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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Take Off I

Lake Como at night

Como is a beautiful place. Well I know that's an understatement but what can one say? Normally, a city with many big buildings and substantial traffic is accustomed to noise, rowdiness leave a lone carelessness.  The same is not true about Como. The hills that surround Lake Como with their natural flora and fauna from which exude the God given fresh air demand calmness in return for the serenity they offer. And the people there have danced to the tune of mother nature. You will see trees around every building, including the famous Como Cathedral with it's incredible Gothic design. I'm told it was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Checkin in at Como City

Ladies and gentlemen, may I indulge you in this and other upcoming episodes of my journey to Italy attending the World Manufacturing Forum under sponsorship of Africa Innovation Leaders. I have been in this fellowship since last year and last month was the end that resulted in the above opportunity.

Lake Como from Cernobbio 
The forum took place in Cernobbio which is one of the towns around the lake. Right from the first speaker to the last in the Entrepreneurship session, the overriding theme was Collaboration. There was a constant reminder from everyone of them that if we are to succeed in the nex revolution, we must come and work together. Africa, Europe, Asia, America and the Arctic were all recognized as part of the globe that will neccesitate change. Stay tuned for some of the great quotes we got.

Sunday, 8 September 2019


Bishop TD Jakes Addressing Entrepreneurs 
“I hear people from outside talk about opportunities in Africa more than I hear Africans talk about opportunities in Africa…the globe today is ready for your Idea,”
NunuNtshingila, the Regional Director Facebook Africa pointed out this truth during SOAR AFRICA 2019 as she stood up to address enthusiastic entrepreneurs.

SOAR AFRICA is a platform for African Leaders to get peer mentorship, knowledge sharing and executive engagement that embraces servant leadership. 5th-6th September 2019 mark the inaugural dates for the event that has been the talk of the day at least by many in the country for the past one month. The event brought together admirable leaders not only in the business world but also from the Public as well as the Spiritual aspects of life. 

The main speaker being Bishop TD Jakes from the US, the audience were surely blessed by his colleagues of the day including Strive Masiyiwa, Joshua Oigara (KCB), Sylvia Mulinge(Safaricom PLC), CS Fred Matiang’I to mention but a few.

There had been a fuss all over the media about the charges to the event but some of us just chose to focus on the main thing, which was, “SOAR AFRICA.” I was not going to afford this summit but was positive that at least I could get some nuggets of wisdom even if it meant through leaked videos or the social media titbits. 

You can imagine the joy when I got a message to express interest in attending the summit through the YALI alumni email. KCB had decided to sponsor a few of us. That is one of the mails I normally respond to first, doing the necessary before asking questions. Doesn’t Steve Covey advocate for pro-activeness in his 7Habits of Highly Effective People?

Let’s just say I had to attend this no matter the circumstances. I had been down with a fever and I once thought about cancelling my travel plan but… Years ago I read a book with a title “THE PRINCESS WITHIN” by Sarah Jakes which made me admire the man, her husband. I looked forward to becoming a resilient husband, open and honest as well as God-fearing. 

So, when an opportunity comes to hear and see the man you read on paper and/or watched on electrons, what more can one ask? The fact that he is a man of God showing the world that business can be clean and money after all was meant to serve man and not the other way is inspirational and maybe for once…I had to pause because I think the statement needs its own sentence break.

For once, young Christians (and even believers of other religions) have evidence that being religious is not a license to foolishness and poverty as it is always shoved down our throats right from primary school by some who believe in nothing. 

According to TDJ, the success of a nation is like a table. The four legs are Entrepreneurship, Religion, Political Leadership and Technology. Knock any of them off and there you have a crisis. He advocates for an inclusive society where children, the youths and the elderly are part of the cake baking process.
I could see the passion he has for Kenya and the longings for the rising of the black continent. We danced to the beat led by the stamping of his foot encouraging Kenyans to start marketing their products.

“Success is no longer a local Idea…business is a brand. A brand is a promise…a promise is built on trust. Make it easier for people to trade with you…It is not about who’s next…find people who do what you can’t…collaborate…” 
A few months ago, during the National Youths and Devolution Summit, the speakers emphasized on the need for young people to advance from noise to voice. TDJ called on Kenyans to channel their energy into marketing their products because,
“We (outside Kenya) need your products, we need your music, your normal to us is amazing…the wind is right for your dream…wake up! Wake up Kenya, it’s morning!”

To sum up this write-up, my salutation goes to Joy Wachira, the founder of SOAR AFRICA for dreaming big and helping us get the motivation we needed to forge ahead. To KCB and the Yali Fraternity, one day books will be read as people overseas will be looking for the formula that made Africa arise, these titles shall be remembered.  Meanwhile, let me finish reading my copy of SOAR authored by Bishop TD Jakes. You can order it online at Amazon 

A section of young Entrepreneurs after the summit
Dear reader, thank you choosing to read this post under Art4Leadership with sponsorship of Dowe Music &Arts. We endeavor to highlight the positive change taking place in Africa as we rebuke the stench of evils that thwart her progress. Please stay tuned.
The writer has sole responsibility for the post.
Douglas Ogutu is a gifted 
musician and writer
 at Dowe Music & Arts

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Does it Matter Only when it is "Explicit?"

