Ali Manzu is a Senior KTN Kiswahili News Anchor, Editor, and Reporter of Standard Group SGL. Having started as an architect, the seasoned journalist transitioned to communication after realizing that there were fewer opportunities for him in that field.
Manzu walked into the KTN studios with only a diploma but is now scheduled to graduate with a Master’s degree in communication from the United States International University Africa (USIU).
He speaks on why his growth in the Kenyan media scene as well as why he has stuck with KTN for over a decade despite getting better monetary offers from rival stations.
13 years in one TV station in this day and age is quite a track record. Why the faithfulness to one station?
I have gotten offers from different media houses over the years. The reason why I stayed at KTN is, I have always seen room for the kind of growth I was working towards here. I’m a very patient and calculating person. I take time before making major decisions. I analyse whether the change or move I’m about to make is in tandem with my goals and whether the environment I am in has room for the kind of growth I’m working towards. KTN has offered me numerous platforms for growth. This is, in part, why have stayed this long.
How does one remain relevant with all the changes happening in mainstream media?
The virtue of hard work remains a very important key. The ability to adjust to the changing times is also key; figuring out the relevant tools required with every shift. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that we capitalize on virtual platforms.
How has furthering your education come as an asset
The media space is constantly evolving, the speed at which things are shifting is fast. Going forward, I need to equip myself for the future. Furthering my education is one of the ways I am equipping myself for the changes ahead. Knowledge is power, it gives one access.
What is the greatest challenge you have encountered in your career
One, understanding that I am a brand and conducting myself in that capacity has been quite the learning curve. There are two sides to that coin. On one hand, people have certain expectations about my life that are just not my reality as far as lifestyle and attitude are concerned. The other side of that coin looks like opportunities, this is the sweet side.
The other challenge that I have had to learn how to deal with overtime is balancing between work and making time to spend with my family. It is an art I’m still working on but I set time aside every week to give my wife and two daughters undivided attention. I also endeavour to visit my mother once every month.
You come across as a very approachable and humble person. What’s your secret?
I respect other people regardless of where they are coming from. I come from a humble background, with particular values having been instilled in me as I grew up. That has worked to the end of seeing all people as valuable.
How have you managed to package yourself in a way that allows you to tap into other sources of income?
The kind of stories I have focused on over the years have in part become my greatest advantage; Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sexual reproductive health etc. In summary, stories that help the society I am living in. This has attracted organizations that wanted to partner with me to either tell those stories or bring some other kind of difference to these communities.
What is your advice to young people?
Make yourself versatile and diversify your gift. In this day and age being multi-skilled will make you better placed to harness the available opportunities. For example, I’m a news anchor, a reporter, radio presenter, news editor etc. The days for focusing on just one area within an industry are long gone.