Kenyan entertainers get together for Big Kev
Hundreds of Kenyan entertainers are gearing up for a Sh10,000 per-attendant dinner next Friday night to raise funds for the medication of ailing events organiser Kevin Ombajo, popularly known as Big Kev, who lost his eyesight late last year.
Big Kev, the founder of Tru Blaq Events that has over the years organised major concerts in Kenya, is currently recovering from his 8th brain surgery. He has had a recurrent head tumour since 2010.
Due to the many surgeries he had undergone by last year, he lost his eyesight in what he described as the drying up of the nerves that transmit light from the eyes to the brain.
“The doctors call it optic atrophy. They say that the optic nerves dried up,” Big Kev wrote on Facebook on December 3, 2016 when he announced losing his eyesight.
As the entertainer adjusts to the new condition, fellow entertainers have decided to lend a helping hand.
Friday’s invite-only event in Nairobi will be an industry coming together “to have fun and to celebrate him” — according to Big Kev’s long-time friend and State House communications official Thomas Kwaka, commonly known as Big Ted.
Mr Martin Mulwa, an events organiser, said that at least 500 people are expected to attend the dinner where the costs for the venue, logistics and equipment have been waived by various participating individuals.
“We convinced the family that we wanted to do it,” said Mr Mulwa, the general manager of the Events Managers’ Association of Kenya where Big Kev is the chairman.
“We are doing this as an industry. And we’ve received a lot of support from the public. On the night, we shall release an M-Pesa paybill number where anybody can donate from as little as Sh10 to whatever amount they would want to donate to the cause,” Mr Mulwa said, adding that the minimum target is Sh20 million.
Big Ted expressed confidence that the entertainers would meet the target.
“He is a people’s person. I’ve not found anyone who doesn’t love Kevin,” said Big Ted, who works at the State House as the director in charge of State branding and events.
Big Kev, who entered the music scene in 1995 as a gospel singer, has wowed many fans by his determination in the face of his ailment. His Facebook page is updated regularly with his thoughts as he soldiers on.
His New Year message, for instance, was a candid reflection of his many battles.
“I’m exhausted physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and financially. I know this will disappoint many of you but I do not plan to give up. It is just how I feel. Instead I have decided to count my blessings,” he wrote.
Reflecting on Big Kev’s composure, Big Ted told the Sunday Nation: “He is a fighter. He has fought so many other battles even when we were growing up, in school and in showbiz.”
BIG KEV – BIG NAME
In his heyday, Big Kev was a celebrated events organiser in Kenya, planning big shows through Tru Blaq Events.
He was such a big name that in 2010 he was reported as having considered going for political office.
Eyeing a political office was quite ambitious of the man whose launch to the entertainment industry happened in 1995 through a gospel group called Crowning the Lord in Praise. It also had Big Ted, Circuite, Jerry Okungu among others.
In the festive season of 2011, Big Kev was hotcake in organising end-year parties. He oversaw the Seven Wonders of Carnival at Nairobi’s Carnivore restaurant and another one in Mombasa’s Big Tree Hotel.
In 2013, one notable event that his firm organised was a party in Nakuru sponsored by vodka maker, Smirnoff.
But as he rose, a tumour in his head saw him undergo a number of operations.
“I had a brain tumour for the last 10 years and I had all the symptoms of one, like experiencing moments of paralysis and migraines, but I always ignored them and continued with life,” he told Buzz magazine in June 2010.