Four Kenyans making it big this year

Brian Gacari, 31, is the CEO of Property Reality Company Limited (prc).

Brian Gachari chairs the Property Realty Company (PRC) board and is the brains behind their new strategy to reach out to their target audience through entertainment, “We’ve found a way to combine art and investment. We have used both Kenyan and international acts to bridge these two diverse industries. We have also been able to kill the notion that investment is a stiff, boring process. We do this by creating experiences that are fun and rewarding,” he says.

He describes PRC as a ‘very experimental brand’. The real estate company offers affordable property investments but the brand is more popularly known for hosting an annual event dubbed as ‘The Plot’, which invites international artists to perform for PRC’s target audience, an event that is attended by over 5000 people, clear evidence that this strategy is paying off.

“We plan the whole event over four months and this year it went better than expected. I am very happy to see how investment and entertainment can work together. We cannot wait to do it bigger in next year’s edition.” This year, the company flew in 90s R&B artistes Mya and Ginuwine to headline the event.

“I tend to set my goals early in the year and review them every three months to see how I am doing. I first write my goal down then I believe in it. I also look for a reward, not necessarily monetary, but something to reward myself with when I achieve what I set out to do. This keeps me motivated,” he says.

2016 has been a good year for both him and the business. “For starters, we had plans to get into agribusiness and we now have three successful farming communities. ‘The Plot’ concert that took place in August was well planned and we had a great turn out. We also have intentions to get into low-cost housing and into Uganda…Generally I am happy to say that we are on course with most of the plans we set out to achieve for the business,” he says. “On a personal front, I resolved to live a healthier life. I got onto a detox plan and a workout routine that I have seen a lot of benefit from. I also planned to grow spiritually and this has been very rewarding.”

Gilad

Gilad has found a way to ensure that his music appeals to both the young and the old no matter what their background and this is no small fete for any local artist, yet Gilad seems to do it without any indication of struggle. “I remember I had a huge smile on my face when I first heard ‘Unajua’ on radio – you couldn’t have removed it even if you tried,” says Israel’s former deputy ambassador to Kenya.

“So far I have released six songs, but I’ve recently began working on multiple songs at a time,” he says, adding that it has been a busy year for him.

Though his passion for music goes undisputed, Gilad also took a leap of faith this year; he left his role as a cooperate expat to start his own PR company. “This has been a long time dream and I am enjoying the amazing freedom that comes with being my own boss,” he says. However, his latest pursuit will not distract him from seeing his musical career through. “At the same time, I am about to finish my album, which will also include new collaborations; all of it is a surprising adventure.”

Gilad’s rough, sultry voice and accurate intonation of the Kiswahili language may have one thinking that he is native Kenyan when actually he is from Israel. This year he is keen to have his Kenyan citizenship finalized. “I applied for my Kenyan citizenship this year and we hope and pray for the best. The requirement is that you have to have been a resident here for over seven years. It is now over eight years since my family and I came back to live in Kenya, making us eligible for citizenship. All I want is to be officially Kenyan,” says an optimistic Gilad.

This has also been a good year for Gilad who was recently appointed the brand ambassador for Samantha’s Bridal. “Catherine Masitsa, the founder and CEO of Samantha’s Bridal, approached me with the idea to have me perform at the Samantha’s Bridal Expo. Once we met and we got to know each other, we really hit it off and the creative ideas began to flow; we then created the Brand Ambassador role. During the expo it was great to see my song, ‘Sema Milele’ creating a great buzz and raising the Expo experience to a whole new level,” he says.

Gilad who seems always full of good energy says that he tries as much as possible to live in the moment, trusting life to continue to unfold wonderfully. “I focus on the now and I believe that when you give love you get love and when you smile at people they smile back. It’s actually pretty simple. My plan is to continue doing just that and to trust life to do what it will.”

Kalekye Mumo

Her name is synonymous with success. She is a former radio presenter, TV Host and business woman. And 2016 has been a significant year for Kalekye Mumo in more ways than one. “I think the most amazing thing I set out to achieve this year was really the celebration of my 40th birthday, which incidentally has given me a new lease on life,” she says.

In addition, Kalekye had started a journey to shed some of her weight, which was a slow but progressive endeavour. “In the first two weeks when I saw some kilos and inches drop, I knew I was headed in the right direction. It stopped being a hard task to achieve once I began seeing the results; I began to sleep better and I had more energy. I knew that pursuing a healthy life would give me the opportunity to do more and therefore it was worthy pursuit.”

By the time she was turning the big ‘four-oh’ in March, Kalekye had successfully lost 40kgs just in time to host an all-white, exclusive ‘rebirth’ party where she invited her family and close friends to the unveiling of a smaller, more petite woman.

For many women, losing weight requires a certain amount of discipline and for Kalekye it was no different. “Distractions were real when I travelled, especially when I went to Brazil where it was difficult to get what you need to eat and in the right portions,” she says. Fortunately for Kalekye, she was already two months into her weight loss programme and the changes she had begun to see in herself were enough to keep her going. “The excitement of seeing my clothes getting bigger was motivation galore!” says an enthusiastic Kalekye.

Now she advocates for healthy living and encourages women to follow suit, no matter how big or small the effort. “Nothing should stop others from yearning to live a long and healthy life. I tell those who have challenges that they first need to pick a goal and focus on it, understand that nothing comes easy. If the progress is slow, don’t give up, put in more effort because once the results start to show you will love the feeling,” she says.

To encourage others, Kalekye has begun her very own online channel where she walks with women on the journey to living and loving a healthier lifestyle. After 10 years at KISS FM, she left the popular morning show to pursue her own business ventures, a pursuit she had not anticipated at the beginning of the year. “I had thought about leaving radio but I wasn’t sure how soon it would happen. I knew that I needed to try something new and it just so happened that I had to make the decision sooner,” she says.

Transitioning from job security to the unknown isn’t for the faint hearted and she has had to learn patience and to become more attentive and observant. But she remains confident in the path she is now travelling. So what is next for this 40-year-old dynamo? Kalekye says she still has a deep love for media and hints that something big is in the pipeline.

 

This feature was first published in The Standard newspaper’s SDE Digital platform.