Kalekye Mumo, 45, speaks on reinvention and finding the gift of purpose in every season:
Since leaving mainstream radio almost five years ago, what have you been up to?
I got to get back onto TV having previously done one of the most successful game shows in Kenya, The Couples Show, and got into TV talk show hosting on K24 TV with the show Talk Central – while at the same time set up a PR & Events company.
After two years on mainstream TV, I left to delve into the world of digital media with the show Live & Uncut, an interview-based show that initially run-on Facebook Live before moving to YouTube in 2019 under the brand name KM Network.
However, when Covid-19 hit and everything was shut down, I had to put the interviews on hold and later found my way to doing an IG live show that is based on the radio style of hosting called KM Radio.
That aside, I am also a Media Training consultant working with various organisations and currently looking towards creating a radio training program for the youth. I am also a certified Life Coach focused on self-confidence which ties in with being a great communicator.
Was moving from employment to something new difficult or a smooth transition?
After being employed specifically in one place for such a long time, it would be a lie if I said I did not struggle with the transition.
Initially, I would find myself waking up at 4am like clockwork then remember that I didn’t have a morning show to get to.
Another change would have to be the fact that being your own boss and taking up certain responsibilities means, you are it. There is no one to fall back on or expect to hand you a pay check at the end of the month.
The level of discipline it takes when you are self-employed is tremendous. I also quickly learnt that you don’t have to have a packed day to achieve. The value of less is more is very apparent.
What do you love most about self-employment?
I love that I am free to dabble in what moves my heart without looking over my shoulder for the boss to either approve or disapprove my every move. I love being my own time manager and that I have more time for my friends and family.
What has been your lowest moment in your career and how did you overcome?
I think some of the lowest moments have been when the people who are meant to have your back in the work place do not.
There were bosses who did not defend me while they were my immediate line managers and even team mates who went mute because they had more loyalty to the company than their team.
Learning that you are a solo entity with your own ambition and choosing your path is something you need to learn really fast.
When you get a job understand that you only responsible for yourself so be clear about your values and your non negotiables.
Identify your mentors, I prefer these to be people who have known me on a personal level and have seen my growth because they know my true nature and can tell when I am trying to fake my way out and will call me out for it on the spot.
Lastly, as a woman, working in any institution that is predominantly male, you will always have to work two times harder than your male counterparts. Be ready for it and to often not get any credit for it as you pull all the weight.
What has been your experiencing navigating the Nairobi dating scene in your 20s and now in your 40?
I must admit dating in my 20s was sometimes full of uncertainty and total naivety. At that age, I was so trusting and open to people being good from the onset so any guy who was nice to me seemed like “the one”.
Needless to say, that was a lie and I got my heart broken so many times. Dating in my 40s is easier and harder.
Easier when it comes to identifying the jokers, I am no longer naïve so I can spot time wasters from miles but harder because most of the good men are either taken or come with excess baggage.
So, dating late means you need to be ready to take the baggage, share yours and meet each other half way.
To date in my 40s currently means being introduced to guys by people who truly know me and my values and can vouch for the said guy or not dating at all. For me to date, there must be direction, a serious committed monogamous relationship that leads to marriage.
Society always has these misconceived ideas about being single, however, what do you love most about it?
I appreciate my space and the time to get to really know myself. I believe when you are single you need to take the time to know yourself and understand what you truly value.
I have really gotten a lot to do over the past two years where I decided to be intentionally single. I discovered that I thought I needed someone to make me whole while actually I needed to see myself as whole first and this was by building my relationship with God.
I can say that in this time of reflection I believe I am being readied for a solid relationship and there is nothing like being too late with God. My faith tells me that if He put the desire in my heart to be married, He alone will fulfil it. I have no fear.
Are there challenges or negative experiences you have faced because you are unmarried and do not have that title of Mrs whether in the business world or life in general?
There are people who will not take you seriously because you don’t have a tag to a man and more so for not having children. Somehow this is seen as a disability. It is heavily ingrained in our culture but it in no way makes a single woman less whole.
There are occasional fans will taunt me on my social media as if I have nothing to offer because I am unmarried, but I normally term them short sighted for not seeing that having the title does not change the human being I am and what I am able to do or achieve.
Having the title Mrs, though great, would not make me a greater media personality or a business woman. It is only added value if it is with a man who helps me to become a better person.
Looking back on your life, do you have any regrets?
Regrets would mean I didn’t live my life to the fullest. I have lived a colourful life and with it some ups and downs but a life that I am so thankful and grateful for so I would not look at my past with any regrets.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Be yourself. Know who you are; have an idea what you value most and what your message you want to pass through this service, because it is a service when you are imparting information. So, master your craft and be true to who you are.