Munene Nyaga, popularly known as ‘Nyama Mbadala,’ is a prominent journalist who has made a significant impact in the media space in Kenya.
He earned the nickname for positioning his career as an alternative to the traditional media content that listeners were accustomed to.
In this article, WoK looks at the journey of this legendary media personality that continues to engage Kenyans on Citizen TV today.
Munene was born in Makadara, Nairobi, after his family moved to the city. In 1977, they relocated to Racecourse, near Kariokor. Due to financial constraints, Munene attended Racecourse Primary School instead of Starehe Primary School.
During his primary school years, he actively participated in acting classes, showcasing his talent and passion for performance arts.
Munene excelled academically, earning admission offers from prestigious institutions such as Mang’u High School, Jamhuri High School, and Strathmore.
Education and Linguistic Passion
While many of Munene’s friends from Racecourse were called to join Jamhuri High School, his father, Mzee Nyaga, decided against it due to the school’s track record at the time. Instead, Munene joined Strathmore School, where he developed a deep passion for Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya.
Munene formed a close bond with his Kiswahili teacher, Mr. Mwagona, and his exceptional skills in the language impressed his peers who came from more affluent backgrounds.
After graduating in 1997, Munene took a two-year break before attending Maseno University to pursue a degree in Education.
Although initially interested in ICT, his grades led him to fall in love with Linguistics, particularly English and Literature.
Nevertheless, his affection for Kiswahili remained, and he often attended lessons simply to listen and expand his knowledge.
After completing his education, Munene took up a teaching position at White Cottage Primary School in Gachie Kihara, Kenya.
He taught there for one and a half terms, earning a salary of KSH 8,000.
However, he eventually left the position when the school owner complained that his salary was too high and could be used to hire two diploma teachers instead.
This experience marked a turning point in Munene’s career path.
Breakthrough in the Media Industry
In 1999, Munene responded to a newspaper job advertisement requesting CVs and demos for new stations that Nation Media Group was planning to open.
Unaware of the specific requirements, he recorded his CV in English and Kiswahili. During the interview, he discovered his cassette on the table and was asked to repeat what was on it.
Impressed by his skills, Munene was offered a job at Nation FM, alongside renowned presenters such as Maina Kageni and Bernard Otieno. Nation FM, at that time, was the primary uptown radio station in Nairobi, catering mainly to listeners within the city.
Dual Role and Impactful Presence
At Nation FM, Munene had a dual role as an English presenter on Easy FM and as a Kiswahili presenter on Q FM. Due to his love for Kiswahili, he hosted the show ‘Kamusi Changamka.’
It was during this time that Munene crossed paths with the legendary Wallah Bin Wallah while still working as a teacher.
Over the years, Munene witnessed Wallah Bin Wallah’s rise to become a renowned author and, inspired by his success, Munene also wrote major Kiswahili books of his own.
Career at Citizen TV
He has also made appearances on Citizen TV, a popular television station in Kenya. The journalist has been featured in a segment called ‘Nipe Nikupe na Munene Nyaga’ during the 7 pm News.
In this engaging segment, Munene interacts with viewers, participating in a quick-fire competition where they alternate in saying as many Kiswahili words as possible. His presence on Citizen TV has further solidified his status as a well-known media personality in the country.
Munene, married to Mary Wanjiku, has openly discussed the societal pressure to get married in an interview with Kauleni TV, providing a glimpse into his personal life.
Words of Wisdom
Munene emphasizes the importance of vigilance in one’s career and living within one’s means. He advises young people to be content with what they have and warns against accumulating debt, as it can have long-lasting consequences.