The list of most influential Kenyans 2016 came out the other day and one guy, Mshila Mwakai Sio, unknown to most of us ended up being number 2. And he clearly deserved it having dedicated his work towards providing safe drinking water something which accorded him recognition and respect within the white folk as he has worked with a myriad of global organizations.
He’s not the only Kenyan who has walked by unbeknownst to many only having achieved stardom abroad. Here are the other Kenyans loved and adored abroad but Kenyans could give a rat’s ass about them:
Okwiri Odour is a Kenyan writer, who won the 2014 Caine Prize. In April 2014 and was named on the Hay Festival‘s Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define trends in African literature. Her story “Rag Doll” being included in the subsequent anthology edited by Ellah Allfrey, Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahar. Even after having achieved all that, very few Kenyans are still familiar with her but she gets o sign autographs and takes selfies with fans when she’s taking a stroll in Jo’burg South Africa.
There is also Wangechi Mutu, (born 22 June 1972 in Nairobi, Kenya) is an artist and sculptor who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Mutu is considered by many to be one of the most important contemporary African artists of recent years, and her work has achieved much global acclaim. Some of her works Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; the Brooklyn Museum; and Tate Modern in London.
Eddie Gathegi one of the most prolific actors we have only started receiving sympathy love and recognition from Kenyans when Lupita Nyong’o suddenly became an overnight sensation and honestly we can all attest, she has nothing on Eddie who has been featured in over 10 Hollywood blockbusters.
Then there is Jessica Olson who is married to NBA baller Dirk Nowitzki….very little was known about her until recently when the husband spoke to ESPN about how they met.
Lastly, there is Ayub Ogada….the legendary Luo artist who has achieved global acclaim but very little known about him here. I actually asked my girlfriend if he recognized the guy when I was typing this and nada….she had no clue…even when I played Kothbiro which is one of his biggest tracks. Ayub’s music is on the soundtracks of films such as I Dreamed of Africa (2000), The Constant Gardener (2005), Samsara (2011) and The Good Lie (2014). His music was also used in the soundtrack for Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s BBC series’ Long Way Round and Long Way Down as well as NBC‘s short-lived action drama series, The Philanthropist.
It is this kind of people that led to Safaricom unveiling the #ThisismyKenya project which is meant to celebrate acknowledge our very own in all facets may it be our talent, destinations and even heritage. And they want you to be part of it.