Many Kenyans know Jeff Koinange as one of Kenya’s most recognizable and well paid media personalities, but the Citizen TV talk-show host and news anchor is a man of many passions and talents.
The former CNN presenter is a huge fan of African art, and his personal collection includes the works of artists from across the continent. He has previously listed Jak Katarikawe, Edus Ogiugu, Augusta Kassis and Bimbo Adebugba as being among the talented African artists he has met in the course of his work. He also uses his social media pages to promote various artists, and can be found at art exhibitions happening in Nairobi.
“I love African art….I think every artist known to mankind has had some kind of influence from Africa,” he told a fan in 2012.
At one point, Koinange had dedicated an entire Ksh65 million four-bedroom villa in Nairobi’s upmarket Kitisuru neighborhood to housing his art collection, believed to be worth millions of shillings. This came to light in 2020 as NCBA sought to auction two villas over a Ksh200 million loan issued to Koinange. He was living in one of the villas and had rented the other, previously used to store his art collection. The parties eventually struck a deal allowing Koinange to keep the homes.
While he makes his money primarily from media, marketing and MC’ing corporate events, the Emmy-award winning journalist also makes some money from his love and passion for art. He revealed in a 2014 interview that he gets a 10% commission whenever he connects buyers with his favorite artists.
He explained that many of the guests to his home find themselves stunned by the works of art hanging on the walls, and enquire about how they can get such fine art themselves. Jeff, however, doesn’t consider it much of a side-hustle.
“Like a side hustle? No. Look, when we host guests for barbeque and they see my paintings and inquire, I hook them up with the artists and when they buy I get my 10 per cent boom!” he disclosed.
As a bona fide asset class, art is big business globally. This week, for instance, the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s personal collection of paintings and sculptures sold for a record $1.5 billion at an auction. It included works by artists including Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh.
The auction house, Christie’s in New York, stated that it was highest amount ever collected at a single art auction.