WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…
We had gathered at the family seating room, cuddled around the television watching the national broadcaster, KBC. This was a special occasion; the Muungano National Choir came on, belching our favourite tune, Kaung’a Yachee.
You see, Kaung’a Yachee means ‘sin has come’ in my Taita language, everyone sings along to this song, this day, however, was special. My Dad, was part of this choir, in that moment, the choir had been reduced to one man. One man who was singing his heart out, and that was my father.
I was nine years old but that moment I saw love, passion, and commitment for his craft. I was taken by it. I remember screaming at the TV the entire time, telling my father, “you’re on TV Daddy.”
He beamed and smiled at me so lovingly we were all so proud of him. Mr. Kala Ikutu, my father, was the training assistant and chief advisor of the Muungano National Choir, he sang bass. Watching him that night in his element, changed my young mind forever, and for the better.
Muungano choir contributed to the rich heritage and history of our country and its different sounds and voices.
I have had so many questions to ask my Dad following this event that stuck in my mind. He was away on a world tour, his tour involved circuits in the United States, France, Canada, Finland, Holland and Belgium. He told us he was touring with the choir but my brother and I had no idea exactly how important or impactful it would all be, we were kids and more interested about the goodies and presents he would come back with and all the stories from the great beyond.
In my curiosity I remember asking only one question, repeatedly. I asked him, “Daddy, how can I be like you? I want to be great like you”. His response, “You can be greater than me”. I believed him; he was sincere and meant every word.
I carried that moment with me as the biggest assurance and validation I could ever get and receive from a force so great in my life. Since then, my father taught me everything I know and has been my biggest cheerleader.
Looking back, I can confidently say, I am blessed to not only experience my father’s prowess but I also witnessed the greatness of my uncle, the founder and director of the Muungano National Choir, the late Hon. Boniface Mghanga.
Muungano National Choir’s influence grew in the west after their tour, becoming internationally acclaimed. They were celebrated and honoured for their craft, tunes, and passionate performances. Their delivery and the use of different dialects of various Kenyan tongues, was particularly a favourite of mine and a crowd puller, it exemplified African excellence.
I trace my journey to television through these moments, like my father, I have always wanted to take my gifts and that of my country and continent to the world.
I listened to a lot of music and programs that portrayed the diversity of Africa after that, from Urtna, to Generations and our very own Vioja Mahakamani. These were Kenyans and Africans making a mark and pushing the envelope in ways that changed African history and its perspective forever. And I was strongly convicted to be among that narrative that unifies us all.
A thought is a powerful thing, I got into the Kenyan media industry with one thing in mind, creating impact on a global scale and I promised myself that I would do my best and be bold enough to work towards it.
It feels like yesterday when I look back on when I started back in 2008. More than ten years later, still on this career path, the narrative is only more important.
When I got approached to be one of the hosts of Whats Good Africa, an arts and entertainment magazine show that highlights diverse creative talent while exploring all aspects of hip hop culture in Africa, a content partnership between Whats Good Networks and its sister company, award winning content studio; Whats Good Studios, based here in Nairobi and US based REVOLT TV, I was beyond elated.
That moment reminded me as a nine year old watching my Dad on a national scale, only that this time, it was me, on a global scale pushing the African story further and deeper.
My co-host, Nick Ndeda and I have spent cringe worthy moments in front of camera trying to craft the best fit for our global audience, but the bulk of the work is the crew that has had to figure how every frame is so important because through those frames, our country and indeed, our continent is seen and judged.
Whats Good Africa has taken us out of our own comfort zones and into new realities that demanded a clear picture and perspective into our narratives.
Telling our stories and showcasing our processes is so important. Let no one tell you that you can’t have impact in your own way, you are beyond able and capable and the show, Whats Good Africa, has made that reality more tangible and real…like they say, we are our ancestors wildest dream.
I am my ancestors wildest dreams.
~ Remmy Majala