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Shaffie Weru on Navigating the Waves of Media Landscape

A prominent figure in Kenya's media and entertainment industry, Shaffie Weru's career has been filled with high achievements and controversies

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A household name in Kenya’s media and entertainment industries, Shaffie Weru boasts a decorated 17-year career in radio that solidified his status as one of the industry’s top earners and most influential personalities. The former Homeboyz radio host disclosed that he was earning a salary of Ksh1 million.

Born and bred in Nairobi’s Golf Course Estate, Shaffie Weru’s ascent in the media landscape has been marked by success, significant milestones and even adversity. “When deductions were made in 2006, my income was around Ksh1.1 million. There was plenty of money flowing. During that period, funds were primarily used for social activities, purchasing luxury vehicles, and I got married early. My eldest child is currently in university, consider that, it’s been 18 years, so I was also covering tuition fees,” he says.

Beginning his education at Toi Primary School and later Chuka High School, Weru pursued Mass Communication studies at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication. His media journey commenced at Royal Media Services as a sports reporter and producer, paving the way for his iconic stint at Kiss FM in 2001.

From humble beginnings as an intern to becoming a revered radio host alongside Kalekye Mumo and Adelle Anyango, Weru’s distinctive voice and engaging persona captivated audiences across the nation.

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During his 14-year tenure at Kiss FM, Weru transcended the confines of music radio by delving into current affairs, lifestyle discussions, and societal issues that resonated with the youth demographic. His innate ability to connect with the younger generation solidified his position as a cultural influencer, shaping dialogues and reflecting the pulse of Kenyan society. In 2019, Weru transitioned to Homeboyz Radio as programs controller, showcasing his versatility in steering radio programming behind the scenes.

However, Weru’s career trajectory faced a turning point in 2021 when controversial remarks during a broadcast led to his dismissal from Homeboyz Radio amid accusations of victim-blaming and insensitivity towards gender-based violence. However, the experienced journalist revealed that his termination was not solely related to his comments but rather a more intricate matter. The incident sparked national conversations on media responsibility, freedom of expression, and the ethical considerations surrounding broadcasting standards.

“When the Covid pandemic emerged, our essential presenter, GMoney, fell ill with the virus, leaving us short-staffed and in need of a replacement. Simultaneously, I was overseeing the transformation of Homeboyz Radio from Homeboyz Entertainment. It was during this time that the challenges started,” he says.

But, he says, it’s crucial to note that the reason for his dismissal wasn’t directly linked to the tweets or the individuals involved. “It revolved around the companies that were investing in me due to my significant role as a presenter. When their clientele began criticising me, the companies themselves came under attack as well,” Shaffie explained.

Despite the challenges, Shaffie Weru displayed resilience by seeking legal recourse against his termination, emphasizing the complex interplay of media freedom, employee conduct, and institutional accountability. While public opinion varied on the matter, highlighting the nuances of media portrayal and societal values, Weru continued to navigate the industry’s dynamic landscape with grace and determination.

In addition to his professional endeavours, Weru’s personal life has been noteworthy, with marriages to Debbie Asila and Joan Jada Mwihaki, as well as his role as a father to three children. His entrepreneurial ventures in real estate, motor vehicle sales, and event management underscore his multifaceted approach to business and industry diversification.

As a prominent figure in Kenya’s media tapestry, Weru’s career exemplifies the complexities, triumphs and challenges that define the landscape of broadcasting and entertainment.

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Steve Wambugu is a journalist based in Nairobi.
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