Citizen TV’s S.K. Macharia: From Grass to GRACE - the STORYEditor's Choice 02:41
A couple of years ago Njenga Karume released his book ‘From charcoal to gold’ which was his life’s autobiography. Media mogul S. K. Macharia has followed in his footsteps and is planning to release his autobiography which he claims will hit the bookshops with a thud.
In the book fascinating details of how Macharia has risen from poverty to being among the richest men in Kenya are revealed, quoted below is a summary of the book written by assistant Higher Education Minister Kirimi Mweria and we quote:
“Macharia was born in a family of squatters in the white settler farms before the family moved to Arusha. He lost his mother at the age of five and the only sister who took care of him was "sold out" to raise his school fees. When his family was repatriated from Arusha in a colonial swoop, he was accidentally left behind, but traversed Maasai country on his own to land in Thika by sheer luck.
His talent was identified during the airlift programme to America. But he missed his flight because he could not raise the Sh4, 000 needed for the ticket. Being one never to give up, he got into a bus at Ambassador Hotel headed for the airport.
Instead, the bus ride took him through Kampala and Juba and finally to Benghazi, Libya. He crossed the Mediterranean Sea by ship, navigated through Europe to the English Channel by road; took a boat to Dover, then a train to London. He finally got into the plane in London and headed to New York from where he undertook an 8,000km journey to his university in Seattle, on the west coast of the United States.
The trip, which took 140 days, cost him Sh1, 200. He worked at night and went to school during the day to attain a Bachelor’s degree and two post-graduate degrees. That accomplishment saved him a bus trip to Kenya as he was recruited to independent Kenya’s civil service with Government paying for his return ticket.
But he was not the kind to be content with employment, choosing instead the route of creating employment. But life was not much better for him as an entrepreneur. Always an innovator and one to take risks, he founded Madhupaper Ltd and started exporting toilet paper in the 1970s.
This first industry by a Kenyan African was sabotaged by political intrigues and jealous. Not one to give up, he pioneered plastic money through Royal Card. He was again to be the first Kenya African to venture into broadcasting opening Citizen Radio in 2001. He had struggled to open it for years, but political intrigues would never allow it. His media kingdom now includes multiple radio stations and Citizen TV – one of Africa’s best.
There is much to learn from this Kenyan icon. First, you can pull yourself out of extreme poverty if you are visionary, determined and hard working; especially if the playing field is level for all and with Government facilitating, not harassing investors.
Second, Kenyan Africans can be even more successful than their European and Asian colleagues who preceded them. Macharia dared to go where no other Kenyan African would in very difficult circumstances.
Third, wealth can be a means to national unity, political liberation and cultural preservation. Citizen Radio played a big role in National Rainbow Coalition ouster of Kanu in 2002. Citizen’s multiple vernacular radio stations have been a major development tool. This soft-spoken Kenyan has single handedly done what Government should have done.”
The Kenyan DAILY POST