Wednesday, 14 August 2019


Retrieved from Pratisthamishra

The above matter refers.
First, I render my apologies for not attending the men’s conference as I had a function dubbed “Touch A Soul” reaching out to children abandoned by some of you. I am writing to find out the outcome of that meeting. Days have gone since then and I submit to you that all is not well. We are headed south. We have left our place, fellow man.

I rarely watch TV but man, the news all over the place is not good. Fellow man, you take a woman out, enjoy the bliss, then when she notifies you of the new development; your phone loses network, your car develops engine problems, you get a new job in another city and you continue with your life? But why, why couldn’t bar this that if zipping up was a goal too far to reach?

I feel you man. Yours is a divorce case. Well, painful it was. However, those bundles of joy (I mean children) had nothing to do with you two before you started whispering sweet nothings, borrowing airtime for chats and meals at big hotels. They are missing you. The mother is busy covering up your absence with a flashy life style she can afford, thankfully for her unwavering determination. I hear them-children giggle with plastic joy, while the suppressed subconscious mind is screaming in my ears, “Could you be our daddy?” Man, where are you?

I am your daughter’s teacher. I am your son’s mentor. That's fine. But Man, you’re still alive and you are just there to let them see a father figure in me? Fellow man, when I read the episodes, watching the interviews with the children on celebrity status and I don’t see you even on the footnotes, it breaks my heart. That another man can access passwords to your daughter/sons’ phone at the tender age, you left him to be the one showing him/her what site to and/or not visit while you wine and dine doesn’t disturb you? Like for real, fellow man, we can do better. So, you are comfortable flipping through your memory, remembering 9 months after the notification a child was born and through the years you’ve never even talked…

I’m talking with you man. I know you pledged to be responsible. But the law leaned against you. Things are changing. Go back. Demonstrate you can. Your child needs you. Not your money, s/he needs your breath, the knowledge on how you keep calm even in drastic situations. Fellow man, I was hoping this was the content of the men’s conference in February. I think I was wrong. What did you dudes resolve?

My daughter is overseas. We (son and I) await her. When she comes, I will teach her. She won’t live by the phrase “What a man can do, a woman can do better…” what does that even mean? I will teach her to be the best of herself, compete with herself just like her brother is learning now. I will teach them both, that a man can not live without a woman and yes, a woman cannot live without a man. That it is fallacious to claim that, when one has a boss of the opposite gender, not to say a caretaker at home. “This world is full of double standards,” I will let them know. That when you educate a woman you have not educated the whole world, neither can one boast of having sound leadership by exalting a man alone. “Both you my son and daughter must be educated, trained, and mentored equally,” they will hear from me. That no one is weaker.

 Fellow man, well, I may not be present physically everyday due to my hustle: however, I want them to know that I am present.
Lastly, fellow man. I hope you join me in this pledge. I pledge to be a father when I become one. I pledge to be actively present. I pledge to let keep my child out of the quagmires of my relationship, wisely showing her why I had to choose the present life style. I pledge to be there and provide guidance, my child shall learn pertinent things first from me, not some other son of man. This I believe, is Art4Leadership
N/B: I am married and armed with the following truths:
Divorce doesn’t have to be drama.
Children should not suffer for my lifestyle.
I will do my best to keep it that way, but I am not immune to a break-up. It’s just by grace.

The opinions expressed in here are solely owned by the writer.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019


Our third edition was entitled MZALENDO which is a swahili word for "PATRIOT." It was a wonderful event bringing together young people over a conversation about Patriotism. We are grateful to our Speakers: Ms. Shikoh Kihika, the founder of Tribeless Youth and the NakuruYouth Bunge President Mr. Philip Ng’ok. The duo challenged the bright minds to take initiative realizing that the change Africa needs is within us.
The event started with a performance from Dowe Music Band with patriotic music from iconic legends like the late Oliver Mtukudzi. The audience would later on be treated to an own composition that left everyone pledging to stand for what is right and promote Nationhood.

