Imagine taking a stroll down your neighbourhood, you make a quick detour at that affordable mangi shop, a quick glance around and standing next to you is Bongo Flava superstar AliKiba - this is a scenario more likely to happen as evidenced by the musician’s choice of lifestyle.
The ‘Seduce Me’ hitmaker was recently quoted saying he shuns from displaying his wealth and living like a celebrity because of his avid predilection for the simple lifestyle. Alikiba revealed this last week at the premier of Bongo movie actor Gabo Zigamba’s new film ‘Siyabonga’ at Mlimani Century cinemas.
Amidst a crowded entry-way to the cinema, Kiba was approached by hungry paparazzi on the prowl for some scoops.
The artiste wasn’t so tight-lipped this time, he welcomed questions with a warm smile as they barraged him with all sorts of inquiries.
He however spent a considerable amount of time explaining himself when he was asked on why he doesn’t live the high-end lifestyle associated with most Tanzanian stars – be it real or fake.
Kiba’s journey in the music industry can be traced to over 10 years back. During this span he has amassed an enviable amount of wealth along the way.
As an artiste, he is not known for the lavish lifestyle, a vast contrast from what we see everyday by most celebrities in Bongo or East Africa.
The Cinderella singer has always maintained a modest routine, almost too modest bordering on frugality. But he always assures fans of one thing; there is no paucity of wealth at his estate.
Even as he continues with his trend of releasing not more than two songs in a 12-month span, his engagements in other business ventures such as energy drink and his role under Rockstar 3000 music label have assured him of steady income sufficient for any lifestyle he desires.
As other music stars are rushing to buy expensive cars, gadgets and jewellery, such material items are of immaterial significance or interest to Kiba. He likes living a life that correlates more with that of a common Tanzanian – his fans.
He doesn’t like to distance himself from reality by setting the wealth bar so high that others who aspire to be like him cannot reach.
Whenever there are big events nationally that warrant the presence of artistes, it has become more like a norm to see some of them make entrances with a slew of bodyguards – an intimidating sight.
For Kiba, he is more of a ‘one man army’ as he is often seen striding on his own without any extra protection.
This might beg the question of why would an artiste of his caliber prefer living a life that doesn’t quite reveal his monetary success in the music exploits? The answer is simple; according to the artiste - Kiba says he came from a modest background, displaying his wealth now would be a ridicule to anyone who’s trying to find a path to a successful life. “If I wanted to set myself apart from the lot, I would, but that isn’t my lifestyle.I don’t want people to look at me and feel like they cannot approach me,” he said.
It is for such reasons and more, that you stand a good chance of bumping into AliKiba on your daily routines around the streets.
It’s not just the wealth that Kiba tries to keep at bay, but also his personal life and family.
You won’t see many videos or photos of his family on social media – this is because he tries to distance them from the limelight.
He has, however, on a few occasions posted photos of his family – to mark the celebration of an important family event – such as a birthday or wedding.
Hiding financial might from the public eye can be both good and bad for artistes. A positive outcome from such a choice, is the fact that it will be very hard for people to know or judge when your finances run low. If you maintained a simple lifestyle it’s easier to continue on the same path even when it’s not by choice.
On the flipside, not showing your monetary success in music might discredit your brand. Some businesses are attracted by the extravagance and allure associated with big celebrities who live a lavish lifestyle. This can come in handy when getting endorsement deals with luxury brands.
Diamond Platnumz, one of a few notable artistes who like displaying their wealth to all and sundry has managed to ink many lucrative endorsement deals with brands like Belair, Danube and Pepsi by the sheer fact of the kind of life he leads.
This is one of the pros of living life on the expensive side. Other artistes who’ve managed to ink big deals by living extravagant lifestyles include Shetta, Harmonize and Jux.
To some artistes, living a simple lifestyle isn’t by choice, but a reality due to a dearth of wealth. The Bongo Flava industry isn’t one where wealth is in abundance. In fact, many musicians are not able to afford an expensive lifestyle due to limited returns from their musical outputs.
It is only recently that big names in the industry started to command a handsome fee for performing. In the past, an artiste who’s toiled in the industry would get paid as little as Sh400,000 for a stage performance – a slap on the face of the long hours and hard work put in.
For Kiba, his choice to dim the light on his wealth seems to work for him. It has neither diminished his value nor rendered him an absolute snob in the public eye – it fact, this only endears him more to fans.