E-sports instructors in Kenyan slums

Plant the roots of dreams in the slums.

E-sports instructors in Kenyan slums

Are people also playing video games in Kenya?

When we talk about video games, generally speaking, we always talk about things around us. Sometimes, we also look at the United States and Japan to see what new changes are happening in the game industry over there.

This is actually very easy to understand. We care about our people because they are closely related to us; we are interested in the United States and Japan because they are advanced enough in the game industry and their culture is strong enough. There is nothing wrong with all of this, except that there are humans living in places where we have not paid attention, or even thought of, and they also play games.

For example, Kenya. I never considered caring about the current state of video games in Kenya before. Do they treat games as part of their lives, just like us? Does anyone out there take gaming as their profession?

A few weeks ago, a report by a Kenyan e-sports player attracted me. “The Beast” Brian Diang’a grew up in the Kibera slum (Kibera) in Kenya. He relied on his own efforts to become a “Mortal Kombat ” professional player. Today, although he has some fame on the Internet, he still insists on living in a slum.

Now, “The Beast” mainly does two things every day. One is to participate in various game events, which allows him to maintain income and influence; the other is to promote the Internet and games to Kibera’s children in his own way. He believes that games can help children get out of slums and into a wider world.

E-sports instructors in Kenyan slums

Brian Diang’a still lives in a slum to this day

E-sports players are generally very busy. I guess he should be busy too, but I still thought of some ways and found Brian Diang’a through the Internet. I don’t know if this is the first time a Chinese game media interviewed him. After hearing about my intention, he agreed to my request and told Tushile his story.

From playing games to becoming a professional player

Everything starts with Kibera.

Before becoming a professional player, Brian Diang’a was just a “normal” game player just like us. It’s just that, in a slum called Kibera where he grew up, the game is not “ordinary” at all.

Kibera is located in the southwest of the capital Nairobi, covering an area of ​​about 2.5 square kilometers . It only accounts for less than 1% of the total area of ​​Nairobi, but it accommodates a quarter of the city’s population. Millions of people live in shanty towns here. There is no smell of games in the air here. If you want to play games, you need to take a 40-minute ride to Nairobi.

Brian Diang’a told me that in the slums where he lives, not to mention games, it is very difficult to surf the Internet. “It is full of violent crimes, construction is very backward, and the streets are full of thugs armed with knives and guns. The street I am in is quite dangerous, and people are facing death threats at all times.”

Brian Diang’a has been involved in violent incidents several times and was injured several times. On another occasion, he was even hit by a bullet—no one could bear such a life, and he was the same. He told me: “I refuse to face the threat of violence and drugs every day.”

“The Beast” wants to escape Kibera’s reality in the game, but he does not have the conditions to play the game.

“My family is very poor,” he said to me, “I don’t have my own TV or game console. It is too difficult to own one of my own.” In order to achieve his goal, he tried to save money. “I started doing some dirty work, saving up the change I should have given my mother, just to go to the game hall in Nairobi to play for a while.”

E-sports instructors in Kenyan slums

Kibera’s infrastructure is very poor and it’s very difficult to play games

The family did not support his idea. “My family is absent from my gaming life because our family is really… very poor. My father passed away very early and my mother raised me and my 5 brothers alone.”

In Kenya, there are not so many parents who recognize the value of games-just like us here. Brian Diang’a’s mother doesn’t like games and thinks that games will not help children in any way. Safety issues are also an important reason why his mother refused to let him go to the game hall. “She was afraid that I would run into thugs or get drugs.”

Of course, Brian Diang’a couldn’t listen. The only thing he was thinking about was to save enough money to go to Nairobi for a while. There will be no noise and troubles of Kibera in the game world.

With the money he saved from working, Brian Diang’a walked into the game hall in Nairobi. The game hall here is not so modern, but it is not too shabby-you can play all kinds of consoles and computer games here, but there is no comfortable gaming chair.

He eventually fell in love with passionate and exciting fighting games-such as “Mortal Kombat” and “Tekken”. Only after playing for a while and starting online battles, he found that this place was not as easy and happy as he had imagined-he couldn’t beat his online opponents at all.

It doesn’t feel good to fail repeatedly. This is normal. After all, the opponents on the other end of the network cable come from all over the world and have more experience than him-especially in fighting games like “Mortal Kombat”, the effect of practicing behind closed doors will definitely be greatly reduced.

“I don’t intend to be beaten like this.” He began to learn game skills online and practiced repeatedly. Imitating the videos of top European and American players, from skills to routines, long-term practice has gradually increased his strength. In 2014, he began to participate in Kenyan e-sports competitions, and began to receive bonuses. Since then, the name of the “beast” has gradually become known to people.

All this is not easy. “For to me that the biggest obstacle is the economy. Because there is no equipment, you want to practice it becomes extremely difficult. When I became electric campaign hand, have not even own a video game.” In this After that, he saved another year of money to successfully achieve this goal.

In addition to the income, there is another point that makes the “beast” full of gratitude for the game. “If there were no games, I would have gone astray.” Most of the friends Brian Diang’a knew when he was young were drugged or involved in various crimes. “Most of them have not been able to live healthy to this day. The journey was full of hardships and difficulties, but with perseverance, I finally came over.”

Let the children play games

Today, Brian Diang’a has participated in e-sports competitions for 7 years.

Today’s Kibera has changed a lot from the previous year. The slums are finally connected to the Internet. Although not everyone can use it, there are still some young people who have access to the Internet and computers, and they have gradually started to play games. Brian Diang’a is using his experience and knowledge to help them integrate into the cultural atmosphere of e-sports, and he has become the “e-sports mentor” for these students. “I am very familiar with the e-sports industry at home and abroad, and I also have experience in participating.”

