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SNAPPY 7: Justin Bradford – I lived in Kayole working as matatu tout

By HILARY KIMUYU September 24th, 2017 2 min read

He wowed Kenyans with a viral video showing him shouting Mbao mbao! at a train station in Oregon, United States. What was amazing was the display of Kenyan matatu culture at a train station in foreign land thousands of kilometers away.

In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News, Justin Bradford explained – in fluent Swahili – why he loves the language and why he was also calling people like a typical Kayole tout in Nairobi while holding folded money just like they do it here in Kenya.

1. How long did you live in Kenya? – I lived in Kenya for two years. I used to stay in Kayole, near DO’s area, Masimba and also at Greenspan. I also lived in Upper Hill, Riruta Satellite and Athi River. While in Kitengela I used to go to a place called Pork City to eat nyama choma.

2. Why did you choose to learn Swahili and not any other languages? – I love Swahili because it is easy to speak. When I speak Swahili it brings joy to me. I have a feeling that if everyone across the world spoke in Swahili, there would be world peace. I love Kenyan culture.

Justin Bradford rides on an ostrich in Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY
Justin Bradford rides on an ostrich in Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY

3. Where did you learn the phrase “Mbao mbao”? – I lived in lived in Kayole for a while. I used to use a matatu sacco called Forward Travelers, so one day I thought to myself why can’t I be a makanga (tout)? So I approached them and told them I wanted to be a tout and they welcomed me. Everyday I would call passengers, ushering them in while banging the side of the matatu. That is how I learned the phrase.

4. Why did you decide to share a video preparing ugali? – I love ugali and that is the only reason.

5. Apart from ugali what other Kenyan delicacies do you enjoy? – Chapati, ndengu, managu, even roasted maize on the road sides, also those sausages which are sold by the roads they are very delicious. Mukimo, githeri and especially roasted goat. I just love all Kenyan food and it is one of my favorites.

Justin Bradford plays football with Kenyan kids. PHOTO | COURTESY
Justin Bradford plays football with Kenyan kids. PHOTO | COURTESY

6. What was the reaction and opinion when you invited friends to try Kenyan food? – I recently took my mother, sister and brother in-law to a Kenyan restaurant for them to try the cuisine. They liked it because it is delicious.

7. Do you have a specific target? – I have no specific target, I just love all people regardless of their race. I just want to talk Swahili with everyone. If we speak Swahili we will all feel as one. To all Kenyans who are following and watching my videos you make me feel like I am back in Kenya and I want to say thank you. Keep watching and following me on my YouTube channel. Let us all be friends.