I started my newspaper career in 1977 as a correspondent for The Standard newspaper in Nairobi. My first formal employment was with the Stellascope Group which published the political magazine, The Weekly Review, the Sunday broadsheet, The Nairobi Times and the children’s magazine Rainbow. I wrote regularly for the latter two and only very rarely for the former.
I have since worked for the Nation Media Group and The Standard again, this time as a full-time feature writer and sports columnist. As a sports reporter, I covered all major international competitions including the All-Africa, Commonwealth and Olympic Games. I won the Journalist of the Year three times in two categories – Sports in 1980 and 1984 and Features in 2000.
I took my boxing documentary film, The Last Fight to the 5th African International Film Festival in Luxor, Egypt in 2016. The film also screened in the Zanzibar International Film Festival the same year. In 2014, I published two major books, The Kenya Air Force Story: 1964-2014 and Kenya Navy: A 50-Year Voyage. Alongside the latter, I also produced a documentary film, Kenya Navy at 50.
My latest book, Kick-Off, traces the history of Kenya’s football from the 1920s to the present. A series of children’s books is also in the works for release later in the year.
Where it all begun
This was my first letter of appointment. (It must be the only time I didn’t mind a spelling mistake on my name). Before this, I had only worked as a correspondent for The Standard from January, 1977. Of course, I signed and returned a copy of this letter to Mr Ng’weno.
Wide-eyed cub reporter going through The Nairobi Times in the Stellascope newsroom, 1978.
I am in the production department, which we called the paste-up department. I am supervising the paste-up man, Abu. Laughing with satisfaction is another paste-up artist, Kombo. Behind Kombo is production supervisor and proof reader Harrison Maganga. In the background is Gilbert, paste-up artist. The copy we sent from the editorial department was typeset. It then went for physical cutting and pasting using a knife and cow-gum. Today, we just click.
I was one of out of only four reporters who made it to Nation House in the wake of the 1982 attempted coup against President Daniel arap Moi. The memo of commendation from my boss speaks for itself. Peter Mwaura is today the Public Editor of the Nation Media Group.
Off The Pitch
Off the Pitch was a famous sports column of the 1980s. Some people used to call me by that name. My dropped tie was a fashion statement.
Dagoretti country, 1977. Surinder Thathi, an ace motor rallying navigator and future vice-president of the International Motor Sports Federation, took me for a spin and we made a U-turn at 120 kph in this Rothmans-sponsored machine. Surinder snapped the picture to appreciate my courage.
In 1988, I scaled the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro with a group from Outward Bound USA. In appreciation of the feat, John F. Raynolds, III, their president, sent me this book.
After winning a third Journalist of the Year Award (Feature Writer), I decided to retire from entering the competition and focus on training up-coming journalists. Consequently, I set up the East Africa School of Journalism. The Class of 2004 features in the cover of the school’s Academic Handbook. To give the cubs a hands-on experience, I started a college newspaper, The Ngong Road Post and did a lot of commercial magazine production work including founding Majeshi Yetu, the official magazine of the Kenya Defence Forces.
As a veteran of 40 years, I take The Last Fight to the fifth African International Film Festival in Luxor, Egypt’s city of antiquity, (left) and cover the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for Agencia Publica of Sao Paulo and the Nation Media Group in Nairobi.
Mentoring the new generation. Pick me out, if you can, from these young members of the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya. I was a speaker during a seminar for them in Eldoret in January 2017.