“I want to tell my story of hope through music”

Julius' Ochieng made it to the stage © Ayiera Initiative

Julius Ochieng’ best known as Julliy Mwanakochi is a talented musician, dancer and performing artist in Korogocho slum. He was raised by a single parent in a family of seven children in a single roomed house.

Julius once was a “drop out”

Because he was the oldest in the family, he had to supplement her mother’s income in

Slum dwellers scavenging at Dandora dumpsite © Ayiera Initiative
Scavenging at Dandora dumpsite © Ayiera Initiative

order to feed his other six siblings. He collected scrap metals and plastics from the Dandora dumpsite and sold them for some cash to dealers. The pressure was too much and so he dropped out of primary school to continue supplementing her mother’s income. He joined Ayiera Initiative as a drop out but would later continue with his education through support from Ayiera Initiative through the scholarship program.

He is known in Korogocho for his songs, “Sampolo” and “Noma”. He has been at Ayiera Initiative since he was a small child while still in primary school. Thomas Schwarz from Germany spoke to him in an interview conducted at Ayiera Initiative centre in Gomongo, Korogocho Slum.

“From dump site to a scholarship”

“I started singing when I was six years old, I took singing seriously after I went for auditions for a TV program in Kenya National Theater where I emerged the fourth best out of ten competitors” he says. “I write my music after which I look for support to record the songs, Ayiera Initiative has provided me with a platform to record my music in big studios”

Julius Ochieng performing on stage @ Julius Ochieng
Julius Ochieng performing on stage @ Julius Ochieng’

“I was born and raised in Korogocho, but I hope through my music I will be able to tell my story to the whole world”, he says.  “So that every talented child out there, be it in music, dancing, poetry can be encouraged and learn from my story”.

“I joined Ayiera Initiative when I was a school dropout because my mother could not afford the school fees to keep me in school. Ayiera Initiative took me out of the dump site and because I loved to sing I joined the Talent development program. I also benefited from the scholarship program through which I completed primary and secondary school.”


Julius Ochieng aka Julliy Mwanakochi during his interview with Thomas Schwarz at the Ayiera-Initiative Centre in Korogocho. © Tom Rübenach
Julius Ochieng aka Julliy Mwanakochi © Tom Rübenach

Julius’ dream is to create his own international music recording label and fashion house where he hopes to nurture and support talented musician and explore his love for fashion. “I am determined to see my dreams come true and that is why I give my best in my music,” he adds.

Very soon you will be able to listen to the interview Julius gave AYiERA iNiTiATiVE.

Before that you may explore how his music sounds. It sounds so African, so Korogocho, so Jullyi! Simply brilliant.


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