Mganga kutoka Tanzania, Mganga Kutoka Zanzibar are common adverts appearing on street posts and even in our newspapers. Some of the waganga give themselves titles like Dr and Professor. It is not clear to me why TZ and Zanzibar are home to the toughest Waganga and why Kenyan waganga never advertise their services that vigorously. Why not mganga kutoka Shamakhokho or kutoka Ekalakala?
If you read through any of the adverts by a mganga, one gets a feeling they “know you,” chances are they will mention at least one problem that disturbs you. Over the years, waganga have mastered the common problems an average human being faces through all the phases of his or her live and through seasons from cold, rain, dry or even electioneering. This in-depth understanding of human behaviour keeps Waganga active and moneyed.
Can hustlers learn from waganga by understanding their customers’ needs or behaviour or anticipating them in all phases of their lives and seasons? Waganga do not use any advanced technology to understand our needs, they just observe. They keep that knowledge and pass it from one generation to the next. Note that am not a mganga, I have just observed! This intergenerational sharing of secrets and tacit knowledge has ensured the longevity of uganga despite Christianity and other religions flourishing in Kenya.
If hustlers master their customer behaviour or needs like waganga and pass it from one generation to the next, their hustles would thrive and avoid succession curse that plague lots of firms. Unfortunately hustlers do not behave like waganga; as soon as they master the art of hustling and making more money, they shift to new hustles and start the same cycle again. Hustlers also fail to impress upon their children the virtues of hustling and fail to bequeath the hustle to the next generation. Some Asians do that very well.
Waganga, irrespective of where they come from have some shortcomings. Apart from creating fear, their secrecy ensures their trade is never widely shared for others to enrich it. Non transferability to wider society ensures that uganga remains region or family specific, with no new tools or adherers. In Kenya, you keep hearing of waganga from certain places. Name them. Secrecy ensures that uganga never gets modernized or formalized. Hustles that never get modernized or formalized remain small or in their locality.
Hustlers must not only learn the good things from waganga, but avoid their “bad things “like secrecy and fear. Is it true that some hustlers visit waganga to protect their businesses from rivals? If you have visited a mganga, share your experience with us. It is also rumoured that for Waganga, electioneering period is one of their peak seasons…
Lessons from my year as a hustler
Understanding human beings, their behaviour, their fears and aspirations is the naked secret of waganga. That would be asset to any hustler but too much secrecy is counterproductive –the reason patents have an expiry date. Next time you see an advert by a mganga, take time to read it. It might give you some insights into building a business empire.