occasional millionaires, love for the game, is enough to enrich a whole new crop of sporting entrepreneurs. Again this survives on what psychologists call Survivorship Bias. A few selected winners are used to convince a multitude of perennially hopeful and loosing betting young Kenyans.
A research at Strathmore Business School (not published) on young people who participated in post-election violence just demonstrates this huge disconnect between effort and the things young people need in their lives. As we see from Sportpesa, Quails, Miracle babies, Kanyari and his 310 and other corruption scandals, it is not just young people that suffer from it. It is many of us Kenyans. The common denominator in all these cases, is always trying to get the short cut to what we want. These short cuts are indeed a shame not to Betty and her husband or Pastor Deya but who we really are.
Young people inspired by politicians who become instantly rich, quickly move to Karen, who get away with Goldenberg, NYS theft, Anglo- leasing, $2million bribe for a justice, even the famous Sky team that roam the country to donate millions while amassing property worth 10X their 5 year salary in one year are now looking into sportpesa to make it out.
The real tragedy is not the Kes 90. that a young second year campus student bets on sportpesa. The real tragedy with sportpesa and corruption or 310 and Miracle babies is that it puts a whole generation in a perpetual hope of hitting it big without having to do any meaningful work.
We need more and more politicians, professionals, entrepreneurs, whose talents, effort, time, hard work, smart work are yielding them successes so that they can actually speak to the aspirations of many young people. May many people who succeed like Lupita, many entrepreneurs like Vimal Shah (Bidco), Hilda Moraah (Weza Tele), Ory Okolla and Juliana Rotich (Ushahidi), Dr Mwangi (Equity), CK Joshua (Kass and JTL), Churchill, Tabitha Karanja (Keroche) and many many more amazing entrepreneurs should open more and more ways to win beyond sportpesa, quails and 310.
May our faith in ourselves, our God and our work help us to succeed so that a new generation of young people can learn to program in C++ and Phython or learn Revit and AutoCad or grow skills in finance and agribusiness. We need this faith in our abilities and our God-given talents.