His education life has been marred with numerous challenges, but after sixteen years of keeping up the fight he emerged with a golden crown on his head, a first class honors in Journalism and Mass Communication.
We talk to Kipkorir Kipchirchir, currently an instructor for diploma students at Masinde Muliro University.
‘At some point things became so difficult that I had to stay at home for two terms, at that time I was in form three. My parents, having no other way, organized a fundraiser that saw me through high school,’ says Kip.
Having been a top student in primary school, he scored an impressive total of 370 marks out the possible 500 in KCPE. This automatically qualified him for high school.
‘Ever since I was young I had vowed not to focus on the challenges we were experiencing at home, but on what I wanted to achieve for myself in life. I had to make it against all odds, ‘he says.
Kip’s father at that time worked as an engineer for EverReady, the batteries company.
‘My mom however was a stay-at-home mum, I guess this made things a little trickier supporting me and my six siblings. We all depended on Dad,’
Undeterred, after the fundraiser Kip was able to clear high school, but he didn’t really get what he wanted then.
‘I didn’t do as well in KCSE as I had expected. I managed a mean grade of B-, and at that time direct entry to the university required a B constant. I was a little disappointed, especially with the knowledge that my parents couldn’t afford paying school fees for a parallel programme,’ Kip says, adding that his performance could have been because of the financial and social difficulties he experienced in high school.
‘I was constantly bullied by other students. I guess because of my small size, or maybe because I wasn’t part of any popular cliques. This experience made me feel that I didn’t fit in, that I wasn’t good enough maybe, because why else would they choose me. I was definitely different.’
After completing high school, came the big question; You have not done well enough for direct entry to the university, what next?
‘What next? I took up farming. I stayed at home for four years after high school and worked hard to get my university tuition fees. This was from the year 2008 to 2011. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.’
With the amount he had saved, Kip was able to pay for his first and second year at Masinde Muliro University in Kakamega.
‘I have to point out that the other reason I decided to work so hard and make this money was because my parents were still paying university fees for my elder brothers. If I insisted on joining campus at in 2008, immediately after my high school, it would have been too heavy a burden on them. I had to find a way. My dreams were tugging at my neck. I had always wanted to study Journalism and one day become great in the field.’
In third year, his parents chipped in and helped him pay tuition fees, and there remained one final year that needed to be sorted out.
‘Again, I had to find a way. You know I believe that if you really want something, you will find a way of doing it. If you only find excuses, then you don’t want it so bad. I applied for a bursary, was lucky enough to be granted, and managed to pay through my final year in campus.’
His life might have been rough and hard, but Kip has a lot to smile about nevertheless. Within him he harbored another dream, another desire, that of pursuing music.
‘I would perform in campus cultural dances and at weddings and this got me some pocket money. However, I wanted more than this, I wanted to fully fledge myself into music. I knew I had it me. My parents however couldn’t hear none of this. At that time they were not able to understand why I wouldn’t just focus on my education. Their opinion was however later set to change when I auditioned for Tusker Project Fame.‘
In 2006, he tried out for the popular reality TV music show, Tusker Project Fame, and was shortlisted among the 5 best contestants in East Africa.
‘This was a validation of some sort; it was like God telling me, ‘you are meant for this son’. My parents were now supportive, which I really appreciated.
Kip has worked with Producer Letter One on his first music video, Jeso Neocheng’ei, which was officially released on 6th January, and has been receiving good airplay in Western Kenya.
‘My motto is GO HARD OR GO HOME. Really, if you are not going to give it your best, just go home. I want the results of everything I involve myself in to be a reflection of this motto. From my music, to my academic records, to the profession I engage in future. If I am not going to do the best I can, then let me not do it at all.’
Kip cites Proffesor Egara Kabaji, now Deputy Vice Chancellor at Masinde Muliro University, as his mentor.
‘Prof. Kabaji has been very instrumental in shaping the person I am today. I also look up to Dr. Perez Wenje, the current Chairperson of Journalism department at Masinde Muliro University. I am forever grateful and indebted to them.’
Kipchirchir is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Communication, and looks forward to graduating this year.
‘Where do I see myself in five years? I see myself as an established scholar, a great musician inspiring young people, and enjoying life!’
Truly, you go hard Kip, you go hard!
Not even the sky is the limit.
Watch Kipchirchir’s music video HERE