Nairobi News


Seven things you probably didn’t know about Collymore

For nearly 10 or so years, Bob Collymore, who died on Monday at his home in Nairobi, has been the face of profit-making telco giant Safaricom.

Until the time of his death, Collymore was arguably the most well-known CEO to the Kenyan public.

But while many Kenyans readily recognized his face and voice, there are a few things about that man that the public may not have been privy to.

Her are seven interesting things about the life and times of Collymore:

1. Citizenship and early life – Born Robert William Collymore, the deceased Guyanese-born Briton stayed with his grandmother in Guyana until he was 16 years old. He then moved to the United Kingdom to live with his mother.

2. Early hustler – Collymore started making money his own money at the tender age of 12 years. As a pre-teen he would make jewelry and art from shells before selling them. When he moved to the UK he landed his first job at 16 years and worked in a departmental store as an office boy. From his earnings he would pay for his bills.

3. Educational background – Collymore never went to university. After finishing high school at Selhurst High School, he was offered a place at Warwick University but he turned down the offer because he was ineligible for funding.

“I wanted to go to university and I disliked not having gone and for some years after I wished I’d gone. “Now it doesn’t matter, (but) I would always advise a young person to go to the best university you can find,” he once said about his educational background.

4. ‘No love’ for Kenyan food – Although he lived in Kenya for more than 10 years, Collymore did not like Kenyan food. He actually preferred Chinese and Indian cuisine.

5. Marriages and divorces – Collymore was married three times and divorced twice. In an interview with Sunday Nation in August 2018, he talked at length about his previous marriages.

“The first marriage was a mistake for sure. I was too young — in my 20s. The second one was not a mistake, what was a mistake was how we conducted it,” he said during that interview.

In April 2016, Collymore married Wambui Kamiru at an invite-only wedding which was held at his private residence in Kitisuru, Nairobi.

He lives behind his wife and four children.

6. Hobbies and alternative career – Collymore was known for his great love for books of different genres. He also loved flying helicopters and seeing the world. He would spend upwards of Sh35,000 an hour hiring a chopper. Collymore would definitely have been a painter, if he was not working in the telecommunication industry. From the age of 12 years, he loved art and jewelry-making.

7. National decoration – In 2012, Collymore was awarded the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS). The award is in recognition of outstanding or distinguished services rendered to the nation in various capacities and responsibilities and is given by the president of Kenya.