Nairobi News


Mathare youth launch slum clean up to celebrate Bob Marley birthday – PHOTOS

February 4th, 2019 2 min read

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 should have been the 74th birthday of the Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley.

Though Bob Marley died in May 1981, his music has lived through the time and it’s evident by the ever-growing list of accomplishments attributable to his music, which advocated for social change.

In celebrating Marley’s birthday, the Mathare Roots Youth Group organized a cleanup in their community. Marley’s words “live for yourself and you will live in vain. Live for others, and you will live again.” are some of the inspirational words the youth in the slum live by.

“Marley has been an inspiration to most of us from the slums and we wanted to celebrate this day by making our community a clean place to live in. Bob Marley advocated for social change and that is what we do every single day. We try and be impactful to our community,” said Lucas Odhiambo, Group coordinator at Mathare Roots Youth Group.


Bob’s story of inspiration began when he was young. He grew up in a place where the crime was glorified and his only way out was music. Through the music, he escaped the dangerous gang violence but he never forgot his hometown.

“He took on a series of community projects, at one time supporting more than 6,000 people with food, jobs, and housing. He invested in schools and infrastructure in Jamaica,” according to the Encyclopedia of World Biography.

In Mathare, Lucas is among the many youths who have been working with UN-Habitat to rehabilitate their community. The rehabilitation projects include environment and solid waste management, community, and resource mobilization, capacity building among the communities and addressing cross-cutting issues including HIV and AIDs, alcohol, drug and substance abuse and insecurity among others.

The clean-up was launched in October last year as the world marked World Habitat Day.

UN-Habitat Executive director Maimunah Mohd Sharif launched the campaign with the aim of reducing the amount of global waste.

“The response has been positive but the challenge is most people are out hustling even on Saturday but we always do the clean-up” Added Lucas.

“Our monthly cleanup exercise has witnessed increased participation from youth and women groups, the private sector and resident associations among other key players in the city. We hope that all city residents will take it as part of their routine even as we embrace our clean up slogan my waste my responsibility,” said Nairobi Mike Sonko.