My MamaMikes Story

The situation: I am upcountry with no talktime on my pre paid phone. Christmas was coming up and the ability to communicate to the world beyond this village is vital. At the same time an unexpected vehicle emergency had wiped out all my cash and the nearest ATM machines are over an hour way (due to the terrible state of the roads) and it was raining badly.

But I had a credit card, a laptop and a WAP enable mobile phone. I convinced a good Samaritan (a younger cousin having his arm twisted) to sambaza me KSH 100.00 of mobile phone airtime with promises of greater rewards in the not to distance future and thus began my quest for mobile phone juice. I plugged the phone into the laptop, connected to Safaricom WAP and was on the MamaMikes website in a jiffy. I pulled out my credit card and purchased a Safaricom airtime “gift” of GBP 15.00 about KSH 2,000.00 for myself. (This remains my largest one time mobile phone airtime purchase to date). The whole procedure took around ten minutes.

MamaMikes logo

Ten minutes later I got a call from MamaMikes to “check on a few things”:

Q: You are Daudi
A: Yes
Q: You are in Kenya
A: Yes
Q: You are using you are using your credit card to buy Safaricom airtime
A: Yes
Q: For yourself
A: Yes
YOU LAZY MUPPET (OK the MamaMike’s guy didn’t say that but I could hear him thinking that. I could have quickly become the inspiration for a new joke:
What is the height of laziness?
Using your credit card to buy Safaricom airtime via MamaMikes, like that cartoon Mental, because you can not be bothered to walk down the road to the kiosk.)

I explained my situation to the MamaMikes rep, he asked me to confirm some credit card security details and satisfied I was not committing credit card fraud sent the airtime to my phone, which enabled me to send my nearest and dearest (as well as a Western Union stealing muppet ;-) ) Merry Christmas txt messages and thus preserve world peace.

My second MamaMikes story. It’s my birthday and I am happily typing away at work when my phone rings. MamaMikes would like to know where to deliver my card and birthday cake. What a pleasant surprise. Since I was heading downtown we agreed that I could pick it from their office. One hour later I turn up at MamaMikes and collected a fantastic cake, purchased for me by a fantastic person, a fantastic number of miles away from Kenya.

That evening the family couldn’t believe that a cake ordered by someone half way around the world over the internet had arrived before the cake they ordered from a bakery half way up the road. It brought home to the people around me the power of this thing called the internet.

Birthday cake

MamaMikes is a fantastic story of how Kenyan entrepreneurs are connecting Kenyans in the Diaspora to Kenyans at home. You can send airtime, flowers, supermarket vouchers, cards and even pay school fees direct to the school via MamaMikes no matter where you are in the world. It is also an example that e-businesses can and do thrive in our country. This makes MamaMikes an inspiration to many of us.

However, the ultimate respect from me came the day they started offering “Ngombe ya maziwa” via their website. A healthy Friesian cow for dairy purposes for USD 740.00. They helpfully add: Ideal for someone with a small shamba close to a milk depot where they can sell their milk.

A dairy cow via the internet, now you all know what to get me for my birthday next year.


  1. 1

    kate says

    Ai, i can’t go anywhere without hearing how “terrific” mamamikes is??
    Kizuri chajiuza kibaya chajitembeza!!

  2. 5


    This is brilliant! I love hearing real stories of technology in action in Africa.

    MamaMikes wins a cookie for making a blogger happy. :)

  3. 6

    anonymous says

    Oh my God.

    That was better than Shakespeare in love.

    I almost ordered a cake for one of my frenemies in Kenya but then thought ah, why? I guess when I visit Kenya thats how I will order the stuff for me myself and I.
    Very heartwarming.

  4. 7


    Wow. Christmas is right about the corner. So now you have no excuse for not sending me a gift….oh wait a minute Mamamike only works in Kenya? Hhmmm we Ugandans are still dragging our feet when it comes to taking full advantage of the wireless wonder.

  5. 8


    I wonder why I am the only one with a bad review of MamaMikes. I tried calling them up with a biz proposal. One landline was switched off, the other was ringing off the hook(it was during normal working hrs). On calling the cellphone, a very tired, sleepily bored lady answered the phone, I had to confirm with her that it was mamamikes as clearly sounded like it was a mama mike whose sleep I had interrupted. I requested for an email address as it was clear she would not get half of what I said. I was given, sent an email and have been waiting since then. Mamamikes if you read this, kindly respond to any emails you have received in the last two weeks seeking partnership.


  6. 9


    To KenyanPoet,

    We have tried to trace your email on our email records without much success. We are very sorry about you not getting through to us. If you get this message, please email us directly on

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    You have a great blog by the way!

  7. 10



    I’m not sure what to comment, but wanted to say something, anything.

    Um, okay, i like your blog.

    I’m on overload from overwork and overthought and i’ve been following blogolinks all afternoon in an attempt to prove to myself that I am not a ‘snobbish-writer-type-who-appreciates-no-writing-except-her-own’ thing. So far, out of 50 blogs, yours stands out.

    [Don’t worry, it’s hormones]

    Plus i’m trying to regain normalcy after the madness that has been Kenya for the last week or so. Keep going, you’ll likely see a lot more of me. Take care and be safe.

  8. 11

    jeni says

    that picture has me drooling into my keyboard!!! Any idea where they ordered it from?

    kenyan businesses fail in poor customer service and thus low retention once they deem themselves too popular to treat their constomers well. I see it over and over again. Someone comes up with a novel concept, they get a flurry of customers – and then out of nowhere the staff start being rude and arrogant

    kudos to thay have truly established a brand!

  9. 12

    Mike says

    yeah, mama mikes is great. Someone clonned my card while I was in Kenya and they’ve been going mad buying vouchers on Mama Mikes……………..

  10. 13

    pure says

    I am keen to see if mamá mikes lives up to all the good reviews and delivers my order this saturday in time for mums birthday.


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