Meet Teacher Making a Living by Painting Celebrities

  • A painting of Health CS Mutahi Kagwe drawn by John Njoroge.
    A painting of Health CS Mutahi Kagwe drawn by John Njoroge.
  • A section of Kenyans have had to change their professions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to survive through the tough economic times.

    Joseph Njoroge, a professional teacher, is one such individual. 

    Since the pandemic was announced in March 2020, Njoroge set aside one of his rooms to suit a painting gallery. There, he spends up to six hours a day, crafting celebrity paintings.

    A file photo of Joseph Njoroge, an artist
    A file photo of Joseph Njoroge, an artist

    With a pencil, Njoroge begins his sketch and keeps referring to a photo to get a perfect layout. Afterwards, he uses a paint brush to spread the paint.

    Some of the notable individuals whom Njoroge has painted include; Deputy President William Ruto, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi, Pope Francis, Ngugi wa Thiong'o and many others.

    Speaking to, Njoroge stated that selling his pieces, which go for around Ksh 3,000, has not been easy during the pandemic.

    "The materials that artists use to do their work are costly and most Kenyans haven't appreciated art yet. Sometimes I paint individuals and send them the pieces but they do not respond and this can be a bit frustrating," he stated.

    Njoroge's love for art begun when he was in primary school. He narrates that art and craft was the most enjoyable lesson before it was scrapped off the syllabus.

    "I would have done so much if only I had concentrated on it," Njoroge stated.

    He would later graduate from the University of Nairobi in 2015 with a degree in Education (Christian Religious Education (CRE) and History).

    After his graduation, he secured employment at South Tetu girls and later Ituru High School.

    "I was always conflicted between pursuing my profession or enhancing my talent and so in 2018, I gave up teaching and was employed as a full time art and craft teacher at the Riara Group of Schools," he narrated.

    Njoroge urges the youth to nurture their talents and even make a living from them. He is optimistic that one day Kenyans will be more appreciative of artwork.