ITBC's Kenyan Superhero series
Born in a local hospital in Nairobi James Gakuo was nothing but an ordinary child until he started learning faster than anyone else in his class in his teenage years. But, his learning was not just the characters he saw on the blackboard or he words he heard, he could see “things" and his calculations could beat 10 supercomputers simultaneously before knew how to count, he could “hear "things" that scientists around the world would spend millions of American dollars to hear, see and calculate. His mother and father were very ordinary Kenyan parents but his genetic makeup would amaze the best scientists for generations to come. James could not articulate any of this in any meaningful form until he was fourteen years old. Until then he was a plain ordinary child.After years of extremely intense study in Nairobi and later in the United States and love for intense sports and physical games and a variety of martial arts, James goes on to create a financial application software after studying computer science and a host of other disciplines that financial institutions around the world adopt. He creates a massive financial empire then decides to pursue his childhood dream of engineering, making instruments, gadgets and then finally, the first anti-gravity car that travels at speeds of up to 3,000kmph (by completing Einstein's theory of relativity and proving it's practical application in one of his labs in Europe). His labs situated all over the world become the hallmark for technology around the world. His company, The Global Tech Hub becomes James' most valued possession. His company takes over the mobile markets creating phones that Apple and Samsung cannot compete with. By the age of 34 in the year 2028 James becomes the richest man in the world surpassing Bill Gates with a difference of $24 billion.A United Nations body called UN CORP would be founded to regulate major corporations that had become so big that nations need more than just policy to handle them. The Global Tech Hub would rise to such magnificent heights 15 multinationals together with the UN CORP org would come together to file global monopoly charges against it. The company gets broken up into 4 parts and James takes the corp in Munich that builds anti-gravity cars and mobile phones. His corp out performs the other three for five years straight make him the envy of many senior execs. Five corporates leaders including two from UN CORP get together and come up with a plot to rid the world of James.
After weeks of knowledge of a plot to assassinate him and failing time and time again to get sufficient evidence to prosecute the culprits, he goes into hiding with all his money and technologies and takes the law into his own hands.
Chapter 1 The first lesson.....
It would take James time to understand the characters and shapes he saw on the blackboard as the teacher wrote things that just looked strange to him. For three years he performs so poorly (often at the bottom of the class) that his parents considered taking him to a school for special needy children. His mom a modern Kenyan woman by all measures came with the idea of using technology to help him learn after watching a program on television about artistic children. She thought this might help before they write off his intellectual capabilities. They bought him an iPad after months of discussions and arguments between them. An iPad would be a pinch in their finances and his dad Mr George Gakuo was already disillusioned with his sons learning aptitude and didn't understand why his mother wanted to spend over Kshs 200,000 (US$2,000) on a device that James may never make use of.
James got his first iPad at the age of 13 in 2007. Until then, there was nothing extraordinary about him, not until he connected to the World Wide Web. It would take him months of playing around with nothing, just simply getting to understand its interface and functionality. Then one day he started using it to gather information and understand subjects. His mother was also beginning to get disillusioned 10 months after buying this expensive device for her son. She had no idea what her son was capable of.
Born on August 23rd , 1994 James Gitonga Gakuo was of average weight and everything about him as regular as any nurse in Pwani Hospital could tell. With three older sisters and one brother James, he would be the last born of a family of five. His father George Kamau Gakuo his father and his mother Mary Wanja Gakuo were an average couple by any standards living in South B estate in Nairobi. It was a pretty decent place for a third world country (before Kenya would become a middle income economy). He has an eldest sister Susan, followed by Brenda, Judy and Peter who are also regular Kenyans. Susan is 17 years older, Brenda 12 years older, Judy 9 and Peter 4 years older. After the birth of James, both his parents decided they had enough children. His dad was a cool man most of the time. He would partially engage in politics and on Friday evenings have a drink with his friends at a local bar called Shirikishwa.
James at the age of six was taken to a primary school in South B close to home after finishing two years of preparatory schooling. He barely made it to primary school. His first day of class was filled with pleasantries, kids getting to know each other and the teacher. The second day would be a little tougher for him. He never fully understood what the teacher was writing on the blackboard. His mind would be racing then suddenly he hears the teacher's breathing and her heart beat, then the other other kids in the room. To him as a child growing up, all this must have been how other kids felt. He could not understand that there was anything different about him.
