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HomeNewsProf. Magoha's Journey: From Small Eastlands Tough Guy to a Cabinet Secretary

Prof. Magoha’s Journey: From Small Eastlands Tough Guy to a Cabinet Secretary

Prof. Magoha’s Journey: From Small Eastlands Tough Guy to a Cabinet Secretary.

Professor George Magoha, who passed away on January 24, 2023, at Nairobi Hospital, was a multifaceted individual and a highly accomplished person with great fortitude.

He was not tolerant of incompetence, which is why many would not have expected him to participate in a group activity.

During the height of the Jerusalema dance craze in October 2020, several dignitaries, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga, and Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, attended a function in Kisumu.

While the South African dance challenge was being performed and everyone else was dancing, Professor Magoha remained unresponsive, standing with his arms crossed, appearing disinterested as the President and the former Prime Minister danced.

It would be easy to assume that the medical professor was not moved by music.

It was revealed that Prof. George Albert Omore Magoha, an old boy of Starehe Boys Centre and a graduate of Ibadan University, who also served as the country’s Education CS, had a hidden talent as a musician.

The revelation came from a cartoon featured in The Standard, showing a caricature of Prof. Magoha playing the guitar on stage with the Lunna Kidi Band, a band founded by Ochieng Kabaselle, a legendary musician and military veteran.

The cartoon sparked interest and curiosity among readers, with some questioning its authenticity.

However, two days after the publication of the cartoon, Prof. Magoha confirmed during a speech at the launch of a scholarship program that he did indeed play bass guitar with the band before attending Starehe Boys, stating that the discipline in the band is what helped shape him into who he is today.

He also revealed that he served as a deputy commander of a juvenile gang in the tough Jericho neighborhood in Nairobi where he grew up.

However, his time at Starehe Boys Centre, as well as his involvement in the band, played a significant role in turning his life around from a delinquent path.

In his memoirs, “Transforming Leadership,” Magoha writes that he spent several years as a full-time musician with the band, even composing and recording a song at Melodica Studios in Nairobi.

The current president of the band, Babu Kabaselle, stated that Magoha was not just a regular band member, but a close friend of his late father, and that the band was an important part of his life between 1969 and 1972, before he went on to study at Strathmore and the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

LUNNA Kidi, which translates to “pave way for the sons of Africa,” had been in existence for 30 years by the time the band’s founder passed away in 1998 from complications arising from torture he faced at Nyayo House.

The band had a rotating lineup of members, which may explain why Magoha’s involvement was not widely known.

Many notable musicians have played with the band, including Congolese guitarist Bibiley Kabakaba, who also played with Virunga, saxophonist Lawi Somana who also played with Tabuley and Atia Jo and Bukalos, both played with Super Mazembe, Frantal Tabu who played with Vundumuna, local musician John Nzenze, drummer Shaban Onyango, and Onyango Raringo.

Ochieng Kabaselle, a well-known musician, composer, vocalist, and guitarist, was known for his unique fusion of Luo Benga and Congolese Rumba.

However, his alleged involvement in politics led to his arrest in 1986, where he was held incommunicado for months before being charged with sedition.

He was released in 1989 after serving time at King’ong’o Prison in Nyeri.

Kabaselle, who adopted his stage name from Congolese musician Grand Kalle, who founded African Jazz, was discovered by Daudi Kabaka, the legendary King of Twist.

His strict discipline and talent for discovering new musicians was praised by CS Prof Magoha, which may have been instilled in him by his training as an infantry soldier and subsequent service with the Lanet-based 1 KR, where he also played in the military band Scarlet.

Prof. Magoha’s Journey: From Small Eastlands Tough Guy to a Cabinet Secretary


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