Kiiru wa Ngotho is a Kenyan-born film maker. Academically I studied at the University of Namibia, but sort for a practical hands-on experience in creative media arts, thus enrolled at the College of the Arts, Media Arts Department, where I attained a three year Diploma in television production, in 2003. I performed quite well during my course and soon after completing, I was employed as a student instructor in video and sound editing and later on as a lecturer in radio and television productions.
Additionally, from 2003 -2005 I worked as a freelance radio and television producer in the local Namibian media and film industry, where some of my roles entailed editing community based radio and video productions, through this experience I gained adequate knowledge where then I began directing, at fast, I worked on low budget music videos and experimented on different socially driven documentaries for various initiatives and organizations.
From 2006 -2007 I was contracted to the Parliamentary Constituency Channel, MISA Namibia and the Namibia Community Radio Network as a Audio-visual producer. Where I produced and directed various television and radio productions that went on to air on Local and Regional Broadcasting Stations, culminating in co-founding Myndz Community; a grass-root multimedia production/post-production entity, worked as a sound recordist for the feature film “Liberation Struggle of Namibia” and directed my first two films namely, “Lucia” and “Queen Sistah”
In 2008-2010 I was based in London,where I worked as a freelance film maker and photographer. Some of the projects I worked on entailed producing and directing Spoken Word artist profiles and releases for indie labels, short films and podcast inserts revolving around social justice and environmental issues. On the aftermath of the 2011 “London Riots” I worked as a Media Trainer for a vocational training center where most of my students were youth that came from the most affected areas within Hackney, London.
On my return to the country of birth Kenya, in 2012, I have been working as a freelance film maker for various NGOs and community initiatives while building on the future of Myndz Community. Recently I was awarded as a Director for my Film titled Sun for Rent that is based on Solar Entreprenuer Programme run by Ecofinder Kenya.
Creative Life Cycle: – Jotham Kiiru Ngotho a.k.a Jothee Kiiru
Ever since I can remember my family has been one of many story tellers, I guess this is owned to the fact that a good number of them were teachers. When I was small, barely six years (early 80s) I recall sitting around the fire and listening to my uncles and aunties talk through the night, at times they would burst into songs and dance. My family was also quite involved in politics where attending campaigns was part of our childhood, and as we grew older we would be part and parcel of the campaign machinery be it putting up posters or singing the campaign songs that we termed “revolution songs.”
By the time I was in my teens, (mid 90’s) I had begun to grow a liking to rap music and poetry, together with my elder brother and a few other friends we had begun exchanging poems and reciting rap songs. Soon we began writing our own songs, mostly short 8-bar rap verses, at this time we had relocated to Zimbabwe as a result of my fathers involvement in politics. During this period there was plenty of time I would spend writing and reciting my writings, mainly because we did not have much to do inregards to social activities due to the fact we were migrants.
We wrote a lot that touched on social issues, highly influenced by 2pac and Bob Marley’s music as we related to our predicament, we had come to learn why we had left our mother-country( Kenya), the meaning of torture, detention, dictatorship, exile, colonialism and so on, that had been a major part of our lives.
In 1998, we travelled to Uganda to witness my Uncles wedding, as fate would have it, he had been exiled and was based in Canada and was marrying a Rwandese national, because both countries did not offer a safe place to host either the wedding took place in Kampala. In the company of our other age-mate cousins we visited the social night scene in Kampala and here we got a taste of Lingala/Ndombolo music that had captured the music scene there. As we learned the dance styles and the sound we became inspired that it was African which was different from American rap yet enjoyable. In the following years we experimented reciting our rap songs on the music.
In 1999, we travelled to Nairobi and we were able to find a studio that would record our song, around the same time the family relocated to Namibia and after much confrontations with our parents on our life plan we gave in to their demands and went to study in Namibia. Enrolled at the local university did not deter us from pursuing our dreams to be artists.
By this time we had recorded a few songs and looking to make videos for them. During this searching, we came across a course that had just been setup to that taught production skills and was affordable, as such we enrolled secretly and begun learning the basics of production.
My course empowered me with skills in TV production that catered for the basics in camera work and editing as such I begun shooting and editing shot videos through class assignments until I had built my confidence for commissioned projects. During this period 2000 -2003, I had secured a slot on the campus radio and I was hosting a show where I was able to play some of of our songs. Through different interactions within the media industry we had passed on our music to the players and our songs were receiving good airplay as well as our videos as we had fused rap songs with an African feel. Leading to getting nominated at the KORA Awards I 2002 (biggest music awards at the time in ).
Within the industry I had also carved a name for producing songs and videos for other artists and on graduation from my course the college had offered me a position as a Junior Lecturer in radio production and video editing.
As the years progressed more organizations and artists approached me to handle their video productions and this propelled me as a professional in this field. My productions begun to be aired on international circuits as I built on.
In 2007 I was approached to lead a team of journalists to the different regions of Namibia, as part of my assignment I was to take photos and videos, it was during this project that I grew a strong liking in photography.
The next four years I spent in London, where I had decided to further my marketing knowledge and pursued studies in this field. Whilst in London, I managed to secure photography projects for artists and organizations where I covered their events. On my return to my father’s land, (Kenya) I continue to build on my brand as an award-winning film-maker and photographer inclined to producing audio-visual projects that have a social impact.
To be a reputable cinematic storyteller, producing enchanting narratives that inspire, empower and entertain audiences.