Sunday, January 20, 2019

What we can learn from comedian Njugush, the young man has been through hell, success doesn't happen overnight(READ)

What we can learn from comedian Njugush, the young man has been through hell, success doesn't happen overnight(READ)
By Shem Beverton.

That morning Njugush, born Timothy Kimani, woke up to a million missed calls that chilled his spine with anxiety and filled him with a sense of foreboding. Something must have gone wrong for so many folks to try to reach him on phone. He quickly logged into social media and was met with quite a number of notifications, which were more than usual, heightening his anxiety. That's when things were laid bare for him.

Folks had tagged him in tens of posts informing him of something unbelievable! Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o had sent him a shout-out in a tweet. At first it had seemed like a prank but after visiting the '12 Years a Slave' actress's Twitter handle, reality dawned on him. Nothing was as humbling as that heart-warming tweet. For him it was validation of his talent by one of Hollywood's best. A framed screenshot of the tweet adorns one of the walls of his house.

"It was a humbling moment for me to be mentioned by the Oscar award-winning Lupita Nyong'o in a tweet, " he told a television programme.

Born in a deeply religious family in Meru and brought up in Central Kenya, the journey to occupying the pantheon of Kenya's most talented comedians and becoming one of the most sought after MCs was quite a daunting one. It started with childhood dreams. As he pounded the long path to school every morning, he was possessed of the desire to one day own a brick house like the one that stood a stone's throwaway from their timber and corrugated-iron-roofed house.

His first brush with acting came when, as a small kid, his mother prodded him to volunteer in spite of himself to be part of their local church's drama team. He did well playing the role of a biblical character and was quite amazed by the attention and the sustained applause his impeccable performance generated from the wowed congregation. It was a moment in the spotlight that filled him with pride and a sense of achievement. It ignited a passion for acting.

In primary school, he never got much of a chance to dabble in acting as he would have wanted. It's only when he joined secondary school that he got that chance in his final year. He enrolled at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) to pursue a journalism course. At the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication he engaged his passion full time. Without a room of his own, he would spend a better part of his nights rehearsing with members of the institute's drama club. He was hosted by a friend called Gerald Ndung'u, a man he considers his best friend, and he would return late in the night after rehearsals. When he got a chance to act onstage at KIMC, he grabbed the chance with both hands and ran away with it. His barn-burning performance left the audience with aching ribs. Abel Mutua, a revered screen-writer, would spot him and take his contacts, promising to get in touch 'should something come up.'

It is while at the institute that he befriended this beautiful lady with a heart of gold and a smile to kill for. They would after sometime fall in love. All this while, Njugush had had a nagging fear that the relationship would die as he was not one of those boys whose pockets were flush with money that they could splash on girls. Celestine was always loyal, most of the times she dug her pockets to support her boyfriend.

After graduating from KIMC and uncertain of his prospects, he rented a bed-sitter. "I don't think I can give you the life that an angel like you truly deserves. We should part ways, " he would tell her girlfriend but Celestine would hear none of it. She truly loved Njugush and she would stick around through thick and thin. Stick she did.

One day, his phone would ring. It was Abel Mutua who wanted him to be part of the cast of a comical show called 'Hapa Kule' to be aired on one of the mainstream Tv stations. Seeing himself on Tv when the show aired was quite something. Everybody in the village was called. He would later join 'The Real House Helps of Kawangware' as a minor actor where he would confound expectations. His unique acting and knack for comical punchlines struck a chord with viewers who demanded more of him. There was an outpouring of love on social media for him.

Today Njugush is a household name with a national appeal. His string of brand endorsements and huge social media following is testament to his undeniable talent. Firms in the corporate world are falling over themselves to have him endorse their brands. "My head is sometimes in a spin because of the overwhelming number of clients I get," he says flashing his disarming smile. In spite of his huge commercial success, the convincingly talented comedian remains impossibly humble. "You have to be humble because you don't know about tomorrow. This industry is too small to disrespect people. That humility is what has made me reach this far and I want to stay that way, " he says.

Lessons:

1. Dreams have meaning only when they are pursued. Chase your dreams until they become reality. Don't sit on your laurels.

2. Walk with people who help you realise your dream. They will connect you to opportunities.

3. Relationships are serious things. Get into one with people who are real and who love you in spite of your situation. Avoid people who will drive you to the wall to live a life beyond your means.

4. Learn to discern opportunities when they pop up. Open your eyes and see. The difference between those who succeed and those who don't is their ability to detect opportunities.

5. Opportunities are given to people who are self-driven, who are willing to go the extra mile.

6. Humility is key in all endeavours. Be humble always even when at the top of the game.

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