Meet the Kenyan who became the first African to head BBC Africa

August 18, 2018
Collins Ogutu
for Chams Media Digital

A career in teaching did not satisfy Joseph Warungu’s passion, he needed a lot more. Warungu loved everything broadcast and he wanted it so badly. In 1985, he began his career as a radio news caster on voluntary basis at the then only broadcaster in Kenya,Voice of Kenya now KBC. At the time, he was also training as a teacher. That is how his journey to the helm of BBC Africa began. But first, he had to overcome a lot of hurdles in the process.

“I remember doing a number of voice and screen tests and every time I knew I had done well but would be told tape is missing… come back another time. That journey went on for a long time but when Cornelius Nyamboki came in, formerly of Presidential Press Unit, he is the one who opened the door for me," Warungu says.

Also on Daring Abroad: A story of Kenyan girl striving to change status quo in a prestigious college in Atlanta, Georgia

Warungu's resilience paid off and he was tested for radio. And it is from that moment that his journey to becoming a revered African journalist began.

"I passed the screen test but they said I am too young for TV. I made a bit of noise but it was a blessing in disguise and my advise to journalists, start with radio," Warungu adds.

Chams Media founder and CEO Alex Chamwada sat down with Joseph Warungu who has since then left the BBC and is engaged in teaching and media training across Africa. He pours his heart out on the journey, failed attempts, achievements, regrets and how working abroad changes people.

Watch the inspiring story on the video attached.


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