Meet the lady Mzungu who wants to remain a makanga forever

Lucia Alessandra Murotto cannot imagine ever leaving the makanga business

Life in Runda is good, almost heavenly, but that did not stop Italian girl Lucia Alessandra Murotto from taking up a job as a makanga in Kitengela.

Born and bred in Runda — a place known to be the home of who is who, Alesandra, 26, has crossed the Rubicon and is loving every moment of it.

And while her story has been told over and over, her decision to remain a makanga for life has left many, her friends included, scratching their heads. And yes, she is not mad.

“I got in the industry before I was 18, but only became a licensed conductor early this year,” says Alessandra in fluent Swahili and sheng.

She is currently the official weekend conductor of Kitengela’s Tity Boy aka 2 Chains under Wamasaa Investment.

“I started by visiting matatu terminus just to observe what happens. With time, I fell in love with noise and how conductors and touts work. In fact I’ve known some of them for more than five years,” she explains.

Although Alesandra’s parents hail from Italy, she was born in Runda estate, Nairobi.

“Nilizaliwa Nairobi, ndio maana naelewa lugha, nilianza kufanya kama concodi chini ya maji nikiwa mdogo,” (I was born in Nairobi, which is why I understand and speak sheng. I was a secret ‘makanga’, at a very young age), she explains.

Alessandra who settled for Kitengela matatus after moving out of her parents’ home says: “I only work on Saturday and Sunday. I spend weekdays attending to family business.”

Her work starts at 5am and ends at 10pm earning her Sh1,000 on good day. “We are two in the mini-bus, and all I do is collect bus fare from passengers. My colleague on the door helps those alighting. This job makes me feel good because I interact with people all the time.

“It is just like any other job. Furthermore, what I earn goes into good use. Initially, my family was concerned, but they have learned to accept me.

Alessandra says she grew up in the city, even went to school here right from her childhood.

“I aced my exams, but decided to run the family business. I want to be Makanga for life. It is what I like doing the most. What I get goes into savings for my child. Drivers and others in the industry respect me and none has ever crossed the boundary. We just joke a lot,” she says.

Having grown in the industry since her teens, Lucia says she likes nearly all local artistes who founded the local music industry — guys like Nameless and Redsan.

“The likes of Sauti Sol are not bad, in fact I love their music. But those who broke the ceiling in early and mid-2000’s have remained genuine” she said.

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