On the third day of school James goes home after class and is dropped by the school bus at the gate to the entrance to their block. As he walks he hears the people in their homes talking, in other homes there's music playing (most people can hear loud music playing from a house), James can hear everything even at low volume. For some seconds he cover his ears and then when he removes his hands from his ears the sounds disappear. He tries to figure out if it's him or if people just kept quiet. He gets to the house and the maid opens the door for him. He's the first one home and she makes porridge for him. He takes the porridge and goes up to his room. For an hour he looks at the books they've been given and tries to make sense of the characters. The images he can recognize but what do the curves mean? He goes through the whole book wondering if he's supposed to understand the curves and shapes he sees drawn in black. The brain is an amazing instrument, James doesn't realize his brain is capturing everything happening for a two hundred meter radius. Every writing, number, word spoken, gesture, symbol, art. The capacity to interpret any of it eludes this young boy. He doesn't yet know what a heart beat is or what lungs are. He can only understand that, that's his teacher breathing or that's his brother or their house help. With his brain already processing so much, the characters before him are a quagmire.
His parents arrive soon after. His dad is home by 5:30pm EAT and his mom arrives at 6pm. His brother usually gets home soon after him and his sisters soon after. When his dad gets home as James lies on his bed he can his dad still talking on the phone in his car after turning its engine. He can even hear the other person on the phone talking his aunt. They're discussing money issues and his dad tells her how this month has been a problem, he and his wife are barely getting by. James puts his hands on his ears and the sounds and voices disappear. He turns on his bed and falls asleep. A few minutes later he hears the house help who comes to tell him to take a bath. His siblings are all home by this time. As he's bathing he starts thinking about everything he's learned today, least of all from his school teacher. He loves the illustrations and drawings he sees virtually visualization them with the precision of an accomplished artist. His hands are not trained to draw what he see but he precisely recalculate every curve of every angle to the 100th of a centimeter.
His school years go by with little more than the usual happening. Like other kids he makes some friends. Not a boy to talk much most people don't give him a second glare. James barely gets to form 1, passing with a few C's and mostly D's to his father's disappointment. At the age of fourteen he enters the 9th grade, form 1 in the Kenyan the 8-4-4 education system. His family doesn't think much of him and his dad fears he'll end up a tout (public vehicle attendant) or a mechanic in some small workshop. Until now James hasn't taken up any real interest other than a love for documentaries and old books which neither of his parents find useful in any way.
His first term in form one, in a day school in Westlands, about 15 kilometers from his home his grades would fall as he took more interest in books about engineering and physics more advanced than his class. His teachers took little note of him. He mingled like a regular child but on occasion would be badly withdrawn sitting on a corner by himself, reading books from a nearby library that even form fours couldn't read. One day a teacher called Mr Odiambo would approach him and ask him 'James, you have not been doing your home work. What is this you're reading? Do you want to fail your class?' The teacher would take a look at the book and ask him 'do you understand any of this? Why are you wasting your time with this?' James being a little shy and withdrawn had no answers for his teacher. He had no words to reply to the harsh question. He instead took on of his exercise books tore a page and drew and exact replica of a diagram of a Russian machine was looking at with precision and accuracy, and without looking at the book once, he labeled every function every cogwheel, with about 50 different parts to it without once having to make a correction. Mr Odiambo was left speechless. Even he couldn't get a quarter of what James had just done right. He took the book and the piece of paper and later in the week called in James's mom. She would also be astounded by his little accomplishment. After the meeting with Mr Odiambo, she would discus her son with her husband. George would have none of it.
One evening Marry (his mom comes home) and in the late night after the kids have gone to bed decides to take the discussion up with her husband. She tells him she has some little savings in the bank and after watching a program on children with special needs she would like to buy him an iPad to help hi m study and see if it helps him understand his class work better. George tells her 'if this child is not doing well in school, how will such an expensive thing help him?' James can them speak as if they were right next to him. He's learned how to block off voices now without using his hands. For an hour they talk back and forth. Eventually he tells her 'it is your money, you do what you want' and retires to sleep.
It's 2009 March and at the end of the first term of form one heading toward Easter holidays on one cold Friday afternoon James gets an iPad as he's about to turn fifteen years. His mom comes home early from work to present it to him. With no one else home she figures it will cause less controversy. His siblings all have smartphones and both his mom and dad have laptops but an iPad kind of raises the stakes especially considering he's only in form one. At the dinner table that evening James can't put down this new device getting on everyone's last nerve but his mom. His elder brother threatens to take it from him if he keeps showing it off like that. His mom tries to explain to them 'you all know James is different and has special needs, please, just let him be'.After dinner whilst watching TV Marry notices James has not put the iPad down for three straight hours. She tells him 'James you have to put that thing down. Don't push yourself too much' her husband tells her 'you bought it for him, didn't you' she gives him a stern look and continues watching the television. Peter (his older brother) sitting next to him says to him, 'kumbuka what I told you. Keep flaunting that thing and it's mine!' James looks into Peters eyes and decides in his mind 'you guys win' and turns off the iPad. He sits there for twenty minutes watching a Citizen program then thinks to himself, 'I can't take this anymore' . He gets up with his iPad and goes to his room. He plugs it in so its battery doesn't go down and puts his brain to work. He finds a Russian engineering course online and feels a rush through his mind and body. At about 10pm his mom comes to check on them and make sure everyone's asleep. She finds James asleep by his iPad and takes a look at what he's studying. She thinks to herself 'Good God! What is my child getting into at this age?!'. She tucks him in puts his device in his drawer then turns off the light and goes to her room. She tells George about it and he says to her 'you have done what you have done. It's what you wanted for him. Let's see where it takes him.' Mary goes to bed worried and decides she's going to talk to her son in the morning.
