Renowned media personality Jimmi Gathu recounted how he discovered former Citizen TV presenter Johnson Mwakazi and former Capital FM radio presenter Eve D’Souza alias Varshita and mentored them into the media industry.
Speaking during an interview on the Cleaning The Airwaves (CTA) show on YouTube, Gathu detailed that he met the duo while working at Capital FM as the Deputy Programmes Controller.
The Spice FM presenter narrated that he discovered Mwakazi while emceeing an event. Gathu was tasked with introducing a skit which was to be presented to the guests. Conversely, Mwakazi was the narrator of the skit.
Media personality Johnson Mwakazi speaks during a past media interview in August 2018.
The radio host added that he was amazed by Mwakazi’s voice and decided to give him a chance at the station.
According to Gathu, Mwakazi’s voice was suitable for a news presenter. He was, however, surprised to learn that Mwakazi had not been to a journalism class at the time.
“After he (Mwakazi) was done, I gave him my number and told him to come and see me the following day. I went to the newsroom and told my head of news to train him. At one o’clock, Mwakazi went on air.
“My boss came to the studio and asked who he was. Now he is the voice of Royal Media Services (RMS),” he stated.
Mwakazi is currently the Director of the Royal Voice International, which handles media production and moderations at conferences. He, nonetheless, still does voice-overs for RMS adverts.
D’Souza applied for an internship at Capital FM and wanted to learn the ropes of radio despite studying education for her undergraduate.
Gathu added that he decided to give her a chance and was taken aback by her immense talent.
A photo of former Citizen TV anchor Janet Mbugua being hosted for an interview at Capital FM studios in Lonrho House in October 2021.
However, he noted that his decision to give the actress an opportunity did not sit well with one of the bosses, who felt she did not meet the standards of the station.
“I went to audition her and when she talked I was like ‘Ooh My God’. I put her in the mid-morning show and my superior did not like her because she was not of ‘capital sound’. I almost lost my job because of Eve,” he added.
Looking for Young Talent
When asked why he was eager to seek out new talent, he explained that he wanted to venture into something new in radio, considering that older journalists predominantly occupied the media industry.
He added that he actively sought out talented individuals who had not studied journalism.
“The reason why I did not want journalists is because I wanted to have intelligent radio. I decided that I was going to the market and looking for fresh talent. I wanted those who were fresh, smart and wanted to be journalists,” the radio presenter explained.
Gathu is also credited for discovering the Citizen TV anchor Yvonne Okwara, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, Zoology, Botany, and Chemistry from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
Yvonne Okwara poses for a photo after hosting The Explainer show on Citizen TV on March 2022.