By MUkurima X Muriuki
Top 7 radio hosts of the 90’s and early 00’s
7. Nick Okanga Naftaly
He had a unique way of reaching the heart of heart of a listener. His music selection was incomparable, at least in my world. He made me fall in love with musicians like Sukuma bin Ongaro, Tshala Muana and others, even though i couldn’t grasp their language. In addition, his show “Salamu kwa Vijana” which later transitioned to “Pole kwa Kazi” connected many Kenyans during the rush hour, and made us all feel part of a country called Kenya.
6. Leonard Mambo Mbotela
He was rich in historical anecdotes. Call him the disciplinarian-in-chief, if you did not learn a virtue or two from the eloquent Leonard, then you were born in this millennium and we can do nothing about it. Leonard used every minute he was on air to either teach, inspire or critique. Only thing I disliked about him was his distaste for Gor Mahia.
5. Elinah Shiveka Sifuna
The first female radio anchor with an all round knowledge of sports. At a time when sports commentary and analysis was male dominated and oriented, Elinah curved out her own niche, and boy, an influential niche it was! Her analysis was always spot on. I believe later day female sports journalists like Evelyn Watta and Michelle Dee Katami found a comfort level in the arena because of the foundation set by Elinah. She was also the carburetor that fueled the engine of KBC Idhaa ya taifa’s salamu za Adhuhuri. Her signature intro was “Jongea Jongea.”
4. Omari Abdalla
Omari was the voice behind the “Everyday Paka Pawa Show.” One of my must-listen-to radio programs. And he was good. Really good!
3. Caroline Mutoko
Ndinda Mutoko’s entry into radio world meant an end to radio conservatism and the beginning of a more liberal and a no-holds-barred radio. She brought an aura of ‘positive-controversy’ to the industry, and this was the case for she beseeched listeners to get out of their comfort zones. And you know at that time it was rare for someone to challenge the collective thinking capacity of Kenyans! She has demonstrated over time that her skills-set are way above Kenyan radio.
2. Khadija Ali
Oh Ms. Ali. She was the radio god of the 90’s. If I ever had dreams of being a journalist, a radio one at that, I wanted to mould it in the way and form showcased by Khadija Ali. She was smooth. Her humor was contagious. I believe she made those salaams guys like Mbeembe wa Mbeebe, Sura Mbili Kiango Momanyi, Kefa Mbone K, Major Aggrey Lijoodi and others popular with her ability to bring up exciting conversations with them. She would ask them: “na ujumbe?”
1. Tie: Elizabeth Obege and Fred Machoka, the blackest man in black Africa.
Obege’s voice alone makes her top my list. Her 2002 ordeal relative to the song Unbwogable also make her enviable to anyone who has ever clamored for an unbiased.
Who doesn’t love Fred Machoka? Maybe Arsenal fans! But damn, he is a freaking genius!