Anthony Ndiema host of KTN’s powerful gospel show Tukuza, believes everybody has a testimony and that is what he brings out in his show every Sunday.
You recently scooped the Groove Radio Presenter of the Year award for the second year running. How does it feel?
I am truly humbled by such an honour. All glory and honour goes back to God. I am just a vessel that ministers to people God’s love and word. Winning the Groove accolade shows that viewers are watching and listening, relating to our shows, getting inspired and voting.
What other accolades have you scooped during your career?
I have won close to five awards as a presenter and for my shows. Last year, I was a surprise winner of the African Gospel Music Awards, based in London.
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Tukuza is quite a powerful show. What inspired the programme?
Tukuza — that airs every Sunday morning from 9am to 1pm — is an innovative idea because we broadcast live on KTN and Radio Maisha. Before conceptualising the show, we looked at the market and realised there was a gap that needed to be filled. At first, it was a challenge broadcasting the same show on radio and TV, but with time, we won many hearts and were able to convey our vision. The show went on air in February 2011.
Tell us about your childhood and educational background.
I was born and bred in a staunch Christian home in Western Kenya 32 years ago. I am the second born in a family of eight children. After attending Friends School Kamusinga, I joined Kenyatta University (KU) for a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Most of my relatives are engineers and teachers, so I thought I would also head that route. But God had a different path for me.
How did you end up in the media?
For me, joining the media was an unexpected move. I was a student at Kenyatta University when it happened. As one of the student leaders, we were hosting a final year career fair where students got the chance to meet with potential employers.
I noticed that the media group section had few members and I randomly joined in to boost the group numbers. That is how I met my first employer, the Baraka FM manager.
A few months later, my friend and I visited Mombasa and presented ourselves at the Baraka FM station. We were armed with nothing but ambition and confidence, which saw us get hired there and then. We even landed a comedy slot. When Radio Maisha was launched on May 24, 2010, I applied for presenter slot and got the job. The rest is history.
How is the experience working for radio and TV?
It is quite demanding. Besides being the assistant programmes controller, I am a radio and television presenter.
My day kicks off at 3:00am. I wake up, prepare, take breakfast and drive to work in time for my show Safari, which starts at 4:00am and ends at 6:00am on Radio Maisha. Safari is a gospel show, which inspires early risers to a better day. I am usually home by 5pm.
Congrats, I hear you and your wife are expecting a baby. How did you meet her?
Yes we are, and are quite excited. My wife — Chepng’eno Kilel — is due in August. When I met her, I had a girlfriend but things were not going well in the relationship.
Our meeting was quite interesting. My friend Isaac, requested me to come help him help a friend move houses. I had no idea that the friend who was moving was my future wife Chepng’eno. It was love at first sight. When I first spotted her, I was immediately smitten by her beauty and loveable personality. We became tight from day one and in December last year, we tied the knot.
How do you unwind?
We like doing sleep overs with young couples like us. On weekends, we like watching plays at Phoenix Theatre, or taking long drives.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would like to be an independent media practitioner training and mentoring youths on media and life. I also want to continue offering my audience a platform to testify and share about the blessings in their lives.
Your advice to young people who consider you a role model?
Success comes with humility. If God blesses you to greater heights, never let it get into your head. With correct guidance and mentorship, everyone can achieve their goal, but most importantly remember, “the best angle to initiate a project is the try angle”.
Anthony Ndiema: God rescued me from irate Mob
I believe every Christian has a testimony and Tukuza gives people an opportunity to share their experiences. Personal life experiences are great in empowering people and touching souls. Personally, I have suffered a near death experience. I had just got a job in Nairobi, and I lived in Kawangware. On the fateful day in 2008, I had gone to withdraw some money from an ATM along Kenyatta Avenue. I then took a route 46 matatu to Kawangware. On alighting, a man shouted “mwizi!” while pointing at me. Without a warning, a crowd descended on me with blows and kicks. I was confused and in excruciating pain. They left me for the dead. It was about 6.45pm. Luckily, about ten minutes later, a man and a woman heard my groans and came to my rescue. The thugs had left my wallet behind. In a VCT card, I had written a friends number. They called him and summoned a cab. I had been stabbed twice on the back. The knife touched my nerves and the doctor told me I would never walk again. But one day, in my troubled sleep, I experienced a vision where God assured me that I would walk again. Few days later, I started to move my toes. I enrolled for physiotherapy, which I take to date. Slowly I learnt to walk again. Today, I have a slight limp, though sometimes after a long day, it gets painful. I pray for my attackers everyday, hoping they changed their wayward ways.