You may have heard of the brand ‘Wazoefu Classik’ or its tagline ‘Wakali Hawalali’ or you may have seen the picture below.
Wazoefu is a Kenyan brand. A Loitokitok pride to be specific, an idea birthed by one Dullah Classik alias Mzoefu de-lamma.
Abdallah Salama born in Loitokitok is the area’s young star who has braced all odds to create probably the biggest brand in Loitokitok Wazoefu Classik. But what is ‘de-lamma?’ De-lamma is a phrase in Haya language of Tanzania meaning the first. So he calls himself the first Mzoefu.
Abdallah Salama was born in Loitokitok. They lived a family of 3 with his mother and elder sister at Makaburini slums of Loitokitok. He studied at St Luke Nursery to AIC Primary school upto class 6 in which her mother, the only parent he knew died. He cleared primary education in the year 2005. Due to lack of funds he was forced to sell water on a wheelbarrow for 2 years for a price of Kshs. 10 in which the funds would sustain him for food and daily needs.
He narrates of how they used to pay Ksh 400 as house rent in Makaburini area in Loitokitok. He got a high school scholarship in which he joined Ilkisonko Secondary School. In form 3, his scholarship was discontinued but by him being a bright student, he was given a chance to study on credit. On clearing form 4, he decided to go to Dares Salaam to work as a shopkeeper. He also outlined of the hardships he faced like sleeping at Ubungo bus terminal for almost a week.
It was not until one day when he went to Kigamboni to swim when he met this tourist who loved his English. It was then that he told him that he was looking for a job and was directed to one owner of Mikadi Beach Hotel Mr Hugo who gave him a job as a waiter with a pay of around Kshs. 8,000. This was the year 2011. This basic pay and tips sustained him for house rent and basic emoluments.
He worked at Mikadi for 3 months where he got the idea that tourists have got money so he wanted to fall in love with one. It was then that he moved to Zanzibar. Luckily he got a job at Nungwi beach hotel but sadly people there were not welcoming at all and there was an influx of gays. It was with this that he went back to Dares Salaam and again lucky enough to get employment at Kijiji Beach.
It was here that he met a group of Acrobatics and dancers and was quickly interested in them. He immediately quit his job at Kijiji Beach and joined the group’s practice at Kigamboni Community Center as from 3pm to as late as 10pm. They did several shows in the region including Tanzania’s Alliance Francaisè.
Having this experience, he thought of home and introduce the idea to Loitokitok where he came back in November 2011 and found the AMREF Youth Resource Centre where he mobilized some youth and formed the group Loitokitok House of Talent and The Shining Start that constituted youth whi could dance and act. They would tour schools and charge their shows for Kshs 10. They would share half of the earnings and save the other half. It is with these that they got funding and support from Peace Corps Kenya, USAID, Amref, Hope Worldwide, Red Cross and World Relief. The group later died as many went to campus.
Abdallah grew an interest in deejaying and started branding as Dullah the Dj. He narrates of how he got a Kshs 10,000 gig at Westlands Club Havana but he had never used a desk before. He says of how he had carried his bulky CPU desktop and CRT monitor all the way to the club but the manager just paid him because he was ashaming himself. He then met MC Mamboleo whom together they started the ‘Talanta Kwa Jukwaa’ at the resource center to help the youth showcase their talent. Together they held the Talent Search event on every school holiday funded by Amref Kenya.
Abdallah was a song writer but he never sang. It was then that he went back to his books and started singing. He released his first single ‘Mikono Juu’ and with a local camera, together with MC Mamboleo, did a video. He says of how he really begged the Dj to perform alongside Diamond at KICC in which he did. He was also featured in the Pulse Magazine 2013 as the best well dressed gentleman of the ocassion.
Abdallah decided to concentrate on music and he went to Arusha to create a brand based on music, dance and fashion. He named it Wazoefu Classik which constitutes a clothing line, Music and Dance. It currently has 5 members and it is registered as a youth group. They have done several shows in Machakos, Arusha, Club Golden, Taveta and the latest, The FGM Coca-Cola campaign.
Wazoefu Classik custom t shirts, sweat pants and hoodies are always available for sale given that they design and print their own apparel. Wazoefu has sold over 500 fabrics and yearns to do more. Dullah says that he sees Wazoefu as a big company in future. He currently has 5 singles and he is working on an album and professional music videos.
It is through Wazoefu that Abdallah will be heading to Nigeria in the VSO Jitolee project in late June. He says that he will come back with something new and positive from his trip. In a word for the youth he says that the youth in Loitokitok loved being employed rather than creating employment. He says that NGOs have killed the youth with the allowances that they give thus the youth have relaxed. The challenges he faces he says are that the community has not fully accepted Wazoefu, they see it as a hub of youth into drugs and social vices.
That is Abdallah Salama. A young man born from Loitokitok and many have seen his journey from humble backgrounds to incredible heights. If he could, why shouldn’t any Loitokitok youth?