During the panel discussion, Ms. Shikoh maintained that the youths need to read the constitution not only to demand for their rights but also to be able to fight for the less fortunate. In the same vein, Mr.Ng’ok called out for Servant Leadership attitude as well as the love for one another as Citizens.
A presentation from the youngest guitarist-Kyle stunned everyone and when asked how he managed to learn the instrument and could play effortlessly, he said, “Just feel the beat.” 
This in my own opinion is a great insight about life in general. One needs to study how systems work, in order to either fit in or course a change. Dear reader, do you want to bring about real transformation? You’ve got to do some study, listen, read and observe, in Kyle’s word, feel the beat!
Then came the opportunity hour! Various scholarship opportunities were broadcast with fellows and alumni sharing tips on how to make applications. Among other institutions represented were YALI RLC, Mandela Washington Fellowship (which is on course currently until 3rd August 2019), Chevening which was represented by Mr. Stuart Kasozi from Uganda, Emerging Leaders Foundation represented by Anne Kinyua, Cohort 6 Alumnus. The Kenya National Library Services was represented by it’s ICT officer Mr. Joseck Olala who shared a number of authentic courses offered at the Library free of charge.
Now you know, you don’t want to miss the next event which will be announced here in due time. Stay tuned and be a good citizen or at lead, Mzalendo!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Last week ended well with performance from Douglas, the CEO Dowe Music & Arts performing at the 2nd Youth Symposium on Devolution. The conference dubbed, “Putting Youth at the Center of Devolution” saw young people from across Kenya and with diverse backgrounds learn a lot on matters governance.
 Ms. Caren Wakoli, the founder of Emerging Leaders Foundation emphasized the need for Kenyans to reconsider strengthening the family bond as a move towards sound leadership. She decried the erosion of morality in society and encouraged youths to go for value based systems rather than circumstantial decision making that influences Africa’s Constitutional Amendments.

Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, the CS for Devolution enlightened the youths about their rights within the counties and the country at large. He stressed the issue of citizens putting leaders on the spotlight with regards to the responsibility given during and after the elections.

All in all, it was a wonderful two day occasion with everyone pledging to move from just being sounding bells but being the real voice of change in a tag named: From Noise to Voice. The songs Say No To Poor Leadership and Carry On Africa graced the occasion leaving the participants with something to ponder. Here is what the event hosts talked about the performance. Authentic Music Appraised

Monday, 6 May 2019

Lead Where You Are

What comes into your mind when you here the word Leadership? For many, it’s a figure of someone in a top position privileges, capable of issuing commands and one who stands aloof from the common man. They imagine of a commander, and the ones being led as subjects. This, however, is not the case for youths in Nakuru county. Last week the 2nd of May 2019, we had a great event at the Kenya National Library as our Art4Leadership Episode II of the year. If you are just reading this blog for the first time, this is musical concert in which we invite professional speakers from various spectra of life to inspire youths towards positive social change. In January, we tackled a topic on Education for peace where our guest speaker was Mr. Winnie Machila, the Head Teacher at Milimani Primary School. You can read about the event here: African Dream
Joseck Addressing Youths

The facilitators for the last week’s event were Mr. Joseck Olala a YALI Alumnus and ICT Officer at the Nakuru Knls and Dowe Music & Arts director, Mr. Douglas Ogutu. The eagerness in the faces of the youths and their timely attendance as well as their abundance is enough to tell you that young people long for a better Kenya, if not Africa at large. The event, themed “LEAD WHERE YOU ARE: The Africa We Want” was graced by Dowe Music Band with the main song being “The African Dream.” This song is not only easy to sing a long but thought provoking through it’s proactive message. Written in the first person, listening to or sing this tune especially the chorus challenges one to reflect on one’s actions and pledge to do what is right. Here are the words of the chorus in Swahili:
Nitatenda mema (I will do what is good)
Nitahesabika (I’ll stand to be counted)
Eh Mungu wangu (Oh My God)
Nisaidie (Help me out)

One can see from this words that the listener is being called to action. The call is for one to shift the paradigm from just delegating responsibility to those in positions of power but realize we all have a role.This tied in so well with the messages from the Speakers. Youths were taught on the effects of poor governance and shown the benefits of sound governance. It was made clear that our actions for or not voting directly affect our lives since governance holds all sectors of livelihoods be it health, economy, infrastructure, education etc. 

Youths participating in the discussion
Mr. Olala reminded the youths that the constitution gives them a right to public participation, questioning actions of the elected leaders as well as demanding that they deliver what they promised. He emphasized that we all must in one accord Say no to PoorLeadership in word and action.

 The second speaker, Mr. Ogutu talked about Servant Leadership. He enlisted qualities of a good leader as expressed in the image below from his presentation. Of the 7 characteristics, “Self-Awareness” came out as the most critical.
“When you get a position to lead, you give the people a chance to know you. They can relate with you easily if they have no difficulty understanding who you are. It becomes a tragedy when you don’t know yourself in the first place,” He said. From the discussions with the attendees, it became clear that poor leadership spearheaded by corruption in Africa is an enormous problem to even think of tackling it. However, they all agreed that it is not impossible. They pledged to be “bold enough to fight patiently even if we ourselves don’t live to see the fruits.”
One of them said, “We have to develop a long-term strategy, not limiting ourselves to election time periods.” It was Impressive seeing such a discourse led by youths themselves. Indeed, it is noble to fight for something that will outlive you. Thank you for taking time to read and hopefully this will spark hope and a desire for a greater Africa than we have now. To listen to the recorded version of the theme song of the day click this link.African Dream