By Prudence Minayo
Most Kenyans at some point have watched DJ Afro’s movies. He is by far the most famous movie commentator in Kenya. In fact, in some areas, a group of people meet up and pay a small amount of cash to watch a DJ Afro movie. The movies are fun and engaging with his humorous voice coming through the screen. This has made it possible for people in Kenya and even Tanzania to watch and have knowledge of how a movie is flowing, even if it is in a language they do not understand.
His real name is James Muigai. DJ afro is his stage name. As he grew in popularity, some started copying his stage name and even using it to form Facebook pages. Therefore, to distinguish himself, he added some words to his name, DJ Afro Amigos AKA Kimoda.
DJ Afro is a very private man. He has never shared details about his family in any interviews he has done. The place he went to school is also still a mystery.
At a time when most people were not even aware that they could translate movies for a living, DJ Afro began doing it. It was a very unique idea coined by an equally unique person. He has done this job for over 14 years, he marked his 10th year in 2016. His journey to fame was not an easy one. Like most successful people he too struggled.
“ Ten years ago, we could not record a voice over due to lack of equipments, ”he said. “I had to commentate live in a video shows in Kiserian and Rongai on the outskirts of Nairobi. These shows were very popular then,” he told the Daily Nation.
At one point, someone called him out for lying which led to the drying up of his gigs. This was very difficult for him as he struggled so much to get gigs which prompted him to move to Nakuru.
While in Nakuru, he had no equipment of his own.
“ When I moved to Nakuru I had nothing apart from my talent and passion. This friend offered me a recording and a TV set at a small fee,” DJ Afro told Daily Nation.
He saved up for a year and managed to buy his own equipment. Commentating on a movie is not an easy task.
“I usually wake up very early in the morning to watch movies. I can watch up to ten movies before I decide which one to work on, based on my intended audience, ”he said.
In an interview with Gikuyu TV, he also added that sometimes he enters the studio at 6 in the morning only to leave at midnight having worked on one movie alone.
The witty man credited his success to God. By commentating on movies, he has managed to land various MC gigs in both Kenya and Tanzania.
His movies are being broadcasted by Gikuyu TV after most stations rejected his request to broadcast them.
The man is not worried about copyright. He feels that the actors should even thank him as he has made them popular in Kenya.
In 2016, he celebrated ten years as a movie commentator in Afraha Stadium, Nakuru. The celebration was to thank God for helping him achieve success and featured various musicians from Kenya and Tanzania.
After taking his time to work on a movie, he sells it at shs60 per recording. However, the moment he sells one movie, others pirate it and sell it for shs5. This means that after all his hard work, he ends up with very little from the movie. However, he said it was okay since his movies are also able to earn other people their daily bread.
In 2018, he caught the attention of Kenya Films and Classification Board (KFCB). The CEO, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua was not happy with the crude language used in most of his movies. While the matter was being looked into, his movies were suspended with Gikuyu TV being ordered not to air them. DJ Afro accepted his mistake and added that some of the movies being circulated were some of his past works that have been reproduced by others. The ban was lifted after discussions with the board and his movies still air on Gikuyu TV.