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Thursday, 15 January 2015


Five minutes past the hour, the TV station was still airing commercials. At this time, major electronic media in Kenya have a news bulletin. Could this channel be breaking from tradition? 10 minutes past the hour, the station switches to news. So fine is the redefined anchor, hardly anyone notices the news was late.

Widely acclaimed locally for presenting news in Kiswahili, the anchor effortlessly executes a flawless delivery of the news in English, much to the amusement of her adoring (male) fans.

But in the lead up to the anchor's saving grace, there was probably a mini, if not a fully-fledged editorial crisis at the TV station, (insert my fertile imagination here).

There's only seconds to one o'clock and still no sign of the designated English News Presenter. The reasons could range from a serious personal emergency, technical hitches in the news studio, a gap in the duty roster, traffic, standoff in the newsroom (it can happen), and so on.

The transmission crew is directed to keep commercials running to buy some time. But when adverts start being repeated, there's need to change tact. Should the newscast be cancelled and a programme put on air? 

Hold on. There's a Kiswahili news presenter in the newsroom, (already assigned a story for both English and Kiswahili bulletins). Indeed, there's nothing wrong with the way she does her English stories.

This proves to be a master stroke by the station managers. The Kiswahili news anchor wows the audience and the social media is awash with her new found 'prowess' in the Queen's language.

Does anyone still remember the news was delayed for a whole 10 minutes? 

Moreover, it should be pleasing to the now bilingual news presenter, that viewers were saying more about her ambidextrous linguistic capabilities, as opposed to merely being platitudinous about her 'fabulous' fashion sense.

Let's show some gratitude for this kind of, 'bring it on' attitude!


Anonymous said...

As much as I agree that the 'bring it' attitude should be applauded but only just. When English is a country's language of instruction, then it is expected that one, especially in the media should be fluent, no? If she had been an exclusively English anchor then read the 7pm bulletin -- that would have been overly impressive. But she'd shown (from her PKGs) that she is a competent bilingual reporter so WOWED wouldn't be my choice of word here --- OK, maybe, but then again, opinions vary.

Albert Gachiri said...

True...opinions vary. You can easily be a bilingual reporter, what with the countless 'takes' at the sound booth. But to deliver a 'debut' Live Newscast without as much as a stutter or stumble on the words, is undoubtedly amazing. And from the buzz she created on social media immediately and hours later, she did WOW the audience, (to the point of them forgetting the news was delayed, as I have pointed out). She's definitely a rare talent.