Colonel Moustapha is a man who attracts admiration and controversy almost in equal measure, but the controversial singer has been missing from the radar, musically speaking, for some time now.
For a person who thrives on the attention his status affords him, this silence has been quite unusual, with many getting the feeling that he may have quit music for a different career as a result of dwindled fortunes.
Last week we traced the star to his tiny business premises – a small container shop situated behind Nairobi’s Nyayo Estate, Embakasi, within the sprawling Nairobi Eastland’s area.
It is a journey that will take you about four kilometres by car if you are coming from Mombasa Road and close to 12km if you are coming from Nairobi’s CBD.
The road leading to his business premises, situated opposite a local small open market, is bumpy and dusty.
When we finally caught up with him in his business premises last Friday late afternoon, a few hours before he headed to the mosque for evening prayers, he was relaxed, at home with the variety of clothes for both sexes that were hang at one corner of the shop, including the sport shoes, caps and gold-coated ornaments among other goodies.
Unassumingly, the seemingly excited Mustapha was happy to see us and quickly ushered us in to his shop. Right in front of his container shop was his salesman whom he introduced us to.
“It’s nice to see you after a while,” he cheeringly told us.
We sat inside the shop trying to perhaps come to terms with this seeming sudden turn of events while he stood there, his eyes outwardly looked across for any available customer in the densely populated business premises, Moustapha informed us that he has been doing this new venture for more than three months now.
“I realized that local music no longer pays hence my decision to get into something different in a bid to sustain my daily needs before I can proceed with my music career. One thing I dislike is being idle,” he revealed, adding that his stuff is mainly imported from Turkey, Italy and South Africa.
“I am sometimes forced to go for the clothes myself depending with orders from my customers some of whom are musicians among them gospel star Solomon Mukubwa. Other times, I send a friend of mine to get them for me,” he told us.
For the flashy singer the question will still linger; why would such a prominent rapper opt to open up a container shop in Nairobi’s Eastland’s estate as opposed to the CBD which is considered more classy?
Is it true that he is broke?
Mustapha rubbishes those claims, terming it a ploy by a section of his haters to tarnish his name and music career through bad press.
“What do you mean by me being broke? I am simply hustling in order to have a better life which any wise person would do and I see nothing wrong with it,” he told us.
Moustapha revealed that he used more than Sh100,000 in designing his container shop let alone the expensive designer clothes, shoes and ornaments he imports among other expenses.
“The fact that I choose to operate next to my hood does not mean that I am out and down, neither does it mean that the people operating within Nairobi’s CBD are better off than me. In any case I intend to expand my business by opening three more containers within the CBD, South C and Karen, God willing,” he went on.
So does this mean that his business supports his music or vice versa?
“Although I consider that a personal question and not in any way related to my business but if you must know I chose to do so if need arises. After all, it’s my business and it has kept me going for some time now,” he told us.
So then does this mean he has taken a break from music for good?
“Not really. Music has been a big part of me ever since I was a teenager and I do not plan on quitting it anytime soon,” he answered, adding that he has been busy working on a number of projects.
Even then, Moustapha does not shy away from mentioning that local music does not pay – in terms of getting shows not to mention their music royalties which he says have always fallen in the wrong hands.
“Being a family man has changed my perspective and outlook about life in general. I now realise that life is a battle field and not a playground. We are here for a short time hence the need to make the best of it,” he concluded.