In a world that is constantly filled with so much negative stories, there’s always that ‘tiny’ silver lining that keeps you motivated and thinking, its not all that bad, is it?
Today, we are fortunate enough to have access to numerous uplifting, encouraging personalities who often share their stories, anecdotes, videos and pictures that keep us engaged, entertained and happy on social media. They are consistently inspiring people in the things they do and keep us generally motivated.
Msafiri, an exciting magazine by Kenya Airways, that enriches the lives of everyone who loves Africa, in their latest edition (an article written by Peter Muiruri) named 10 Inspiring and Successful men and women to follow on social media. These individuals are a fresh of breath of air and believe in the power of positivity in the things they do. They are also inspiring people to live their best selves.
Dr. James Mwangi, managing director and chief executive officer, Equity Group Holdings
Dr. James Mwangi is one of the most influential people in Africa. He has overseen what has been termed as the “democratization” of the banking sector, making banking services accessible to millions in East and Central Africa. James holds five honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of his positive impact on the Kenyan society. He has been honored thrice with National Presidential Awards: The First Class Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS), the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) and Head of State Commendation (HSC).
“Every person on our African continent should have access to financial solutions that give them the capability to transform their lives, have dignity and expand opportunities for wealth creation,” he says.
His inspiration? “I am a product of my upbringing [that] had a significant influence on how I see things today… I realized that there is no wealth without work! Entrepreneurship means folding up your sleeves and working. Profit is the reward.”
And what makes Dr. Mwangi’s day? “Seeing a smile in people’s lives makes me happy. It’s humbling to know that the child my mother raised has not changed and I am able to share what I have with others.”
Larry Madowo is an international correspondent for CNN based in Nairobi. He is also the host of African Voices Changemakers, a long-running CNN series which profiles outstanding individuals from across the continent.
Since joining the network in 2021, Madowo has covered some of the biggest stories from around the globe and brought in a unique perspective from his region, delivering insight into the political, economic and cultural influences of the African continent to CNN’s global audience.
What narrative about Africa does he envision?
“My job is to cover Africa accurately, not positively. Many people conflate two ideas about Africa because the continent has been reported on poorly in the Western press for long. I make sure that every story I do portrays us as three-dimensional human beings. We are more than just disease, drought and war. We have accomplishments, art, beauty, joy and innovation. My reporting should reflect that.”
Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka
Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is Founder and CEO of an award winning NGO and non-profit founded in 2003, called Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) that set up one of the first One Health field programs in the world to protect endangered gorillas and other wildlife.
Gladys facilitates institutional change and the creation of new resources dedicated to the control of zoonotic transmission of diseases through linkages between the Ministry of Health and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
“We share 98.4% DNA with gorillas. If we are not successful in conserving [them], it would be devastating for the plane and future generations,” she says. “It takes dedication, passion and sacrifice.
But I believe there is no greater satisfaction than knowing that you have played a part in conserving a species, a habitat or contributed to a healthier planet for all.”
Kalema-Zikusoka hopes to inspire women to have careers in conservation, a largely male-dominated
Jonathan and Angela Scott, award-winning wildlife photographers and authors
The two award winning couple have made their name documenting the lives of lions, leopards and cheetahs in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, recording every aspect of their existence in their drawings, photographs and wildlife television programs since 1977.
They are the only couple to have won the Overall Award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition as individuals. Jonathan and Angela have written and illustrated 34 books including their award winning children’s titles for Collins Big Cat. Their latest books are The Big Cat Man: An Autobiography (Bradt) and Sacred Nature: Life’s Eternal Dance (HPH) that won the Gold Award for Photography in the prestigious Independent Publishers Book Awards, 2017.
But instead of glorifying individual animals, they have shifted their attention to the ecosystem.
“Raising awareness about charismatic species catches people’s attention. But if these creatures have nowhere to live, they can’t survive. If we protect the habitat, they will prosper,” says Angela.
Their resolve? “We cannot give up. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to change the way we think about the natural environment because it is vital to the well-being of all life.”
Nikita Kering is among the fastest-rising stars in the African music industry. Music has always been a part of her since she was a small child and cannot think about existing without it. She won two awards at the All-Africa Music Awards AFRIMA Music Awards in Nigeria: Best Female Artist in East Africa and Best Artist (African R&B).
“Music is simply a continuation and a repetition of a pattern. I think we have patterns in our life. How we speak, how we enunciate, and place our syllables, that’s rhythm. Even our heartbeat follows a rhythm. We have music one way or the other,” she says.
The region’s ‘King of Radio’ has chosen to support a vigorous campaign to promote local tourism as the brand ambassador for Tembea Tujenge Kenya initiative.
“We need East Africans to see the rich heritage. We have such beautiful places in the region and we are trying to whet their appetite to travel and see what their own region offers,” says Maina.
His drive to promote local tourism comes out of appreciation for his motherland and discovering things he never knew existed. “It gives me so many options for a vacation and Kenyans have taken to it. It is time to replicate such success to the rest of East Africa,” he says.
In an interview with one of the local publications, this was his message to the new batch of leaders:
“Please leave us better than you found us, not just economically but also in the fabric of the nation, opportunities for everyone, and advancement in infrastructure.”
His level of motivation, mental and physical discipline and consistency is unrivaled. Known for his ‘no human is limited’ guiding principle, Kipchoge says the mind can create roadblocks if people don’t believe in themselves. “Not knowing where we are, where we are going and what we want in life can mean losing the trust within ourselves, or that we can do it,” says Kipchoge.
He recommends these simple steps to prevent mental limitations:
“Have self-belief. Avoid complaining. Be satisfied and provide instant solutions. Learn to say no. Above all, rule your mind, otherwise it will rule you.”
In his own words, “To run a marathon in under two hours and to show to the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
Ian Craig, Executive Director · Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Ian Craig comes from a family stock that loves conservation. Having seen the massacre of rhinos and elephants, he converted the 62,000-acre working cattle ranch in Lewa into a wildlife conservancy.
Today, Ian serves within the Northern Rangelands Trust, an organization that manages conservation in the semi- arid northern Kenya. The Conservancy has grown to become a world-renowned catalyst and model for conservation that protects endangered species and promotes the development of neighboring communities.
“I continue to do this for the love of the people,” says Ian. “When people see the connection between
wildlife conservation and their livelihoods, they will support our efforts.”
Bien Baraza and his band entertained President Barack Obama during his visit to Kenya in 2015. At six years of age, Baraza remembers telling his siblings that he wanted to be a singer.
“We would harmonize church songs and music from our dad’s collection. His extensive music collection exposed me to different genres and styles,” says Bien.
Why should we listen to music? “Music dictates the person you are in life. My friends who wear dreadlocks can credit that look to reggae music. Artistes should speak light and life into the world. Music is a coping mechanism for maneuvering life. It’s a companion. What you listen to impacts the quality of your thoughts hence your life.”
Daniel ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki
Daniel Ndambuki is perhaps the most popular comedian in East and Central Africa who has mentored scores of talented youths that have gone ahead to establish themselves in the creative world.
“The industry should not find itself at a place where it stagnates because there is nobody to move it forward. Birthing new talents preserves the industry,” he says. “To get the best out of the industry, we have the obligation to keep churning out new comedians and give them the platform to express their
The article (by Peter Muiruri, a well known travel and nature writer) is in the June-July 2023 Msafiri edition, KQ. Via Capital FM