Most of the time, Brian Diang’a instructs his students in the game room run by his friend and takes them to play games here. At the same time, he is also trying to help more local children play games. ” I put my own PS4 and game disk here, and welcome local children to come here to experience it. At most, there are more than 50 in a day, and they can play the games here.” It sounds a bit like the game rental of the past. The room is rich in content, but simple in form-but that’s enough. At least there is such a place where children have the opportunity to play games. Brian Diang’a is very proud of all this.

As a professional player, Brian Diang’a likes fighting games. His home game is “Mortal Kombat”, besides, he also often plays “Tekken”-he even excitedly told me that his favorite “Tekken” character “Feng Wei” has the same name as me.

I asked him if he would recommend these games he likes to children, such as “Tekken”? He said no. “If I let them play “Tekken”, it would be like imposing myself on them.” Brian Diang’a gave them a variety of game choices, first let the children play freely, and then group them according to their interests and teach them What I learned from the game.

He is particularly optimistic about Adam, a young player. Adam has made rapid progress and is now a player of “Tekken” and “Mortal Kombat”. However, due to the epidemic, Adam had to leave Nairobi and return to his hometown of Mombasa. “I look forward to the day when he succeeds.” Brian Diang’a said with confidence.

E-sports instructors in Kenyan slums

Brian Diang’a likes to play fighting games other than “Mortal Kombat”, but he gives children more choices

At present, the venue for these activities seems to be limited to the game room of the “beast” friends. Brian Diang’a told me that the biggest dream at the moment is to have a game hall of my own, which can carry out various activities more freely, so that e-sports can be known to more young people in Kibera.

A gaming arcade opened by an e-sports player from a slum. This sounds good, but the plan is still some distance away. He can look forward to the future and sponsors together to cooperate, to make their first home game room can be opened smoothly.

Connecting the world in slums

Brian Diang’a showed children the possibility of games and guided young people who want to make a difference in e-sports, but games are not everything in the outside world.

Kibera’s educational resources are extremely poor, and most of the time it relies on charitable organizations to operate. Most children here have no access to TV or the Internet, and there are few channels to understand the outside world. In order to let the children know what is happening outside, Brian Diang’a and his friends collected books on various topics and used these books to fill the libraries of schools in the slums. The status quo in Kibera needs to be changed. Brian Diang’a hopes to improve the violence, drugs and various crimes that plague local residents through education.

“If children can read more books, they can stay away from misinformation and avoid committing crimes. Although I loved reading as a child, I didn’t have the opportunity to receive proper education. I don’t want them to be like me. “

E-sports instructors in Kenyan slums

Help the children, but also compensate yourself

In 2020, after the outbreak of the epidemic, many families in Kibera lost their jobs and were unable to support their families. In order to help these families, Brian Diang’a and a friend launched an assistance project to provide food for more than 80 local families. It is planned to provide food from 2020 to 2022, until the entire plan is exhausted. But in fact, they spent more than $1,000 on this within the last year, and the two were almost bankrupt.

He did not regret it. “This is life!” He said, “When I was young, I used to live on the street with my mother. I didn’t have money to buy food. The two of them could only go hungry together. Therefore, I know the taste of starvation better than anyone else. “

Brian Diang’a told me that he thought it was a “complete beautiful time.” “Although we ran out of money and had to stop the plan, I miss these days very much. If there is a chance to raise funds again, I will immediately restart this assistance.”

Kenya’s games and future

While we are busy facing all kinds of good and bad things in the domestic game industry, and witnessing the world’s game industry advancing in the next generation wave , the game industry in Africa is actually moving forward. Today, the scale of the game industry in Africa has exceeded US$1 billion, and it continues to grow steadily.

Among them, Kenya’s e-sports industry has developed rapidly. More and more young people are participating in it and becoming professional e-sports players. Since 2019, Kenya has produced more than 20 winners from slums. Parents of children saw the increasing number of game-related news in the news, and after learning about the income of e-sports players, they began to recognize the time and experience the children spent on games.

In an era of opportunity, Brian Diang’a no opportunity to Nairobi or more cities to chase a broader stage by a dream thought. He chose to root his dream in his hometown, Kibera, a slum, and tried to help more children with his own efforts.

Brian Diang’a told me that he will continue to use his experience in Kibera to guide more young people who want to become professional players. “These young people from slums need me, and I will do my best.”

He also hopes to continue to play to the advantages of the Internet and get more support for his ideas through the Internet. In addition to attracting sponsors to help him fulfill his dream and build his first game hall, he also wants to try game live broadcast.

I saw his YouTube channel and it was just getting started, but it has already started live broadcasting decently. “I want to be a game anchor like PewDiePie, share my life experience, and help young people realize their dreams.” Brian Diang’a said, “It’s not just Kibera’s children, I want to help children all over the world.”

If you only look at the photos, Brian Diang’a always has a full-fledged look. He likes to share his daily life on Instagram. Everything looks enthusiastic and hopeful-his computer, game console, the e-sports game he is in, or the scene of playing with children.

But behind the excitement, sometimes, he may also want to be alone for a while. He also has a photo in which he climbed a small hill near his hometown, sat cross-legged, and looked towards the small town of Kibera. Brian Diang’a said that this is the best place to stay alone.

E-sports instructors in Kenyan slums

“It’s really suitable for seeing the scenery here.”

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/e-sports-instructors-in-kenyan-slums/
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