The sun rises on a beautiful Saturday in the city of Nairobi. As everyone is having breakfast, James still glued to his device, his mom tells him 'James I want to talk to you after you finish your breakfast'. James nods his head and continues eating as he goes through information, page after page, after page. His mom was shocked by what he was spending his time on, she would be even more shocked if she found out how fast he's grasping subjects and he has already learned the entire German language. After she went to sleep, he got back up and went on the net for six straight hours. He slept for one and a half hours and got up for breakfast. She doesn't yet have a clue.After breakfast she has sit down with him in their living room and tells him 'the reason I bought you this computer was so that it could help you study. Is it helping you?' he tells her 'mom, I love it. I have learned so much in one night' she says 'is it going to help you in your school work because if it's not, I might have to take it away.' James tells her 'with this, I will be able to do better in class mom, I'm sure of it' she says 'ok. By the end of next term we'll know.' In his mind he thinks to himself 'challenge accepted'. He spends the weekend studying computer science, biochemistry, physics and goes through the entire curriculum in mathematics for the school year. Unable to do any local 8-4-4 exams online he tells his mom on Monday morning, I'll be ready for class after the holidays'. His mom gets a little worried that her son might be taking this educational thing too seriously.
The holidays end and the next term begins. At the end of the term James scores straight A's in every subject and for the first time participates in sports. His mind and body begin to evolve in the most impressive way. His parents are left dumbfounded as suddenly James begins to become the star of the home. From the quiet boy that no one looked at twice to the kid everyone wants to see when they come to visit. Even girls in school start to take note of him as he also takes not of them. His confidence grows as his family tries “juu chinii” to keep him humble.
The second year third term goes even faster than the second term. Jame's teachers all insist he jumps a year at the end the semester. James finds himself in form three at age 15 and has already completed the curriculum as the year begins. His parents begin to worry about this child and how to satisfy his appetite for knowledge and physical activities. He runs 10 kilometers every morning and works throughout the day to evening. With his adrenaline and capacity for knowledge growing so fast he takes it upon himself to discover ways to channel his energy. By the end of the third term in his third year he takes both form three and form four exams (at different times of the day) through a special arrangement with the school and the Kenya examination board. As predicted by his teachers James scores straight A+'s in all exams. His teachers and parents are left beyond shocked. His teacher praise him and are ecstatic like they have never been. No other candidate has ever even attempted such a grueling intellectual fit. Both Mary and George insist on keeping the news on the low low. They don't want people's excitement growing more than it already has. They want their son to be more than just a media frenzy.
Upon hearing of his aptitude and his academic achievements both Harvard and MIT offer James full scholarships. In Harvard he intends to learn business and law and at MIT he studies sciences. For the first time, James is operating at his full mental capacity. He decides he's going to take the Harvard course by correspondence and study at MIT as he prepares to travel for the US.
By his sixteenth birthday James has mastered 7 computer languages, five spoken languages and has already written three Android apps one of them called Tradercom with an algorithm that allows a trader to predict a stock valuation an hour after keying in certain market elements. He keeps the iPad his mother bought close to him and close to his heart.
James's family and a few of his friends see him off at the airport on rainy Saturday evening. He packs two bags, one with clothes and another full of books. The flight is via London then more grueling hours to Massachusetts.He lands in MA and is met by one of the staff at the airport. After some minutes drive and being introduced to some people that are very impressed with his abilities he's lead to his room. For the first week he gets mixed emotions, feeling in total awe of this institution and at the same time a feeling of homesick, missing his brother sisters and parents. He kept a photo of them by his bedside and communicated frequently on Facebook with his brother and his closest sister Brenda. His MIT classes begin the next Monday after his first week in MA. After three weeks doing online classes from Harvard and attending lectures in MIT he figures 'I got this'. He goes through the topics to be covered that year and within four months has them all covered shocking all his lecturers. Microcraft, a massive software multinational hires him to help them write mobile buffer programs and before the end of his first year he gets his first check from major company. His first check amounts to US$150,320.50. He emails his folks about this and they just refuse to believe! It turns out his buffer programs were more efficient, smaller and faster than anything his peers in the company ever did. A company with hundreds of program managers and they with a team working on a spreadsheet program for multiple mobile platforms, they're development team of 350 programmers could only run 1.5 million lines of code successfully. James could do 500,000 all by himself in half the time. With the resources at MIT he made use of every powerful desktop, every connection and at some point had thousands of lines of code on 5 computers in the library.
