Bryan Juma, changing lives through arts, talent nurturing

By Jasmine Atieno
Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Bryan Juma.

Give us a brief background of yourself. 

BjLive is a man with a divine assignment to provide solutions to society without expectations.

I was born in East Asembo in Rarieda constituency, Siaya county. I am married to Mercy Wangeci and together we are blessed with five children.

I am a graduate of Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management and a Certificate of Proficiency holder from Kenya College of Insurance.

Currently, I am the general manager at White Rhino Hotel, Mombasa and director at Brymerc Insurance and Commercial Agencies.

What is Talanta Ajira initiative all about?

Talanta Ajira is a youth empowerment programme that’s aimed at nurturing talents to keep the youth off stress, drugs, violent gangs, terror groups and sexual exploitations, among other negative engagements through creation and commercialisation of clean content and marketing agency services.

Our mission is to provide employment by providing alternative routes that are genuine and legally acceptable through arts, skills and talents.

What was the inspiration behind it? 

When the Covid-19 pandemic happened in 2020, a lot of people lost their jobs including some of my staff.

So, many, especially the youth, kept calling me seeking my advice and assurance that all was going to be well.

It was then that I started a WhatsApp group and on seeing the impact it made, I realised that apart from the jobs they were doing, some of these youths had talents in music, acting, handworks, pastry, designs and scriptwriting among other talents.

I decided to advise them to start commercialising these talents; I advertised a competition on my Facebook page and received over 200 applications from Lamu, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa.

I panicked as the idea had gone beyond my expectations; I had no idea of how I would singlehandedly handle the entire process.

I reached out to almost everyone from the county, including friends and colleagues, but everyone took off.

I was almost giving up when I remembered Hellen Mtawali of Africa Online Vocalists (AOV).

I contacted her and she jumped right in and helped me plan and arrange everything.

Are there follow-ups on the winners to track their growth?

Yes, besides the competition, there are mentorships and trainings that take more than four months.

On top of that, the participants help us with training for other contestants in successive new seasons.

We also call them whenever there are opportunities for them to perform and earn from it, including all our sister events such as AOV.

For instance and to mention just a few, RDS Dancers from Mazeras were in the first season.

They’re currently doing road shows for Multichoice, and also offering dance classes with Kalitoh Johnz.

Telkom Kenya has also shown interest in them and would be using them in any of their road shows in Mombasa.

Another contestant called Milton from Miritini has started a movie production house that has absorbed many youths from the area.

From season two Elvin has started Elly Bank Voices in Eldoret, The Jumas have started The Jumas Band in Nakuru, Goddy launched Tower Free in Migori and Angie started Angie Sifa-Ibada Ministry in Nairobi and also authored a book titled Footprints in a Storm.

We have many others who have excelled in modelling, make-up artistry, dancing and content creating. 

What are the aspirations for Talanta Ajira in the years ahead?

Talanta Ajira has made very positive impacts in the entire country; at times I look at myself and wonder if I am really the one behind this venture. It has been very successful.

Ask any youth about it today and they will have something positive to say about it.

I believe in five years time we will have created a whole nation of job creators rather than jobseekers.

Jasmine Atieno