Diehard AFC Leopards fan resorts to ‘mjengo’ to eke a living
The phrase desperate times call for desperate measures, was coined by Greek physician and philosopher Hippocrates.
This is a phrase that aptly befits the wretched lives of some of the country’s sportsmen and women who have been undertaking odd jobs outside their careers to put food on the table for their families at a period when the country is being ravaged by the vagaries of Covid-19.
One of those whose lifestyle has been affected is Macklyne Keya Chibole who has literally taken the bull by its horns, the scourge notwithstanding.
She is not choosy; she can plaster, carry sand and cement and mix it and even crack stones in a domain that is considered for the toughest in the society.
Macklyne, a diehard AFC Leopards fan, is one of the increasing number of women thronging the construction sites, commonly referred to as mjengo.
Unapologetically, she has taken up this unlikely job that is mostly the preserve of men for the last three years, for starters, carrying a begging bowl is something she detests. “What can I do now?” she poses during an interview with People Sport.
“This is my business, my linework and I respect it since it helps me put food on the table,” Macklyne said in a tete-a-tete with this journalist at her home in Malaa area on Kangundo Road, Machakos County.
For starters, a house help job and later a stint in the hospitality industry were her first jobs before venturing fully into mjengo.
“House help job was not working for me back in 2015, so I simply walked out.
I tried to work in the hotel industry and that too was not working to my favour and that is how I ended up in mjengo,” says Macklyne who rarely misses matches involving AFC Leopards.
Perhaps unbeknown to many, Macklyne is a fully registered member of the 12-time Kenyan champions, a club she has passionately supported actively since 2015.
“I love the club and I support it with my contributions. I never used to miss our matches before the Covid -19 came which meant they had to be played behind closed doors.
Football is not the same anymore because, without fans, the team lacks the 12th catalyst that is very important to win matches,’’ observes the club’s Embakasi branch member.
Born in Butere, Mumias County 34-years ago, the last born in a family of eight - six girls and two boys - Macklyne’s dream just like any other child was to attain the highest level of education and secure a well-paying job thereafter.