By Faith Nyambeki
Kenya has very few news anchors in the mold of Waihiga Mwaura. He is a gentle soul who shies away from controversies and does his work to perfection. He rose from a sports reporter to a prime time news anchor and won major awards along the way. Interestingly, Waihiga did not even study journalism.
The award winning journalist was born on June 6, 1985. Mwaura lived with two of his siblings and parents in Donholm and later on in Westlands.
Mwaura’s parents were strict and going to church was not an option. The journalist in an interview with a leading news outlet said that his parents instilled in them “the value of education and strong Christian values”.
Growing up, Mwaura was conflicted on which career path to follow. His parents-who are both lawyers-even toyed with the idea of their children pursuing the same profession. But it remained just that and the journalist gives credit to his parents for allowing them to express themselves at a young age.
And he wanted to be many things. At first a pilot, then Dr. Ben Carson released a book that inspired many young men and women into believing they could be neurosurgeons including Waihiga. But this was just a passing flirtation. When the internet craze hit the country, Mwaura was not left behind. He went on to pursue a computer science degree at the Africa Nazarene University.
He knew IT was not his thing after interning in a non governmental organization. At the back of his mind, this was not what he would do for the rest of his life. He took a job as a bank teller after graduating and it was a dull affair. Mwaura impressed as an emcee in church events and a pastor noticed a gift that could be put in good use elsewhere. He kept telling him he should be in the media but he ignored him.
At the age of 25, the journalist quit his job at a local bank. Veteran journalist Ephy Hunja, who worshipped in the same church, took him under his wings and gave him nuggets of surviving in the media. He says that Hunja bought him lunch as he took him through the dos and don’ts.
As he desperately looked for internship in media houses, Mwaura decided to take up acting. He sucked up big time and quit after one season. He said of acting:
“That experience was an eye-opener. I got into it thinking that I would be the next Will Smith, but I left there humbled. Portraying different emotions on cue is hard! I have a deep respect for actors.”
He was surprised he wasn’t kicked out by his parents because to them he-“……..had refused to get a job despite having gone to school to chase my passion,”
After dropping his CVs and doing multiple auditions in different media houses he finally got picked to host an entrepreneurship show known as Zinduka on Citizen TV.
Mwaura did not look back. He went on to join the Power Breakfast show after two seasons in Zinduka. He lasted in the show for two years before worming his way into the sports desk. He took every opportunity that presented itself to learn the ropes of journalism because he did not have formal training.
The news anchor married Joyce Omondi on 18 November 2015. The couple has no children.
Here is his her resume sourced from his website
News Anchor, Reporter & Producer
** September. 2009 – Present, ***
– Hosted a special discussion for BBC Focus on Africa radio on social media and its impact on democracy at the Radio Theatre, Portland Place,London.
– Hosted Citizen Extra, a daily 3-hour news & current affairs show and watched it grow from a station ‘filler’ to a must-watch program with all the latest updates both locally & internationally.
– Focused on aggressive investigative journalism at Citizen TV, which led to an invitation to attend the Africa Investigative Journalism Conference in November 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
– Reported on various local and international events live from our Nairobi studios including 2 Kenyan elections & a Kenyan Supreme court annulment, the Zimbabwe power transfer from Mugabe to Mnagangwa, American politics, Brexit, South African President Jacob Zuma’s exit etc.
– Clinched the inaugural Mo Amin award for an investigative piece on doping in Kenya.The story was also recognized by the World Anti-Doping Agency in Kenya as they warned the Kenyan government against being lax in the fight against doping.
– Awarded the CNN Multichoice award in 2012 for a creative piece on maasai morans who took up cricket in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation & the spread of HIV/Aids.
– Represented Citizen TV at the 5th International Media Training Program hosted by the Turkish Radio Television (TRT) in Antalya in December 2017. Sharpened my knowledge of international politics, the spread of terrorism and global media trends.
– Produced news packages for Citizen TV live on location from the 2016 Olympic Games, 2014 World Cup, 2014 Las Vegas Sevens, 2013 World Cross-Country Games just to name a few.
– Pioneered the text-on-video format on the digital desk at Citizen TV and guided a team of digital video journalists who produced these clips on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms.