Lifestyle’s Collins Mwai looks at the rise of Georgie Ndirangu from humble beginnings to one of the most prominent radio and television news anchors in the country At 8pm every week day, viewers of TELE 10 TV get glued to their screens for the English newscast.
Georgie Ndirangu comes on the screen in a shimmering blue suit and, with his crisp voice, tells viewers about the day's major events. He sits composed, aware that his job does not allow second takes or editing – it is live. But despite the accuracy and preciseness required, he does not come off as nervous or uneasy – he has the same composure and physical expressions he has when talking to someone off-air. It is as if he is always practicing.
Coming to Rwanda
Ndirangu, who was born and brought up in Kenya, first came to Rwanda in 2012 to work on a media project in Ruhengeri. But at the end of his contract, he liked what he’d seen in Rwanda and decided to stay a little longer. He looked around for a job and, thankfully, got one with Radio 10 as a news anchor.
“There are a lot of things I like about Rwanda: there is less social pressure, people here are very beautiful, and the capital city is very organised,” he says of his host country.
In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explains that successful people are what they are because they are at the right place, at the right time, with the right skill. Ndirangu’s debut on Rwandan TV is testimony to this.
He says: “I had never thought of working on TV. When the opportunity came, I had been working on radio long enough so I had acquired broadcast skills. During interviews I gave the panel a reason to hire me.”
Ndirangu, who studied Actuarial Science at the university, says he does not regret taking a different career path. “Working on TV has made me more conscious. It has enabled me to use fewer words to mean a lot. I think through what I am about to say and calculate the weight of my words.”
Of all the things he thought he would be, TV anchoring was not on his list. “I studied Actuarial Science at campus and even worked with the Ministry of Housing (in Kenya). But initially I thought I’d be a pilot. In fact, being locked out at the final stages of the aviation school intake is the biggest disappointment I have ever had.”
He sheds more light on how his aviation dreams were shattered during the final stages of the application process: “I passed all the stages but the last one. I had even gotten a visa to South Africa where the training was to take place. I missed being a pilot by a point or two.”
Ndirangu credits his mother for being a source of inspiration. “I was brought up almost solely by my mother. My father went abroad when I was still young and didn’t return until after I had completed high school. From her I learnt important life lessons like to never look down on people,” says Ndirangu, who is the second born in a family of three.
So has TV changed his lifestyle in a way? “I still ride on motos or use Twegerane (18-seater taxis) to move around town,” he says.
Other than presenting news on TV, Ndirangu is also the CEO of 2DIE4, a fashion house in Kigali. He also works as a financial consultant and produces content for TV. “I am able to juggle the three because I learnt the importance of planning my time. It is a constant challenge but the best thing about it is that it makes me a better person. Time is limited; if you don’t plan it well, you can’t get it back,” he says.
Ndirangu says he is at a transition stage in his life. “I am transiting from a big boy to a young man, and I am no longer in doubt of who I am or what I want to be.”
Once in a while Ndirangu also models for various brands’ commercials. “A while back I was so into modeling. But not anymore. You see, when several people start doing what you are doing, just know that it’s time for you to move on,” he says.
Ndirangu looks up to BBC news anchor Khumalo Dummo and business mogul Shawn Carter (JayZ).
For anyone looking to better their lives or get somewhere in life, Ndirangu advises that there is no place for people who do things half-heartedly.
“In a world where only the best survive, you have to stand out to fit in and avoid doing things halfway,” he says on a last note.