This is it. I’m really graduating! – Baraka Bazibuhe BCOM #ClassOf2024 graduate

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You know how sometimes life throws you a curveball, and you’re like, “Whoa, what just happened?” That’s what happened to Bazibuhe Baraka. He’s a final year Bachelor of Commerce Student at Strathmore University.

Baraka, from the DRC ( Democratic Republic of the Congo)  stumbled upon Strathmore University at a mathematics contest.

At first, he thought, “Hey, I can get an education anywhere,” but something about Strathmore got him all stirred up. It was like his heart was saying, “Baraka you need to get to Kenya, pronto!”

And as he landed in Nairobi, the sun enveloped him in a warm embrace. Its rays were like fingers weaving through his dreams. The city’s heartbeat was a mix of hooting matatus and street vendors’ calls. It also had the distant laughter of playing children. 

Days later, Baraka stood at the gates of Strathmore University, his heart pounding with a mix of nerves and excitement. “This is it. I’m really doing this,” he whispered to himself, taking in the vibrant campus  life that buzzed around him.

His brother’s friend’s parting words at the airport still echoed in his memory: “Forget French Baraka, from here it’s now English.”

He faced his reality: to thrive, he must first learn to speak anew. He wasn’t just learning a new language; he was learning to live in one.

The early days were marked by silent nods in classrooms, where conversations fluttered around him like elusive butterflies. English words, sharp and unfamiliar, buzzed in his ears, often just out of grasp. But Baraka  watched, listened, and learned. He tackled linguistic puzzles with the same strategic acumen that he applied to balance sheets and economic theories.

As he gained fluency, his true personality began to shine through. His quiet humor and keen insights during group projects made him a favored teammate. In study groups, he was the one untangling complex financial scenarios with a calm clarity that belied his initial struggles with the language.

 But what struck him most wasn’t the rigor—it was the warmth. “Far from home, I unexpectedly found a new family in my  professors, like Professor George Njenga, and even my colleagues.”

It was here that his entrepreneurial spirit caught fire. Alongside Gideon Wafula, a fellow student and now business partner,  he ventured into the world of startups. And among their startups is a WiFi installation company named Turbo that was  born out of late-night brainstorming sessions.

His transformation has been evident, English words, once foreign and elusive, now roll off his tongue with the ease of a native speaker. He was passionate about leadership. He ran for the student council president. “My best memory has to be running for president,” he shares. A hint of nostalgia coloring his voice.

The campaign was spirited and full of hope, though it didn’t end in victory. “You know, losing that election taught me more than winning ever could,”Baraka muses. “It taught me about resilience, about the power of persuasion, and  about the sometimes harsh realities of politics.”

Baraka went on to become the president of the congolese community at Strathmore. Even as he waits to turn the tassel, he stands at the edge of a new adventure. He has already secured a role at Shelter Afrique Development  bank in Nairobi. He also has his sights set on a master’s degree in finance.

A fitting end to a chapter not just about mastering finance or learning a new language; but a journey, complete with the people you meet along the way, and the realization that sometimes, one egg really is not un œuf

(Okay, I’ll stop with the egg puns now.)

 

Article written by: Keith Albert

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