The multitalented young Kenyan star Kartelo is a comedian, musical artist and a radio presenter. He has made a name for himself in the Kenyan entertainment industry despite the challenges he has faced being born to a single mother and growing up in the slums.
Kartelo is definitely an inspiration to many young people living in poor villages and slums who have a vision and dream for a good life in future.
He is definitely the real definition of ‘from rags to riches’. The good thing is that his way to success was through talent and hard work which every youth can definitely find it in themselves too.
So if you are looking to be inspired, keep on reading this article.
Kartelo Personal Life and Background.
Nickson Chege a.k.a Kartelo is the last born child to a single mother. He has two male siblings and were all brought up in Matopeni in Kayole, Nairobi.
His father just disappeared on them when he was still young and the whole family tried to find him everywhere but they never did. His father was a complicated man who was an alcoholic and a cone man who frequently got arrested and had a lot of trouble with the law. He would disappear on them from time to time but it came a point when he never reappeared up to this day.
His mum had to play the role of being a mum and a dad at the same time. She did all she can do to put food on the table and made sure that her three sons went to school every day.
So at a tender age, Kartelo grew up knowing that his father left him when he needed him the most to survive in the slums.
Growing up, he had to struggle to make a man out of himself on his own. Seeing the struggles that his mother has gone through to raise him and his brothers, Kartelo has made sure not to let his mother down by getting lost in the street lifestyle.
Kartelo’s Education Background.
Like a normal Kenyan kid, Kartelo joined Mt Carmel primary school in Matopeni, Kayole. Being a good kid raised by an independent single mother, he scored good grades, over 400 marks, in eight grade graduation.
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He did his high school education at Kiambugi Boys in Muranga and graduated with a grade of C+.
Kartelo’s Journey into Comedy.
In any economicaly crippled communities like the slums, even with limited to no opportunity, there is always a way to survive. People always do what they have to do to make sure they put food on the table and survive on a daily basis.
The most predominant thing that keeps up the hopes of youth living in slums and disenfranchised sides of the city is talent. It has been believed that talent and education has the potential to be an equalizer.
Growing up in such a tough situation with all odds going against him, Kartelo decided to use his God-given talent of comedy to try and make it out of the ghetto.
He started out in 2016 doing comedy at Inooro TV, a local station airing in Kikuyu language. The station had a platform called Central Comedy, that showcase talent for the youth.
After making some good jokes and building some audience, Kartelo went to join Comedy Arena at KBC Television. In here is when he learned to crack jokes to the masses because KBC is a station watched by different people from different communities in Kenya.
The language of delivery was Swahili, so it was no longer a niche audience that was consuming the content but Kartelo did it well.
In the year 2018, he joined Kiengei Live Show at Kameme and later went back on the road to do comedy clubs and theatres.
Before his big break in 2019, he had tried and done everything he could to learn as much as he can about the game. Kartelo is an intelligent and hardworking guy; he decided to test all his strengths and weaknesses on live tv, radio and open mics.
All these trials gave him enough exposure and connections that worked for him well later in the entertainment industry.
Kartelo’s Rise to Fame.
As they say ‘every dog has its day’, Kartelo had his own day too. The good thing is that the day came when he was well equipped to launch his career on a high note.
He was well educated about the industry and how to leverage a viral moment to propel his career forward and build his brand as a comedian.
Kartelo’s rise to fame happened in 2019 through a viral video clip of him introducing his crew (mbogi ya Kimonyoski, itilafu sacco) before shooting other comedy videos. Being a smart guy, he prepared other video follow-ups that drew the audience to his channel and kept them there for a while.
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The video got the attention of many celebrities in the Kenyan entertainment scene, both in radio, TV and comedy shows. Kartelo was invited to do several interviews on tv and perform comedy sketches.
He was invited to host a comedy show, The Chipukeezy Show, alongside comedian Chipukeezy which was airing on Ebru TV. He did that for almost five months and later joined TV47 to hos other comedy shows.
All these shows are geared to serve massive audience and Kartelo had to speak the language of the masses. For the sake of the massive fans from different parts of the country, he had to abandon the hard core ‘sheng’ for a minute.
After doing a lot of TV comedy in a short time, he decided to try doing radio which serves a massive audience.
Through his unique talent and the right connections, he landed a radio job at Milele FM as a presenter where he did a good job and represented the streets and slums to the fullest. He did the job for over one year, which is quite remarkable.
He also started a podcast called Rieng Radio, which many people find it interesting and are always tuned in every Friday.
His brand grew from there and he gained massive audience and respect as a professional comedian.
Kartelo Quiting Radio.
Being a leader and a miracle baby of the slums comes with a lot of things that will sometimes cripple you in the board rooms.
Kartelo is the leader and a representative of the ghetto youth and he has a responsibility of becoming the voice of ghetto wherever he goes. So when the corporate big boys try to limit his content and creativity, he has no option but leave the opportunity alone.
Kartelo is that loyal to his roots and he is not afraid of who he is. He will always do as per his culture as long as he is given that opportunity.
The biggest reason why he had to quit the radio job was the fact that he was standing by the interest of the local ghetto youth in Kenya. He wants to do a show that caters to the needs and wants of the local ghetto youth and not focus on pushing other foreign content.
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Kartelo believes that there will always be a place for him in the industry, its just that he hast found the right mainstream media that is going to support his vision.
Right now he focuses on various youth projects in the slums which are geared to support young talents in comedy and music.