From Kibera to Earning Ksh 250K Playing Video Games – Story of Brian Diang'a

  • They say ‘when it rains, it pours’ but for Brian Diang’a, when it rained on his family’s fortune, he found shelter in something else, gaming. 

    Born in 1992, his family experienced misfortune when he was only 7 after his father lost his job due to a drinking problem and the family had to move from their posh neighbourhood to Kibera slums.

    As a result, Diang’a’s family had to be content living in a one-room house with mud walls and a roof made of rusty sheets of iron pocked with tiny holes.

    However, for the young boy, his innate love for gaming did not give in to the tough conditions his family of seven was experiencing at the time and he, occasionally, skived school to feed his passion. 

    Well-architectured building at Kibera Hamlets School in Nairobi.

    Well-architectured building at Kibera Hamlets School in Nairobi.


    To afford this, Diang’a walked for miles to fetch water for other folks in the slum at a fee and used some of the dues to pay for video game time at local hangouts.

    “They say video games are violent but for me, that is not the case. I was escaping from this reality that I was in,” he revealed in an interview with NPR, an American radio station. 

    After finishing school, Brian tried his hand at various jobs including working as an illustrator at an ad agency and a concierge at a hotel in Egypt. 

    However, he was still captivated by video games and when he found out that there was prize money to be won, he decided to “start challenging people” to win money.

    Today, Diang’a’s mastery of video games is encapsulated in his gamer nickname: “Thee beast,” and he now earns a living as a gamer with prize money from tournaments.

    In the NPR interview, Diang’a revealed that he makes between Ksh126,200 and Ksh252,400 ($1,000 to $2,000 ) in a year from gaming. 

    He traces his journey in professional gaming back to 2015 when he participated in a Mortal Kombat tournament and came in third.

    Seven years later, he earned the title of Kenya’s Gaming Ambassador in 2022 from the informal gaming community of Kenya and East Africa.

    An image of gaming

    A video gamer playing on his Personal Computer.


    The Kibera-raised player has bagged sponsorships from major e-sports companies that include Pro Series Gaming(PSG) and Deez Gaming in Japan.

    Diang’a has equally attracted international attention from major media houses such as CNN, the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbu and the Africa Business publication.

    As he continues to enjoy his fame, Diang’a gives tech tutorials to kids in impoverished neighborhoods and also serves as a volunteer firefighter as a way to give back to society.


Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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