SNAPPY 7 – Nimrod Taabu: Journalism was not my first calling
Nimrod Taabu Mwagamoyo is an eloquent reporter at NTV. Apart from anchoring news in Swahili he can also do reports in English. Perhaps what most viewers don’t know is that journalism was not his first choice after high school.
In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News, Nimrod speaks about his career and gives snippets of his life.
1. Give us a brief history about yourself – I come from a family of six, two parents and four siblings. My big brother is a chef and my twin sister is a nurse at Kenyatta National Hospital while my younger sister lives abroad with her family. I am three or five minutes older than my twin sister. I’ll be turning 38 in September, God willing. I’m a husband and a father of two wonderful boys. I’ve been a journalist for the past 17 years.
2. Growing up did you think you would be a journalist – Growing up I looked up to my father and I had no idea what I wanted to be. I think that was a big mistake on my part not knowing what to do in life. My first choice was the hotel industry and I applied for admission at Utalii Collage three times unsuccessfully. Back then to get to Utalii was not easy so I went back to the farm and spent more than a year there farming with my father. A relative one day came and told me to apply for admission to Mass Communication school, which I did, and the rest you can see now. I also did try to become a footballer but that didn’t go so well.
3. Why Swahili anchor – Growing up we used to be punished for getting a Swahili word wrong by our parents. All through school I scored A’s in Swahili. Moreover, I’m more comfortable speaking Kiswahili than English. I had to learn English after I was told that if I was to get a job and survive in Nairobi I had to be able to speak it well.
4. Tell us how marriage has transformed you and can you cook – I never dated during my teenage life. So one day I sat down and planned out what I wanted to do and what I wanted to become as a family man. Everything changes when you get married because you have to do everything together. Not only that, when you have two sons you have to teach them the ways of life. I have another son who just turned three months last weekend, my eldest is now three years old. My fist born is exactly like me, he’s catching up fast, he’s somewhat cunning, and he’s just a bliss to look at.
On my first date with my wife when I invited her to my house, I cooked spaghetti which was the easiest. I threw in some vegetables, sausages, ham and what I did looked presentable but the process was a little weird. To me she was impressed and she liked it and didn’t throw up. I do love chapati, beans and fish all cooked in coconut.
5. What’s your style and are you more of a boxer or briefs kind of man – That’s a tough one, but I’m more of a briefs guy, because they make you feel more comfortable and will keep everything together unlike boxers which are uncomfortable in trousers. At work we have to wear suits and look presentable, but when I’m done I switch to tee shirts and jeans and also shorts. When I’m not working I let my guard down and I like to go out and party.
6. What are the challenges you have faced and your take on Kenyan media industry – I can say the Kenyan media is very robust and one of the best in East and Central Africa. It’s a fact that we enjoy a lot of freedom and we are able to expose or tell a lot of stories. We can attack the government and be able to push them to change a number of things. To us that is a very big thing. Some media houses in Africa can’t do what we do here in Kenya.
Telling a story in some parts of Kenya is not easy. You will go to some remote areas and find people who can’t speak Swahili or English and they have never seen a camera before in their lives. Just trying to tell their story is difficult. Once we went to do a story and they asked us if we had been sent by the government to bring them food. To me that’s a challenge.
I also remember one time when we went to Baragoi after the massacre of security forces. We had to visit the scenes where they were killed and we had to go alone because the community doesn’t work well with the police. Sometimes it’s dangerous but I love doing what I do and I will keep doing it.
7. What’s next for you and any advice to any aspiring journalists – For now I haven’t thought of doing anything other than be a journalist. But saying that, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have anything else to do, but it has to go hand in hand with my work. I like farming which I do that with my folks back at home.
There are people who look at the television and say that I want to be like so and so, to me that is the wrong notion. My advice to them is try to be better than them. In order to grow the profession someone has to come and do something better. The young lads who are seeing us to today, I hope they can come and say that we are competing with you and we can do better than you are doing right now. The day I will hear that, then I will surrender and pass the baton to them.