Matwana Matatu Culture which aired the first season on K24 easily became a crowd favorite and went ahead to win one of Kenya’s most prestigious awards, The Kalasha, and garnered numerous other nominations.
While most fans of Matwana Matatu Culture are aware of what happens in front of the camera, they are clueless about what goes on behind the scenes.
Kinyanjui Mungai aka Kinya The Director is the man behind the scenes, he is the creator of the show from concept to the creation, juggling up to four roles (Script Writer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor) in the show so as to realize the dream. And that he did, Matwana Matatu culture is one of the most viewed Kenyan shows on TV and on Youtube, discussion of the second season is also in the offing.
Fun Fact, Kinyanjui was born and raised in Eldoret (Shout out Langas Estate), Went to Uasin Gishu high school then joined Moi University and later moved to Nairobi where he is currently based. In December, Eldoret Leo met up with Kinyanjui for a chat. This is what he had to say.
What’s the driving force behind what you do now?
Simple, tell my stories and make money while at it. I happen to have been blessed with a very imaginative mind that thinks of mostly weird and silly things. The beauty of it is that my job allows me to express some of that madness and call it creativity. The remark on my nursery school report card said that I was a great storyteller. I loved stories growing up and loved to tell them. Guess What I do now is an extension of that. Storytelling aside, production is big business across the world and if I can work (which honestly is play to me) and make money while at it then I’m living the life.
If you were not doing what you do now (Director/ Editor) what would you be doing?
I’d probably be a journalist (Fyuks thank God that didn’t work out) or a technician. I’ve always been good with my hands since I was a kid. I loved to play with electronics trying to figure out how stuff works and I was able to mostly teach myself how to fix things. A skill that comes in super handy (get it!) in my current profession. On the side note people who keep telling me I should have been an engineer when they see me repairing things in the office please stop it is annoying lol!
What Inspired the show Matwana Matatu Culture?
I think it was the dying need inside me to tell the story of how I and a bunch of other crazy people love this madness called Matatus. Oh and the fact that it’s a truly unique thing we have in Kenya and nowhere else in the world. Also, every time am riding a mathree and having an awesome time I’d be thinking to myself Maen I need to do a Matatu show.
What was the feeling like to win the Kalasha award?
To be honest, I’m not big on feelings, but for the sake of this interview I will conjure up those ‘feelings’. It was great, to say the least, considering how much work and sweat we had put in that production. It was also a great recognition for a Newbie like myself to have won that award. I was so happy for a few hours then I was back to kawaida feelings because I still haven’t gotten that Oscar but Kalasha was a huge step in the right direction.
What’s next for you, which project are you currently working on any plans of doing something in Eldoret (Production wise)?
Right now I’m pretty much tying loose ends and finishing some corporate Ads I had done last year and spilled over to the New Year. (Which btw you never get credit for because it’s an Ad). For 2018 am expanding my reach into more drama content and am actually collaborating with crazy like-minded individual writers to bring to life great stories.
As for Eldoret I would love to do projects in Eldy this being my hometown (Langas Sacco Apantambua wengine copycats) but unfortunately, money hasn’t called me to those sides yet smiley face (and I’m not saying money is the priority here). I only come to see my mum and siblings. I would actually love and am really interested to do projects in Eldoret and show people that we don’t just run. I for one can’t run for shit. I’d also like to show the kind of amazing talent that resides in Eldy like me and so many other people for example. In nbi when you tell someone you are from Eldy they always say that you don’t look like you come from there and you wonder kwani how do people in Eldy look like. Most people I’ve met in Eldy look just like me most are smarter and waay cooler than I am tbh (To be honest).
What is the main challenge in your profession?
Approvals and Budgets. It sucks so badly when someone tells you how to do your job yet you are the expert who has been hired to do that job. The thing about our job is that everyone interacts with media so that makes them believe they are experts yet in truth, we spend so much time and money perfecting our craft it’s not a joke man. As for budgets that’s a tad obvious. Hakuna pesa. But for those of us who will it, we always find a way to make it work. It’s also a tough industry marred by corruption and nepotism it’s sad. But hey there’s YouTube
Despite the challenges what keeps you going?
Honestly God’s grace. The determination to succeed as well. If other people made it why not you?
What message do you have for the boy child and his struggles?
Dear boy child achana na pesa ya haraka. Nothing good comes easy and don’t be told otherwise. Take pride in spending money you’ve earned through your sweat. Hiyo pesa hukua tamu sana. And keep grinding, keep pushing success is not for the weak. Your time will come
Ufisi achia ma-sufferer tafuta pesa kwanza hiyo nyama itakufwata.
Which is your Zodiac sign? Does it have anything to do with your personality?
Pisces and yes it has a lot to do with my personality. I am very empathetic and emotionally involved in everything I do. My work, for example, feels like an extension of my soul. I am RARELY jealous and if you think I am I’m most likely faking it to make someone feel better. Am very imaginative and 99% a happy person. I also hate strict discipline – Come on! Rules are meant to be bent. Thanks to Google for giving me all those deep things to say about myself. lol Halafu nakuanga mjinga saana
Before you hit 40 years, what is that one thing you’d like to Learn or do, the 1 person you’d like to meet, and the one place you’d like to visit.
That’s a very hard question to answer because I tend to set short-term goals. For places I’d like to visit honestly everywhere I can go. I tend to be happy anywhere I am. As for the one person, I’d like to meet that’s also really hard. You see I’m not big on personalities or celebrities really so there is really no one I’d like to meet. But if that was a wish then I’d wish to see my dad again. Also, I’d like to meet older me and ask him what to invest in right now that would big 20 years from now. Boom!
Eldoret Leo celebrates individuals like Kinya who venture out into the unknown and conquer the world the best way they know how.
You’ve got questions for Kinya?
@em_kinya – Instagram
Em Kinyanjui – Facebook