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Cabu Gah: I love attention

My Man

Cabu Gah

Two people who know you told us to expect anything when coming to meet you. Seems like they were right. We kind of expected someone older. Like 36 years old. Older...? Like how many years? That is eleven years added to my age. But I guess you are not alone. Most people think I am big in size and gruff. A bear-like person. They probably also think I have one of those impossible-to-shut-out voices. They can’t be farther from the truth. I’m 25 years old, and as regular as any average man on the streets of any town in Kenya. Your name, Cabu Gah, it sounds fictitious. Is it really your name? It isn’t. And it is. My birth name is Ken Kabuga Gachie. Cabu Gah is my middle name broken down and written differently. But pronounced as Kabuga not Cabu Gah. My father, is Kenyan. Not the Rwandan fugitive Felicein Kabuga. Absolutely no relation. You went through two high schools. Kegonge Boys High School and Kamiyu Secondary School... Yes I did. My first school was Kegonge Boys. I got expelled from the school over a difference with the administration. What sort of difference...what exactly led to the expulsion? In 2005, everyone in Form Four in Kegonge Boys got a Y in KCSE. I was in Form Three then. We thought it was unfair and hit the streets. A riot. Our destinations were the education offices in Chukah and Runyenjes town. When we came back to school, they called the demonstration a crime and expelled about 50 students who were active during the riot. I happened to be in that list of 50. Rabble-rouser is it? That is what most people know you for... did it start this early? What I do is to say things that people want to say but they don’t. Things that they turn around in their minds and then drop. They think of those things but for the sake of harmony, they choose to be silent about them. Is that so...even when attacking people? Okay, there was that period when most, if not all, of what I wrote was negative. Attacks and harsh words. Now I’m cleaning up. Look, this probably should be tied to how I ended up blogging... Ok. Go on... I never really thought I would be here. At the start, about two years, I was probably jealous of Denis Itumbi (who is a man from my home by the way). I admired his blog posts. But I would hate on anything he wrote. I would read his articles and search for any negative aspect then write my comments. Whatever thing he wrote, I had to get something negative about it. And I can be really good at saying negative things. I can come up with some pretty nasty and twisted things. People loved my comments on his articles. Was this a conscious decision or did it just happen? It was conscious. I was doing it for attention. I had decided to first go negative before cleaning up my work. From commenting on Itumbi’s work, I started writing blogs for different platforms. My posts were negative and harsh and vicious. So basically, you used negativity to get prominence? Look, I love attention. I’m an artiste. If you are an artiste and do not love attention, I think you need to go home. At all costs, even when your reputation and that of others who come under your pen are at stake? In art, you have to be different. This is my identity, my style. I speak uncomfortable truths. I believe I am really good. I pick your weaknesses and use them to rip you apart. I think I am the social media Howard Stern in Kenya. You believe you are good... You sound too self-assured, even self-exalting... OK. Let’s say that I am wrong. What about those who awarded me the Most Influential Blogger award last year at Xtreem Awards? What about the ones who have nominated me for this year’s Social Media Awards (SOMA), sponsored by OLX for the Most Influential Facebook Personality award? What about my 15,000 Facebook fans? Are they also wrong? There is this notice pinned on the wall in your office. ‘Accuracy and Reliability’. Some people dismiss your work as based on unfounded claims... Do you ever look at the notice on your wall before posting a story? I do. And I do my research, proper research. In all, I can say that I am 90 per cent accurate on my blog posts. What people need to understand is that I’m a social commentator. Not a news reporter. Ghalfa! has writers who report. I work for Ghafla! too, but I comment. What I write is my opinion. Not everybody can agree that my opinion is 100 per cent right or accurate. But you do rub people the wrong way. Has anyone of them taken you to court? Court, no. But fans of specific people have threatened me. Is it true, that you once formed part of a slapstick comedy crew from Embu, performing in Embu language? I’ve done a bunch of things, you may be shocked. Straight off high school, yes I did. The group made a CD called Makothe, which in Embu means something stupid. My screen name was Mvengero. We sold a tidy number of CDs. In 2008, after coming to Nairobi, I recorded a rap track at Jomino ENT (where Kenrazy, DNA and Kaya also did their thing). I called myself Gavva and recorded a song called Prime Minister. You can check it out on YouTube. That sounds like a political song... what exactly was going on in your life then? Kenya was political at that time with the 2007 elections and the violence and anxiety still fresh. I was just tapping into those emotions. The song is a party anthem though. I saw myself as a rap prime minister then. What happened to the rap career? This was about the time that I got hijacked into blogging and social media activity... I still rap... You have a twin brother, who is he? Cool dude, my brother. Jim Gachie. And another brother whom you lost early this year... Yes man. An older brother. He was called George Gachie. Lived in Embu and worked in the Matatu industry. And he loved his bottle. But his bottle, according to his financial ability, was not the safe kind. On May 6, when 69 people passed on in Embu County after consuming illicit brew, he was among them. What is your fondest memory of George? We were cool. Tight like thugs. I remember him as the most humble person in our family. The one who everyone was glad to meet. What of your parents? My father is hands on, with strong views and opinions. He is well-read and articulate. I think he is loud too, and can’t be ignored. My mother is a pastor. And finally, where does that leave you on matters religion- taking into account the nature of your current work? I’m a very religious Protestant. Given a chance I would lead a spiritual revolution. Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Embu Does blogging pay your bills? It does. I blog for Ghalfla! and get a monthly salary for that. Then there are event appearances that I make and get paid for the appearances. Sometimes I MC at those events too. I also do product promotions. That sounds like a substantial sum… Maybe not…I worry about when I will be able to buy a car. But it is sufficient enough for me to hang out in a pub where beer goes for Sh200 bob Sh600. Are you dating? No. Not at the moment.    

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