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The Lifeline

April 15th 2009 was a day I would live to forget. I saw 4 of my friends gunned down by police in cold blood. Young men who were coming back from their “hustle” were not able to make it home with their kill because the police had been tipped of their moves. I had thoughts, reflections and fear in my mind, I needed to think of an alternative source of livelihood because this wasn’t working. I had a passion for music, theatre acting and a burning desire to learn how to operate a camera, but all these were nothing but piped dreams. I had by then only recorded 2 singles, which I performed at different events time and again though they earned me no money in return.

I met Steve, a young man from Kibera slum in Nairobi who was filming the Kibera Good Governance Festival – an event that I had been invited to perform my music at. His SONY PD 170 and his little boom mic was the most advanced media equipment I had ever interacted with this far, and it was becoming impossible to hide my excitement. I asked him if he would be willing to teach me and he gladly accepted. This would then engage me for the next two years where I learnt and grew, and could now create content like a pro.

The things we had created with Steve over the 2 years got me a further opportunity to train with MEDEVA, a media NGO that trained youth on modern aspects of TV & radio production at absolutely no cost. Their main focus was the passion, and the pile of DVDs I carried with me to the interview was nothing short of proof that I had what it took. I was among the best in the training therefore being offered a job with the same organization.

In January 2014, I started working full time as a freelance correspondent with my company Blackboy Entertainment, an entity I had registered two years earlier but did nothing with. Today, Blackboy Entertainment is a trusted independent media production house that not only focuses on media production business but also offers media training and mentorship to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have so far trained 14 people, 4 of whom work with us at the company

About 20 people die in the slums of Nairobi in crime related instances each week. This means that every year we lose more than 1000 people through crime, and the number is even higher when we add to it the drugs issue. 2 out of 5 youth aged between 18-25 years is abusing drugs, of which one is a perennial addict.

This is the right time for us because the Kenyan government passed into law a policy that requires all media houses to broadcast at least 40% of local content in their local programming, a majority of which has raised concerns that there isn’t enough content to keep up with this law. The Internet also is presenting content creators a unique opportunity to earn revenue out of their creativity.

I am thankful for the opportunity at the DO School, for currently we are working on scaling-up to building the Blackboy media lab. This will be a modern media lab for media productions, training and mentoring young people especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those involved in crime and drug abuse. My aim is to create an ecosystem of mentorship and personal growth to disrupt the landscape of Kenyan media.

Mike Mulure, Kenya