Today on Man Around Nairobi we feature Meshack Mwangi. Meshack Mwangi describes himself as a villager who discovered the potential of Nairobi and the power of the internet. He is the founder and CEO of Hepi Media Inc. He is a tech, art, poetry and music events Enthusiast. He occasionally cover events, both photography and video. He is currently doing live production and broadcast with Highway Audio Video Solutions Kenya.
- Did you grow up in Nairobi?
I was born in Thika, Makongeni and we later moved to Juja permanently in the late 90’s. I came from a humble background and it taught me to appreciate the little one has. It has also taught me to strive to be a better “me” every day. During my time in Juja, Mungiki was on the rise and very ruthless. I once saw a man being attacked and beat half dead by members of the sect with sugar cane (mukuna – which resembles bamboo). It was a very violent scene and there was blood all over. This experience gave me a blood phobia, I tremble at the slightest sight of blood. I didn’t get to go out like my fellas to hunt or gather and I wasn’t good at football. I played girl games and outdid them pretty much.
At one time, a cargo train on transit from Delmonte fell off the Chania bridge, and spilled its contents. News spread fast, Thika is a small town. Despite the warning, we went to see it for ourselves and carrying jerrycans. Upon fetching the drink, the monkeys were upon us, chasing us. I discovered I could run on that day and have never stopped, running remains my only sport. This will always be a memorable experience. I wish I could turn it into a film and tell the story. Maybe I would have been a different person if I grew up somewhere in Nairobi. All in all, I love people who grew in Nairobi and I envy my cousins who all grew up here. . I guess this is what grew my adventurous spirit, to learn new things.
- What do you love about Nairobi?
Nairobi … apart from being the capital city of our country, it is a hub of creation. There is so much freedom and free will. As a lover of art, there are many joints where I can go and enjoy myself. Business wise, you can get anything in this city, anything. You just have to know the right people and places to look.
Being a heavy internet user, I love the network speeds in this city. The connection keep me going. As an event organizer, there are a dozen of venues to choose from for any occasion one might have, be it a seminar, conference, a talk, book or music launch. You name it, Nairobi has it all. I also love the digital shift happening, people are appreciating photography and video for their businesses to boost sales or services.
Nairobi is time, which translates to money which translates to the class you will belong. You can earn respect from everyone and lose it to the same.
I love the movements, they make a symphony and everyone is on the move, rushing from somewhere or visa vis. Nairobi is an ART. How pavements and buildings form patterns. You can’t fail to find something to do in this city.
- What would you change about Nairobi?
Art in Nairobi hasn’t really been tapped and commercialized. I want to sell the art in Nairobi to the whole of Kenya and the globe. There hasn’t really been a documentation of art activities that take place. This is one of the reasons I started recording and sharing the happenings in Nairobi on the internet.
I would also love to sell a good image about theatres. Most people judge theaters as boring and would rather go for a movie over a play. Plays are amazing and real.
4. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Working in Nairobi is great. The opportunities are immense and untapped. What I love about this city is that you can sell to anyone regardless, you just have to be smart and unique. People are choosy and love originality.
As a startup, the challenges are many. And in my line of work, there are already established agencies with a reputation and dozen references you have to compete with.
5. If you had a tourist friend coming in from outside the country what three things would you say to sell them the idea that Nairobi is worth visiting?
I have several friends from Asia and South America mostly who frequent Kenya, and I happen to be their tour guide. The good thing about them is that they are adventurous and are always looking for something they haven’t done or somewhere we haven’t visited.
I always sell these key notes about Nairobi. That it is safe, beautiful and has a nightlife worth experiencing.
At the end of the day, we always end up either at:
- Kenya National Theater mostly on Thursday afternoons and you get served with a dose of live music, performances and poetry. They recently re-opened the roof bar, Igiza lounge.
- Alliance Françoise which carries out a lot of art, photography exhibitions and movie screenings.
- Outside the National Archives – there is always something happening.