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Why The Entire Kenyan entertainment fraternity is mourning Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore


By Elee Global

On 1st July, 2019 President Kenyatta joined Kenyans to mourn the death of Safaricom Ltd CEO Bob Collymore which occurred at his Karen home.

In an official statement by the head of state as seen on State House’s twitter page, the President stated that “It is with deep sadness that I have this morning received news of the death of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore after years of battling cancer. As a country, we’ve lost a distinguished corporate leader whose contribution to our national wellbeing will be missed” ~ H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta

Bob Collymore had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia that led him to travel to the UK to receive treatment. He however resumed his duties at Safaricom in July 2018 after a contract extension to 2020.

Having joined Safaricom in 2010, Bob Collymore has been involved in a number of notable projects in the music and entertainment industry.

1. Safaricom Jazz Festival.

Being Collymore’s brainchild and arguably Kenya’s top music event which has truly contributed much in growing the jazz genre in Kenya since its inception, it has been able transform many lives. Notable beneficiaries of this project include Nairobi Horns Project and Shamsi  Music.

“We hope that this kind of exposure will help them grow, as well as grow the market for live jazz music in Kenya and therefore make it profession that more talented musicians can make a living from,” said Collymore. Quote courtesy of Standard Media Entertainment.

2. Ghetto Classics

Ghetto Classics is a ‘non-profit, community-based programme that seeks to transform the lives of youth from underprivileged backgrounds by introducing them to the world of live jazz and classical music.’ According to an article by the project was Supported by proceeds from the Safaricom Jazz Festival.

The article goes on to note that the programme aims at transforming the lives of over 650 underprivileged children though music education, in a bid to provide them with opportunities to better themselves and their communities.

Ghetto Classics is currently targeting children from Mukuru kwa Reuben, Korogocho, Huruma, Dandora and students from Farasi Lane Primary School and Muthangari Primary School in Nairobi. (continued the artlcle)

Aside from equipping them with skills in live music performance, the programme also provides them with income generating opportunities to enable the children break the cycle of poverty many of them are born into.

“For me, the truly inspiring element of the festival is the opportunity to allow children from less privileged parts of Kenya to access music,” Collymore said.


  1. Niko na Safaricom Live.

Launched in 2012 under his tenure at Safaricom Ltd with the objective of improving the Kenyan music and entertainment community, the project managed to improve the Kenyan showbiz scene by opening new opportunities to artists and thus building thier overall brands.  Initial beneficiaries include The legendary Sauti Sol, Jaguar who cuurently is Starehe MP, Size 8, Jimmy Gait, Camp Mulla, and the famous Media personality and MCEE Jalango.

Other beneficiaries of the project include Kidum, Gloria Muliro, Daddy Owen, P-Unit, Octopizzo, comedian Eric Omondi and decksman Dj Kaytrixx among many more. “The objective of the ‘Niko Na Safaricom Live’ tours is to “bring transformation to the local music scene.” – Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.


Safaricom Launched Blaze summits that were initially focused on transforming Kenyan youth through training programs designed by partners to build entrepreneurial skills. Mentorship workshops were conducted by successful artists and entreprenuers.

Among the creatives featured by Safaricom include Caleb Karuga of Wendy Farms, Bryan Wanyama of Matwana Matatu Culture and Wycliffe Waweru of Play Guru Ltd – a bicycle assembly line, video director, J Blessing, serial entrepreneur Erick Kinoti, singer-songwriter Fena Gitu, comedian MCA Tricky, music producers and filmmakers Enos Olik and Tosh Gitonga, on-screen stars Abel Mutua and Catherine Kamau among others. (List courtesy of

3. Twaweza Live.

Having graduated from Niko Na Safaricom Live, this has been able to offer artists with the necessary platform to showcase their art thus enabling them to earn handsomely and meet new fans while networking with other successful brands.

Also according to Towards the end 2017, Safaricom partnered with two Kenyan acts for their individual album launches: Redsan’s ‘Baddest’ in September and King Kaka’s ‘Eastlando Royalty’ in November, both of which were huge successes.


Even though this service was launched at the helm of Michael Joseph’s tenure, Safaricom Skiza tunes service is without a doubt a major artist revenue generation feature created for the entertainment industry. The service has over the years grown to become the best ringback call provider thus enabling creatives to earn.


Launched in 2018 February by Safricom Ltd. According to its playstore description, SONGA is a music streaming app that gives you unlimited access to millions of songs and your entire music library — totally ad-free. Listen to playlists packed with top songs and sounds by the hottest artists, African and International.  Listen to your music on-demand, online or offline, wherever and whenever you want, and have music at your fingertips for waking up, chilling out and living life. Songa’s music editors and smart technology help you discover new music and songs that match your personal taste and emotion.