Bien Baraza of boys band Sauti Sol has talked about how his life and that of his parents changed from that of affluence to mere survival.

This was after his parents lost their jobs making them (kids) drop out of the influential schools they were in at the time.

Bien’s father was a director of projects at a very well-known NGO.

His mum was retrenched and just like that, their household had no income, forcing the kids to drop out of school and move to a smaller house, where they survived on a diet of maize and beans (githeri).

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Their parents started hunting for jobs with no success.

Sharing on his past in ‘Engage Talks ‘ a platform that gives people a chance to share their stories, Bien said

“From living in Kilimani we moved to a place called Kamura and I remember when things started going south, my dad had sold his car and we were eating githeri a bit too often,” he said,

He went on to explain his parent’s financial situation got worse and they were forced to move to the unfinished house their dad had begun building.

“I’m talking no ceiling, the walls were not painted, the floors were not done and even the basic plumbing was not done either.

Do you know how it feels to just see your parents give up?

Things were so bad at the time, I watched my father slip away and give up.

My mum held the fort while my dad sat in the verandah, reading his Bible and talking to himself, wallowing away in depression.”

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Bien felt angry because his father’s friends had abandoned him. Relatives whom he helped were nowhere to be seen.

“My dad in aura was the alpha male both financially and his masculinity.

His friends were all so loud and they had so many parties, every other weekend it was nyama choma and beer.

There were always people coming to our house every other morning for handouts;

today was school fees, tomorrow was funerals, my dad was their superhero.”

After a year of being out of school having dropped out of the influential schools he was used to, Bien was enrolled to a local school.

Here he sat his KCPE and was called to join Upper Hill School, where he met his fellow Sauti Sol band members.

Music became his escape from whatever life had thrown at his family.


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