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Kenya News Agency
Mukasu International Band
Jacob William MaundaÂ Maunda joined the Ministry of Information in 1977 and doubled up as a Kenya News Agency reporterÂ and Voice of Kenya (VoK) newscaster.
The government was to later sponsor him to study for a diploma in journalism at the Kenya Institute ofÂ Mass Communication from 1986 to 1989. After his graduation, Maunda moved to VoK as a reporter and newscaster for radio and television. In 2001, Maunda took early retirement to concentrate on music.Â In 2004, he was brieï¬‚y deployed as a lecturer at KIMC before quitting to join Mbaitu FM, a KikambaÂ vernacular radio station. After only a month at Mbaitu FM, Maunda resigned to join Musyi FM, yetÂ another Kikamba vernacular radio station under Royal Media Services. He was a senior news anchor and head of news till his death in August 2012.
December 29th, just a few days before the New Year, Twana Twitu was visited by Jacob Maunda, Michael Kyalo, Shadrack Ilava, Ngandi Mungála, Angela Mwikali, Syombua Mwele, Samuel Mutuku and Zedekiah Musyoki of Royal Media's Musyi FM.
Once settled in, their Assistant Director, Jacob William Maunda, introduced the team requesting them to say hello to their anxious audience. Blessed by their Director, Nzau Kalulu, their message was both powerful and kind: Jacob Maunda started by thanking the caregivers for giving the Musyi Crew their day and stressed that since children are tomorrow's leaders, they should be taken good care of. It is their right. But in doing so, he pointed out, that with every right came a responsibility and that on their part, the children needed obey and respect their guardians.
At 58, Jacob William Maunda is still going strong, musically.Although many of his music age-sets have gone under, he is promising his audience more hits this year. At a tender age, the music bug hit Maunda when he joined the school choir in Tanzania where his father William Kiongo worked as an East Africa locomotive driver.Maunda has juggled music, journalism and family, jumping ship from choir to choir and band to band.Pictures: Nanjinia WamuswaIn 1972, aged 22, Maunda and others formed the East Africa Community Boys' Band for entertainment at various functions.He was the vocalist and bass guitar player. Two years later, he joined Tengevu Lutheran Church Choir.Under Maunda's guidance, the choir took lead in a competition in the wider North Diocese region of Tanzania. "Even the famous ‘Arusha Mjini Choir' could not match us.We would beat them in every competition," he says. However, the choir collapsed in 1979 and Maunda returned to Kenya.Together with others they formed Halleluyah Messengers Band.It is here that he started recording music mainly in his vernacular, ‘Kikamba'.He was later to quit the band citing insecurity. Maunda would later go solo and performed as a one man-guitarist.This was not for long because soon he founded Mukasu International Band and Mukaa International Choir which later gave rise to Orchestra Mukaa Super International Band.It was through this last band that he recorded songs like Baba Yenu Mlevi, Shangilia Christmas, Jirani Acheni Roho Mbaya and Nahangaika Mombasa among many other vernacular hits.To date, Maunda has over 40 songs to his name.But Nahangaika Mombasa was an instant hit when it was released and remains the best to date.To him age is gold and that is why he is telling his audience to brace for even more hits this year. In 2005, Maunda approached Peter Kanyi and John Nzenze and picked a number of their hits and released a Video Compact Disc that is doing well in the market. Although his maternal grandfather and his mother were musicians, Maunda does not believe he inherited his music prowess from them.A man keen on multi-tasking, Maunda has since juggled music, journalism and family, jumping ship from choir to choir and band to band in a music career spanning close to four decades. "I have juggled music and journalism and have never regretted," he says. Away from music, Maunda joined the East African Community Centre college of Tanzania in 1974, graduating with secretarial and communications course.He then joined the Ministry of Information in 1977 and doubled as a reporter with Kenya News Agency (KNA).He was also a newscaster with the Voice of Kenya (VoK). Career in the mediaIn 1989 immediately after graduating with a Diploma in Journalism from the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication through a government scholarship, Maunda left KNA for VoK as a reporter-cum-newscaster for both radio and television. He retired in 2001 at the age of 50 to concentrate fully on music. Maunda also had a short stint as a lecturer at the KIMC in 2004, before quitting to join Mbaitu FM, a Kamba vernacular radio station.He was to leave the station for yet another Kamba station, Musyi FM - a vernacular radio station of Royal Media Services, as senior news anchor, editor and head of news department."Music to me equals journalism.Through music, l communicate to society in the same manner l do as a journalist," he says.Each of his songs targets certain groups of people.During last year's General Election, Maunda composed Musumbi Witu (Our President) in praise of Kibaki.In 1989 Maunda won in the bands' category in a music competition sponsored by the United Nations on HIV/Aids education.But in the end he didn't receive full payment as agreed before joining the competition. Despite losing huge amounts of money, Maunda says he has greatly benefited from his music career, financially.In fact seven of his sons have followed in his footsteps and are musicians on their own right. But it has not been smooth sailing all along.He says: "The challenges have been in the cost of production.Initially it was very expensive to record a song and band members also needed money which was difficult to get."Maunda has been prey to piracy.He once took somebody to court for stealing his lyrics.
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