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SK Macharia: Billionaire Who Rose From A P3 Teacher, Owned Tissue Company To Founding Leading Media House In Kenya

Samuel Kamau Macharia (Born in 1942), popularly known as SK Macharia, is a renowned Kenyan businessman and founder of the leading private media company in Kenya, Royal Media Services. The 80 year old was born and raised in Ndakaini village, Murang’a county, he has four siblings and lost his mother at a very young age. 

The media mogul was born and raised in Murang’a where he attended primary and secondary school. Upon completing the Kenya African Preliminary Education (KAPE), he taught as an untrained teacher where he earned Sh8 monthly.

Thereafter, he trained as a P3 teacher at Kahuhia Teachers Training College. After applying for the Kennedy Airlifts, he was successful but the family could not afford Ksh4,000 air ticket.

They only managed to raise Ksh1200. He had to take the longer route by travelled by road to Libya for two months before boarding a ship to England. While in England, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Seattle Pacific University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting from University of Washington. He also earned a Master of Arts Degree in Accounting and became a Certified Public Accountant.


On returning to Kenya, he worked as a public servant before he called it quits to found Madhupaper tissue company in 1976. It was the only tissue paper manufacturer in Kenya. It’s brand ‘Rosy’ became a household name and remains so to date. In 1989, he sold the tissue paper company to an investor for Ksh250 million. 

He plunged into the world of media and established Royal Media Services. Citizen TV and Radio Citizen, the flagship stations of the brand grew to become the leading media house in Kenya.

Today, Citizen TV attracts the highest number of audience across the country and Royal Media Services has opened a number of stations including Bahati FM, Mulembe FM, Ramogi FM, Hot 96, Vuuka FM, Musyi FM, Egesa FM, Chamgei FM, Inooro FM and Inooro TV.

Amidst the success, RMS has had its own share of problems, especially with the government. In 2000, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), blocked the station’s frequencies in some regions and in 2013, the commission blocked six RMS transmissions. 

The media mogul has investments in other sectors including banking and finance, real estate and Agriculture among others.

Today, SK Macharia is one of the wealthiest men in Kenya. In 2012, he appeared in Forbes’ magazine list of top 10 African dollar millionaires to watch out for and made the list of African Report’s 50 most influential Africans the following year. He has also won some awards and recognition, which are:

  • 2015 Eastern Africa Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Lifetime Award
  • Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nairobi. 

Personal Life

Samuel Macharia married Purity Gathoni Macharia, who is the daughter of former Kenyan Cabinet Minister Njeru Githae and Syracuse University professor Micere Githae Mugo. Together, they had six children, four boys and two girls. His son, John Gichia Macharia, died in a tragic road accident in 2018.

SK Macharia Biography, Career, Family And Property Row With Grandson
John Macharia Loved Speed And It Was Not The First Time He Was Involved In Accident Image/Courtes

Property Row With Grandson

SK Macharia grandson, Adam Kamau Macharia, moved to court to stop his grandfather from evicting him from his late father’s property valued at kes1.2 billion. The property in Loresho is under Macharia and his wife Serah Njeri Macharia administration.

SK Macharia Biography, Career, Family And Property Row With Grandson
SK Macharia son was a speed Freak Image/Courtesy

According to court records, SK Macharia had taken full control of his son’s business and the grandson and his mother were at risk of being evicted through third parties “from the said house…”

“At the time of my father’s demise, he was residing at the Loresho property and I still reside therein to date with my mother, Lisa Anyango Amenya,” reads the documents.

“The applicant, Adam Kamau Macharia, is a son and the only child to the deceased, and hence the sole dependent of the Estate herein, whereas Dr SK Macharia is the father of the deceased and he is not a dependent of the estate….”