Former street boy flying Meru gospel music high

By Allan Muthomi

Nathan Kirimi Muriuki alias ‘Nathan Mtume’ had a difficult childhood- his parents died when he was ten years old forcing him to spend his life as a street boy. But these experiences, he says, only served to make him stronger. Today, Mtume is a prominent businessman, a pastor at CFF Church Kirunga in Meru, and a talented gospel musician.

Narrating the story of his teenage homelessness, battle with addiction, abuse, and the emotional torture he endured, Mtume a father of three kids, says life in the streets was a ruthless hard nut to crack.

“It is common to spot street urchins in any urban setup, what many don’t know is that some are pushed to the hard street life due to unbearable situations back in their homes,” Mtume says.

Gloomily Mtume recounts the uncountable number of times he slept hungry, the chilly nights, and the despair that followed every day in his life as a street boy.

However, Mtume who hails from Mikinduri in Tigania East says he found solace in town since his parents’ demise.

“When my parents died in 1997 I was left with no one to take care of me. I was left with no choice but to travel to Meru town where I lived as a street boy. At least in town I had friends and could get encouragement from my fellow street kids,” Mtume added.

Mtume who never had a chance to go to school added that he and his fellow homeless teens would scavenge for food in waste bins, and during the rainy season, they would station themselves at the entrances of shops and markets while feeling the wrath of the traders.

The former street urchin says tittle-tattle and gossips that he frequently overheard two women who owned businesses close to their resting base always bothered him forcing him to embark on chasing his dreams.

“I would always overhear the two women murmuring that I am very handsome to sniff glue in the street. Their conversation kept disturbing me that I resolved to seek for someone to help me,” Mtume added.

According to Mtume Church became his only hope.

“I would go to any Church that had a prayer session but they would pray for me as a way to revive me. This, however, would never stop me going back to the sniffing of glue and streets,” Mtume said.

Despite sniffing glue for five years, Mtume says his urge to revive never changed and a prayer and fasting session at Maitei hills in Buuri Sub-County changed his life completely.

“One day I followed some Christians as they were heading for a prayer session at Maitei. I knew I could get food from them but I was also hopeful of finding someone who could help me change my life,” Mtume said.

Mtume says Sh15 that he was given by an unknown Christian after the prayers changed his life completely.

“Polythene bags were not banned during that time by the government and they were cheap. I bought a few with the Sh 15 and started hawking them to people. I think this was the turning point of my life as I ventured into the selling of Polythene shopping bags. I later went into hawking of eggs, softa drinking sodas and later potatoes. Through God’s grace, my capital grew and I started selling second-hand clothes ‘mitumba’” Mtume added,

The former street boy says he later embarked on a music career. Mtume who owned a small drum would entertain Gakoromone traders, passers-by, and customers with glorious musical vocals.

“One day as I was dancing and singing a young woman and her child joined me in singing. They seemed to enjoy my songs. As they were leaving the kid came running to me and asked me to sell him one of my compact disks so that they could listen at home with her mum. I felt very challenged since I had not thought of recording my own songs,” Mtume recalled.

The challenged ex-street boy resolved to use his business savings amounting to Sh 8000 to record his first song. However, according to him the music producer whom he declined to mention run away with his funds.

“I could not imagine losing such a huge amount of money. The producer is a famous person in town and was then a friend of mine. I won’t mention his name because I forgave him but what he did to me was very bad,” Mtume said.

However, Mtume who went back to selling ‘mitumba’ says the incident never killed his ambitions to record his music.

“I went back to my normal hustling and later recorded my first album dubbed as ‘Atamaraki’ with Inuka records,” he narrated.

He has so far released two more albums with one of them featuring top Meru gospel artist Florence Karani the ‘Gasina village’ song hit-maker.

The growing musician says that he fancies cars such as the Toyota Land Cruiser V8, which is one of his dream cars.

Mtume currently owns an uji-selling joint in Gakoromone dubbed Uji Power Limited a business he says funds his music career.

The ex-street urchin called on both the national and County government to consider educating street kids on how to form government-registered groups which should later be used to fund them in a bid to help them earn a living. 

“My message to the public and the government is that in the streets we have talented kids and we have those who also have knowledge. But what they are lacking is opportunity and funds,” Mtume noted

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