When Soni Methu landed a role in a local TV drama, little did she know it would start her on her journey to become Kenya’s first journalist to host CNN’s Inside Africa.
Soni, whose new assignment began in August, has taken over from Errol Barnett, following in the footsteps of Jeff Koinange and Zein Verjee who have been correspondents for the international news channel.
Her job will require her to travel and present from countries across the continent to transport viewers of the award-winning program on an exploratory journey through Africa.
Cast as a troubled teenage daughter in KBC’s drama, Hila, Soni, 30, credits this as the defining moment of her career.
“The writer/director, Benjamin Odwor, cast me alongside writer/actor Steve Matias for a small role in a movie. Matias then cast me as his troubled daughter in Hila, a KBC drama produced by Jackie Njagi.”
Methu shared her dream of hosting a talk show that would change people’s lives with the producer who gave a chance to bring to life her self-titled talk show.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
“Jackie helped me create and bring to life Taj Show, a show that still airs on KBC . Jackie, myself and a few other producers drafted, researched and set up all the shows that helped uplift lives.
“We highlighted various plights and social issues from the cost of living with albinism, HIV/AIDS, alcoholism, early marriages and helped match people with resources they needed to get their lives together.”
While Soni credits her success to being in the right place at the right time she has always wanted to be a journalist. The information technology graduate from Strathmore college however felt that she would have been best suited to radio.
“I was never called back for radio, but was always successful in TV. I was mostly in the right place at the right time and every contact and experience was a push or pull to the next level.”
Indeed, Benjamin Odwor would go on to introduce her to Vivid Features, an international media company where she worked for five years. At Vivid she learnt to edit and produce news stories for big clients such as CNN.
By sheer coincidence, Vivid was tasked with finding a reporter in Kenya for South africa’s eNCA.
“During the interview process, I volunteered to assist Robin Kriel, the bureau chief who was in Kenya to find new features. With some encouragement from Robin and my friends, I tried for a screen test and passed.
“I became the East African correspondent reporting on news for eNCA when senior CNN staff spotted me and tapped me for the new role at CNN.”
While her experience in hosting the Taj show is most relevant to her new job at CNN, Soni says she learnt patience and how to better relate with everyone.
However, at eNCA she acquired a wealth of information on the region and the continent preparing her for this new role.
Traversing the region, she has reported on the Westgate attack, Somalia and also taken a sip of the magic cure by Tanzania’s Dr. Ambilikile Mwasapile alias Babu that left her seriously ill.
“I have been fortunate to work where precautions are key. I once got a serious stomach infection from drinking a concoction made by Babu, the famous Tanzanian miracle healer.”
The presenter says the secret to success is her curious nature and restless spirit which has served her well in the industry In contrast, she advises people to watch less TV.
“Watch less TV and mingle with people. It can shape your life if you hang with the right crowd.
Soni says that being named the host of the show is beyond her wildest dreams.
“I feel blessed, living beyond my wildest dreams in term of my career. I have always been surrounded by people who have told me that I am special. I believed them. That attitude helped me believe that I could be in this position, so I worked passionately, persisted, and hoped.
“It is a testament of what dreaming and persistence can accomplish in a world full of possibilities.”
– Article written by KEI
– Source http://www.nation.co.ke