Reuben Kigame: 'I lost my eyesight while having dinner'
By BY ERIC LUNGAI
| May 9th 2014
|Gospel music artist Reuben Kigame. [PHOTO: COURTESY]|
BY ERIC LUNGAI
Nairobi, Kenya: To many Gospel music lovers, Reuben Kigame is a household name. The award-winning Gospel music artiste who was feted by former President Mwai Kibaki for his exemplary work in the industry, says his visual handicap has never been a barrier to his life's ambitions.
“My early difficult life strengthened me to be what I am today. I love singing for the Lord because of the love He has bestowed upon me,” he says.
He is a christian leader, musician, inspirational speaker, media personality and political activist whose life and work has touched the hearts of millions in Africa and other continents.
His music is used in churches all over the world and his radio broadcasts viewed as a gift to the modern church especially in Africa.
He recalls how he discovered he had lost his sight: “I remember one evening after mum blessed our dinner at home, I reached out for the plate and missed it. This shocked me and everyone who was present at the dinner table,” he says.
He was later to discover that he had lost his sight because of a cataract attack which was detected late due to poor medical facilities in the area where he grew up.
“Despite my visual disability, I am so thankful that my parents and siblings did not treat me the way other children living with disability in my country are treated. This is probably the reason for my great confidence and courage in life,” he says of his situation.
His love for music sprouted at a tender age. He says that he mostly wrote songs, and did the musical arrangements for the band he started.
Having passed the Certificate of Primary Education exams well in 1980, he proceeded to the Salvation Army High School for the Blind in Thika, 1981-1986, then joined Kenyatta University in 1987-1990 and graduated with a Bachelor of Education with a major in History, Philosophy and Religious Studies.
“I resigned from teaching in 1994 to start outreach programme. I first worked with Kenya Youth For Christ and then I established Word of Truth Ministries; an organisation that engages in friendly dialogue with critics and opponents of Christianity,” he says.
Having been brought up in a poor family, Kigame notes that he was hardened by his parents’ attitude to life.
“We were brought up under a very harsh economic environment because my father worked as a long-distance bus driver. My mum literally took care of the family single-handedly through subsistence farming,” he says.
The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation was to discover his talents in singing and speaking and began to invite him regularly for ministry at their religious broadcast department.
Kigame’s music recording journey began in 1987 when he recorded his first album, What a Mighty God We Have.
His second album was recorded shortly after during his visit to Germany in the late. To date, he has released 20 albums, the last one, Raw Emotions, released in 2011.
“I briefly worked with Radio Citizen in 2001 while the station was still new and wrote jingles for them and joined Family Media to present a daily show at Family FM, which I did for one year,” says Kigame.
He has worked at Bibilia Husema and briefly volunteered at Kameme FM.
Kigame was also instrumental in the launch of Hope FM in Nairobi and worked there as a presenter.
He finally set up Fish FM which began to broadcast in 2006.
On Mashujaa Day in 2010, Kigame was awarded a Head of State award, the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) in recognition of his contribution to Kenya’s media and music.
“It was a great honour for the President to fete me for the tireless job that I have been doing in the music industry over the years,” he says.
Kigame hopes to further his passion for music by inspiring those who are new in the industry.
“My journey into music has been a divine call. And I hope to make an even greater impact into the lives of more people,” he says.
Born on March 13, 1966, in East Bunyore, Vihiga County, Reuben Kigame unfortunately lost his sight at the age of 3 years.
Kigame joined Kibos School for the Blind in Kisumu, aged 7. The boarding environment, however, introduced him to other boys and girls who were blind, but exhibited diverse talents and abilities.
He is married to Julie Alividza and the couple is blessed with four children; three daughters and a son.
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