First things first, I trust that you all had a lovely long weekend. My Labour Day has been great! I’ve had plenty of sleep and unwinding because of the long week!
I am pleased and humbled to tell you that I had a candid conversation with Your Story Kenya, a fast-growing platform that appreciates young people who are doing great things in their careers and through their talents.
They asked plenty of hard questions, haha! But you know me; I am an open book. This comes after I appeared in a Safaricom Limited advertorial for The Star newspaper back in January. Before that, I had a looong but interesting interview with OMG Voice Kenya. Be sure to check them out!
Here’s an excerpt from the feature:
At just 23, Harun Momanyi has been privileged to personally interact with a good number of people from almost all parts of the globe simultaneously utilizing his skills and talents.
BEING A CELEBRITY INTERVIEWER, WRITER, EDITOR, SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER, CONTENT STRATEGIST AND BRAND COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
As a celebrity interviewer, I do what red carpet hosts or TV presenters do. I feature public figures from various industries – including entertainment – on my blog and YouTube channel.
They get to tell their inspirational stories and in the process motivate the young people who look up to them. So far, some of my interviewees have been from UK, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Canada, USA, Kenya and other countries. I tell my stories in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with my main focus being on education.
I help young people develop the relevant skills they need to excel in the industries that their role models are in. For the other roles, that is, social media, editing and brand communications, I use digital media to help brands reach out to their audiences. This is through web content (blogs, videos, ads, etc) and PR. It’s an exciting undertaking; challenging but all the same enjoyable.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I started off in May 2012. I created my first WordPress blog that month. By that time, I did not know what exactly what to do. I had been participating in blogging competitions in the country and Africa-wide and had been ranked among the top participants. I needed to start something on my own. At first, it was so daunting. I was working with an IT company as a data entry clerk and was struggling to learn everything about blogging – from simple HTML to creating a site to building an audience. I used to stay up late at the office to do this. With time, I saved up and bought my first Dell PC and would spend weekends at my house in Mathare North. That was the turning point as 2 years later, I landed my first media internship. The rest is history.
MORE ON MY JOURNEY
I was living in a low cost single room by then at the slum. I used to really struggle. Food used to be chapo madondo. I tried getting top media personalities in Kenya to notice me. I would email them. I got a lot of Nos and messages went unreplied. Many people did not take my blog seriously because it wasn’t the best looking website plus I did not have many followers on social media. But I never stopped pushing, even when I got a like or two on Facebook.
I was too passionate to quit! I would skip lunch or dinner just to buy bundles to blog. I sent out hundreds of job applications but none went through. Then on one fine day I bumped into an internship announcement by East Africa Destination Magazine on the iHub jobs blog. I applied and a few days later I got accepted. By that time, I had almost given up on life. For the next six months I made the most out of it to learn everything about magazine publishing, social media and celebrity interviews. After the stint, I joined my current job at Radio Africa Group LTD. That was how I got into media.
I have worked with several companies since I left high school 5 years ago: From a tech company to a magazine to a large media house. Some of the biggest lessons that I have learnt include patience, hard work, networking and determination.
Never let what people say derail you. I was once told that I would never step in Los Angeles or achieve those big goals I had. Now, I have friends all over the world; I can comfortably travel and spend time with them whenever I want. From New York to London to Los Angeles.
The other thing is, network, network, and network. Never burn bridges. Your contacts are literally your source of opportunities. Associate only with winning people. It’s better to have a phone contact list with only 10 people who make an impact in your life. Take your job seriously; always make sure that you and your manager are in a good relationship. That is how you advance in life.
SPECIFIC SKILLS THAT ANYONE WITH MY CURRENT AND PAST JOB DESCRIPTIONS MUST HAVE
I work in the digital space, so you need digital skills for this particular job. These include content marketing, digital marketing, digital PR and branding, social media management skills, content sourcing skills, interview hosting skills, TV and Radio show hosting skills, touch typing, image editing, video editing and many others. In short, just be digital savvy. Plus an education (Journalism, Marketing or Communications degree for example) is an added advantage.
I am also a travel and fashion blogger. I recently launched my travel blog www.wheretovacationnext.com and I must say that the feedback has been phenomenal. I am also the founder of www.bestmodelreviewsafrica.com, a fashion modeling platform for upcoming talent in the modeling industry. I am also passionate about mentoring young people who look up to me.
I do this directly. I have several mentees that I am working with, mainly from journalism schools. Because of my passion in mentoring young people, I was selected to cover the recent United Nations Global Goals World Cup that happened in Nairobi in March 2017. In attendance was UNDP goodwill ambassador and Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster – Waldau, who in coincidence was interviewed by the magazine I was interning for. I was also country ambassador for NUHA Foundation Global Blogging Prize in 2015. This UK registered nonprofit champions’ education across the globe. There is crucial need for skills for young people in Kenya to overcome unemployment, which is among the many social issues affecting the youth. What humbles me is helping young people achieve their potential.
Read the rest of it here.