Both his parents are filled with both excitement and worry. Will their son know how to handle money and stay focused on school until he completes his education? They ponder with advice and the direction they should try to steer him. He tries to assure them that he's focused and knows that he has to complete his education. The first thing he does with his money after opening three bank accounts is get an apartment outside campus and then buy three computers and five servers. 'Let's get this show on the road' he thinks to himself. His parents find that amount of money way to much for a 17 year old who just a year ago was in high school. James buys stocks, bonds and currencies from the US companies and around the world. He draws another contract with Microcraft only six months later for US$2 million. Microcraft will for a year with this contract draw heavily on his programming and analytical skills that are second to none. He sends half a million home and invests $1.5 mil in financial markets everything from mutual funds to government bonds to Google and Microsoft stock, he uses a program he's been working on (a major upgrade from the Tradercom app) to handle his stock diversification drawing on activities from veteran investors like George Soros and Warren Buffet. His program tracks all their buys and sells in stock markets and pairs their orders with contemporary market data then mimics the activities with his stock giving them virtually the same outcomes in profit growth. He calls this program “Stock Alchemy Pro”. James is on the move in the markets and his classes are not less demanding but a lot less complex. He gets his first taste of real money two months before he turns 18. And that's not even the half of it!Every morning at 5am he still goes jogging doing between ten and fifteen kilometers. A year and a half later after signing the biggest contract he's got yet, he thinks of finding a company to partner with. Not being a US citizen and not yet having a residency visa leaves him restricted in business ownership. He partners with two of his MIT, American friends Bill and Donald and they start a business that will in years to come put their friendship to the test. The register a company called The Global Tech hub. James's investments have by now ballooned to US$ 4.3 million. He invests $2,1 mil in the Tech Hub (TH for short) making him the major shareholder and Bill puts in $,24,000 and Donald $33,000 giving them both a small percentage of TH. James wonders if having partners is not a destruction. Both Bill and Donald come from wealthy families and at just three and five years older than James, that amount of money is still a pretty big sum. They've both seen what James can do so they have little doubt in the success of the business.
It's now almost two years since James left for MA and he's already got a business up and running. He completes his two, three year degrees from Harvard and MIT in the two years and after getting a taste of good money, gets drawn into the good life by Bill and Donald. Having both come from wealthy families they show him a taste of the good life, flying to New York in a private jet and touring three states in style thereafter. James is a quick learner and soon gets into the mix of things. His Stock Alchemy Pro is doing wonders and he has a few Benjamin's to burn! James buys a Lamborghini Reventon in New York and has it shipped and delivered to his apartment in Cambridge, MA.It costs him $1.5 mil. After three weeks of high life he gets back to campus and on arriving to his apartment finds his Reventon parked outside. Jet-lagged and feeling worn out. He walks past his car and goes up to his apartment. He takes the afternoon off and wakes up at about 10pm. After an hour going through his programs and catching up with work he remembers the powerful sports car waiting for him downstairs.
He takes the elevator down and first looks at the car. For five minutes he admires it's curves, lines, shape and design. The keys are in his pocket. He already got a drivers license six months ago, now he just needs to unlock its doors and start its engine. He feels the hood as he walks to the drivers door and unlocks the alarm. He gets in and first feels the leather seats. The door closes itself as he puts the keys in the ignition and first turns on the radio. The first thought that comes to his mind is 'is this really me? From South B to this?!' an a rush of adrenaline shoots through his body like an athlete about to sprint in a race. He starts up the engine and hears it rave. His hands almost automatically put the gear on reverse. The all black Lamborghini slowly reverses out of it's parking and he drives forward. For thirty seconds he drives without realizing his headlights are off. He turns them back on and turns up the music then screams out 'wooooo hoooo!!!!!Yes! Yes! Yes!' as he steps on the gas then remembers he could get in trouble if found over speeding. He drives to a freeway and takes the moment to heart. This car has power, speed and prestige. The feeling he has is that of king that has just taken his throne.