As promised, I will take time over the coming weeks and research interesting Kenyan YouTube sites. I have already spoken, in general terms, about the beauty of YouTube in a previous article. Now I want to delve deeper and provide real examples. Just as a recap, YouTube is giving you and I a chance to become broadcasters and therein lies the true definition of freedom of speech. From your house, office, streets, you can do your stuff and share it on YouTube and someone will watch it.
In a 2011 article criticizing the media for not being open to change, Dr Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications, had the following to say: “It is the government policy of having many voices in the media that is under attack here. But this resistance to change will come to nothing because it is akin to closing the stable door after the horse has already bolted. Sooner rather than later, we shall be in the era of web broadcasting with very little control by the government. Kenyans will then be able to broadcast even from their bedrooms. For how long can a few media groups resort to negative propaganda every time their interests (not the interests of the public) are threatened? The inescapable fact is that the digital revolution means the days of broadcast monopoly are numbered.” (Quoted from The Star Online 27/07/2011.
And Kenyans have jumped on board with their usual enthusiasm. One such is Ms Mukami Kinoti. Mukami is a Kenyan living in the US. Before leaving in the 1990s, she was part of Kenya’s media landscape. She was a thespian, actress in one of Kenya’s earlier movies and then ended up on KTV Television. Then she was off to the states. When Oprah sent out a casting call for a talk show host to replace her, Mukami was one of two Kenyans who participated in the competition. The competition involved a video audition. She did not win, but got lots of support from Kenyans and other fans. This triggered something that led to the creation of her own web TV, Mukami TV on YouTube.
I often watch her videos and I have seen her go from 2’000 weekly views to over 15’000 per week and still growing. To date she has had about 370’000 videos views which is not bad. Her style is the Oprah-Talk style on health, beauty and other passions and she clearly targets a female audience. She has done a few video interviews of US musicians, US based African celebrities including models. It’s impressive that she manages to get hold of them for 20 to 30 minutes. Her set is well lit and decorated and she clearly has an individual sense of style: off-shoulder tops, large earrings, braids, etc.
While her show is interesting and recommendable, there is room for improvement. For one, she could make her shows more regular. The last one is 3 months old and some have been weekly. If she plans to go weekly, then she should promise her audience that she will upload her show by Tuesday, for instance. It’s frustrating for a fan to log on and not find new content. While her dress style is very individual, she could put more Mukami and more personality into the show, so it becomes less Oprah. It will surely happen with time.
Finally, I would commend her for the move. It takes some guts to be able to create something and put it out there.