This year has been tough for everyone but in the face of adversity, some Kenyan personalities have excelled and done some amazing things.
Kenyans have been on the spotlight for one reason or another, from our top athletes to Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar win. These wins not only become personal accomplishments but the pride and joy of the country as well.
Last year, the greatest marathoner of all time, Eliud Kipchoge achieved a major milestone with the INEOS 1.59 challenge, a fete that earned him top accolades and a GQ cover to match in April 2020.
On the entertainment front, two Kenyan made movies namely Sincerely Daisy and 40 Sticks premiered on the number one streaming platform in the world, Netflix.
With that said, here are some of the Kenyan personalities who have kicked ass this 2020.
Former The Trend host Larry Madowo is one of Kenya’s best media export, he levelled up to the BBC and in the last two years, he has solidified his mark in the international media space.
After a brief hiatus studying at Columbia University, Madowo is currently reporting and anchoring for BBC World in North America. For the last couple of months, he has covered everything from the coronavirus pandemic to the US elections.
The Kenyan journalist recently revealed that he was the first black person to ever deliver a lecture at Canada’s Carleton University school of journalism in the last 24 years. As reported by The Sauce he has also received sevral accolades inclusing being listed among 100 most influential Africans in 2020 and in May 2020, he was also voted the winner of the 2020 Philip Greer Award for his Financial Writing at the Columbia University (Journalism School) in New York.
Social media sensation Elsa Majimbo is on the rise and no one can stop her star from shinning. Despite her craft going unnoticed and unappreciated in her home country in Kenya, Majimbo has found recognition and success in lands far away.
With over one million followers on Instagram, this 19-year-old comedian has secured the bag on social media platforms with her satirical monologues. Following her viral comic antics, she has become a brand ambassador for top beauty brand MAC as well as Rihanna’s Fenty sunglasses.
Majimbo has been featured on top publications and media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Vogue, Forbes, Allure, Glamour, Billboard, E! and many more. In November 2020, she won E! People’s Choice award for the African Social star of the year and she recently announced that she bagged another accolade on social media from GQ South Africa as the Entertainer of the year.
She has received recognition from the likes of Oscar award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, rapper Snoop Dogg, top YouTube star Lilly Singh, Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi as well as supermodel Naomi Campbell. Campbell and Majimbo have been spotted in Nairobi this past weekend with Majimbo appearing on a new episode of Naomi’s YouTube show dubbed ‘No Filter With Naomi’.
Kenya’s top boy band Sauti Sol have flown the Kenyan flag high internationally with sold out shows and amazing music.
At the beginning of 2020, Sauti Sol made up of Bien Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, Willis Chimano and Polycarp ‘Fancy Fingers’ Otieno landed a mega deal with Universal Music Africa as reported by The Sauce.
The partnership with Universal bore fruit in June of 2020 when the award-winning group released their much anticipated 5th studio album dubbed ‘Midnight Train’ which is the perfect fusion of finesse, culture, good vibes and great music. The album features songs like Suzzanna, Brighter Days with Soweto Gospel Choir, My Everything with Indi Arie, Disco Matanga with Sho Madjozi and many more.
Sauti Sol has also landed some top collaborations from various African artists such as Nigeria’s Burna Boy on his album Twice As Tall produced by Diddy, Nigeria’s Patoranking on his album Three, Nigeria’s Davido on his album A Better Time, Nigerian songstress Niniola on her album Colours and Sounds and South Africa’s Sun El Musician on his album To The World And Beyond.
Despite their latest show cancellation due to COVID -19 restrictions, the group put up an amazing online show on YouTube a couple of months ago to celebrate their new album and performed at the virtual Essence Festival in June 2020.
At the beginning of the year, Azziad Nasenya was a little known student at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication but her loe for dancing and social media became her breakthrough.
When the song Utawezana by rapper Femi One and Mejja was released in April 2020, Kenyans had just been issued with lock down protocols therefore a dance challenge was enticing.
Azziad’s belly dancing to Utawezana went viral on TikTok shortly after the song was released and she catapulted to fame. She landed brand partnerships, received accolades and even landed a role in one Kenya’s top TV drama series, ‘Selina.’
As recently reported by The Sauce, Azziad was named among the top 10 TikTok creators of 2020 by TikTok Kenya.
Eric Omondi is one of Africa’s top comedians and now he is moving on up in the industry by becoming more than just an entertainer.
The father of one took his love for entertainment to the next level by opening a one of a kind studios dubbed Big Tyme Entertainment in November 2020. The studios serve as an amazing location for entertainers and creators who would like to shoot content, it features different studio setups, aeroplane and vintage cars.
Omondi’s vision of nurturing homegrown talent with every creator’s dream studios is straight out of Tyler Perry’s book who in 2019 became the first African American to launch a $900M production studio as reported by The Sauce.
Shortly after, Omondi whose romance with Italian beauty Chantal was highly publicized, annouced the debut of his own reality show dubbed ‘Wife Material’ featuring nine women which airs on YouTube. The show has garnered thousands of viewers and has received both good and bad reviews online.
Omondi recently released a song titled Wife Material that has since amassed over 150,000 views on YouTube.
Amina Abdi Rabar
Media personality Amina Abdi Rabar is part woman and part amazing as she embodies Alicia Keys’ Superwoman song.
In short, Amina can do it all, balance her work and family life. Before hanging up the mic at Capital FM, Amina alongside her then Breakfast show cohost Fareed Khimani made history on Kenyan radio for being on air for 48 hours.
The seasoned event’s host earned her a top gig earlier this year at the 7th edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) in Lagos, Nigeria becoming the first East African to host the awards show. As reported by The Sauce in March 2020, the mother of one stunned the continent with her prowess on stage as she hosted the Pan-African event.
The bubbly, fashionable and multitalented star recently celebrated one million followers on Instagram.
David Avido popularly known as Looks Like Avido is a gamechanger in the fashion industry who is making big moves.
Avido is a young man from the slums of Kibera who exports the African print to the world. Avido’s creations have been worn by the likes of Beyonce, Konshens, Etana and so many more superstars.
Avido’s steady rise and dedication to his work was culminated this year with a number of successes. In Agust 2020, the popular fashion designer announced that he had been part of Beyonce’s ‘Black is King’ album. He posted a screenshot from the 14 time Grammy award winner’s website that recognized all the African designers she worked with on the project.
That is not all, back in February 2020, LooksLikeAvido was featured on one of the world’s top fashion magazine Vogue Italia where he spoke about his love for his work, accomplishments and sustainable fashion.
Other Kenyans who have made major strides this year include Khaligraph Jones with his BET Award nomination, Social media personality Xtian Dela with his highly viewed Club Covid, Capital FM’s DJ Joe Mfalme with his online party show Club Quarantine and Xenia Manasseh with her writing credits on Teyana Taylor’s latest project, ‘The Album’.