Salummy's Random Pen

BLAZE with Thandiwe Muriu

So the long awaited Friday was here with us and we were all well prepared to go to this amazing Safaricom function, to be more specific “Blaze “BYOB Summit”. I am the type that will never miss out on a summit that I hear of as long as it’s affordable and it seems to have a lot in store. So Blaze hit Moi like a volcano and we were all like, have you gotten your ticket?” It was a different feeling! Personally I wished to see Rachel and take a selfie with her, those selfies that you take and show your kids in future (Nilikuwa star, acha sasa niwalee nyinyi)


We left for Eldoret Sports Club at around 8:00 am, it was a chilly morning. The crowd I saw left me mouth agape; I did not expect to see such a crowd it seemed like one of those high school trips! I cannot fail to recognize the efforts of Nicy Amala and Emmanuel Yegon, they did a great job subscribing more than 500 people to attend the event, it was wow (persuausion ya kununua ticko nayo!)

Euphoric, we arrived at the sports club and the security was amazing, I almost thought Obama was in there. The arrangement was all heavenly. I will never underestimate Safaricom’s events, NEVER!

So we get in, we get gifts. Blaze T-shirts or key holder, your choice! Free airtime and redeemable vouchers to earn amazing Blaze prizes. There were games like hoover board, laser tag, laser maze (this one you were supposed to pass through some laser light without necessarily being touched by the rays and since I am very small, I managed to pass through while some American heights were trying to slide down, I was actually bursting out in laughter, thanking the Gracious), bubble soccer, VR gaming, among others.

This is actually not the reason I am writing this post. This post is solely for the one and only, Thandiwe Muriu. This lady so much reminded me of my mother and I had to actually call her and tell her, “Mum, I saw a woman like you! A female photographer rated amongst the top 10 photographers, you are next”. She laughed and said, “Kauthar, grasp as much as you can from her”

photography-by-thandiwe-muriu-11picture, courtesy of Thandiwe

Actually, this lady is 25 years of age and she started working as a photographer at the tender age of 15. At that age what were we doing? (Busy eating mabuyu and yawning aimlessly waiting for the Physics teacher to leave the class) So when she was young, she had these savings boxes, like three of them (one for God, meaning for orphans and the needy, the others were for savings) So she would save and when she was 15, her parents knew she was old enough to take care of her own money and guess how much she had?, Kshs 100,000!

She started with the basics, what we always start with, a rough guess? Yes, you got it, clouds and nature. She then moved to human beings. She would take pictures of her sister while she acted out as a model and post them out in Facebook. They have said and it will be repeated forever, “Social media is the in-thing, if you are still moving analogue, keep crawling, we shall meet you in heaven”

Beauty Sevenpicture, courtesy of Thandiwe

Then one day, (in the narrations of successful people, there is always that day that the sun shines the most, this was Thandiwe’s) She had kept some pictures that she had taken on Facebook and someone commented, “Hey, how much do you charge for that, you take nice shots, please let us arrange” That perplexed her, was she really so good? And could she make a career out of her passion? And this again reminds me of the amazing Wiklin Fadhili that started his fashion company with just Kshs 500, Wiklin would always say “Passion Pays”, okay like that is a story for another day.

So with a Kshs 100,000, what was the first plan? To secure a gear camera that would take quality pictures! It was at first confusing to decipher the physics that lies in the camera, and it’s so sad as well as frightening that some subjects like physics will still poke their nose on your business and will never learn to grow up to find their own solutions!

beauty threepicture, courtesy of Thandiwe

So Thandiwe had to know what shutter speed is, what an aperture means, the ISO and how depth of field could possibly transform an image and she would still manage a smile and tell the non-photographers, “Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds” Mind you, Thandiwe didn’t enroll for any Photography classes. Who would have trusted the passion of a 15 year old girl? Who would have even given a loan to a 15 year old, so she actually was lucky that she had some savings!

And someone today may say photography is my cup of coffee and I am a good photographer but just taking from the horse mouth, Thandiwe stated that, “Do you know how hard it takes to understand what camera RAW is as a 15 year old? I had to go through long frustrating hours of research and trial/error and I wish that I had someone to take me through that complicated journey”

Beauty sixpicture, courtesy of Thandiwe

Now now, that is why when she was approached by Blaze, she did not hesitate. Blaze is a platform that empowers you to chase your passions, I agree! But for Thandiwe, Blaze actually made her question a lot of things and it also shaded some light on some bugging issues. “How do you make money as a photographer?” “What do you need to study to be a photographer” and stuff like that.

Her journey with Blaze taught her a lot, one being that Kenya has so many talented people, we are a nation of uniqueness and creativity but what we lack is the ability to celebrate ourselves more, to celebrate artists as much as we honor engineers and doctors.

IMG-20160620-WA0014picture, courtesy of Thandiwe

I have personally liked Thandiwe and she is one successful lady that is so down to earth, so humble, her inside is as beautiful as her outside and those memories that I shared with her on a one-on-one level are memories that I will revere always. Please check out:



Then the funny part came when I was supposed to take pictures with my inspiratory. I was with my friend Tauhida and she is tall, almost Thandiwe’s height. So I gave my phone to Thandiwe to take a very good picture of us and she noticed I was so small and short, she said, “and my girl, you are tiny” I smiled, remembered that I defeated some elephants in the Laser Maze game and said, “Thandiwe, short girls are the cutest” Wiklin was also in the background and we all cracked out our bones, laughing!









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