TERRY CHOCOLATE NYANG'IYA: STATS DON'T LIE
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Will anybody with 60,000 followership please step forward?
Yesterday I asked Pauline Lima another enterprising diaspora and a fan of Terry Chocolate whether a Terry would not sit pretty on my blog. The loyalty of the scoff I got back from Indigenous Food Plant expert, Pauline Lima was every bit of that 60,000 strong followership. The retort was along the fabled Luo saying, "ng'at ma ochamo gire ok yal; kuoth ema ibare go ndas" (The only recourse to the bile of envy against a successful person is gossip and jealous talk)
Fashionable now is a floodgate of online shows as is expected of fads but Terry was the first such Kenyan Luo that I set eyes on. And being in dholuo made it so special so different and I never forgot that very first encounter. I was a late comer to her shows and for a moment spent time contributing as if it was a talk show with half baked armchair commentary. I was wrong and was redirected when told what her show is about after speaking to her friend who is my niece. Actually they are age mates as Terry is also decades my junior.
There is an increase of social media live and recorded online shows compared to when Terry embarked on this journey. Just like Terry I think this is healthy. It reminds me in the 1980s when celebrities thought it was fashionable to own a bar or a pub. Especially for those who wanted to keep in touch with followers it served a purpose to own a small pub that pays its own rent and lights with no intention to make profit. It became sort of a private club. It is in the same way I see the online shows. Even if not meant for mass circulation they are very useful for dissemination of information. Just like blogging, magenga chats or gossips they are healthy communication.
I am a strong believer of Article 19 of the United Nations Charter and true mushrooming of the online TV shows is exactly why the internet exploded. Most of the evils of the world have been exposed by freedom of Information and the right to Information. Therefore the increased online shows is the hanging fruits of Article 19.
Are there any challenges and downhill to this trend. Are there downhills that makes you wish you were not involved in these self-exposing publicity? This is where an insider like Terry will give us invaluable experience. The short answer according to Terry is that this is a project and like any project it has peculiar industry challenges. Who is Terry Chocolate (TC)? But before we get to TC. I want to describe to you her Industry as I understand it in my old age.
There is a high school in South of London that has a very strong African presence as if being from Africa is a pre-requisite. In truth it is not a pre-requisite and neither is being Afrocentric a co-requisite. However even the white girls are so Afrocentric that that they have to be guided to tone down. It is the sort of school that when a “fresh off the boat” (new comer speaks with a non Negroid accent they are branded “jafaiaka” and ridiculed until they drop the anglicized accent. You have to be normal African to be respected. The headmistress to this school is white, born and raised somewhere around the mission schools in South Nyanza or Kisi. I am sure there are a number of my readers who passed through her hands or her fathers. Her mission and understanding is that you cannot tin an African and label them using western curriculum. She believed that an African is so endowed that they can be anything without western structure. If an African wants to be an entertainer let them be and just guide them towards making a career out of it. As my daughters went there I will give living cases of the products of this school.
Victoria Onyali was of Nigerian descent but proper light skinned like a mixed race. That is the farthest she got to being western. This was a girl who enjoyed such local delicacies as cow foot, bible tripe, tripe ti, honey comd tripe, sweet breads, turkey tail whenever she visited our house. What made her outstanding is when my daughter told me of her character. Unlike Kenyan girls she was not afraid to bargain with those asian duka wallahs until she is sold what she wants at the right price. And she will not go to another shop. She bargained for 40 minutes for an earring. And woe until the market seller who sells her fake necklace. Onyali will be back and will threaten with all consumer ombudsman until she gets her money back. I am talking about a high school girl below 18 years of age.
Clearly this is a girl not destined to the formal grammar curriculum. Her Nigerian parents twisted her arms to do some sciences at University. After graduation she gave the parents the BSc diploma and took her small savings to start a cosmetics pharmaceutical company. You should see what car Onyali drives now on top a chain of cosmetics brands made of mixing known African herbs with fashionable creams. You can spend forever curing bumps on the back of the neck but Anjali’s one concoction will eradicate the bumps. How many of us are gifted in traditional herbs from our family and spend the rest of our lives in miserable pencil pushing jobs that in case we are asked to stop at retirement age of 55!
Another boy from the same school liked rap music. The school insisted he blends it a bit to Events Management to avoid the crowded field and be the 5 % employer of 95% employees in the world. After the graduation the tough talking Nigerian parents gave him 6 months to start talking bills or go get a proper job that matches the general Law degree. In one month he paid up the parents’ mortgage balance that had 10 years to run.
A group of girls from the same school used to enjoy doing routine dances during games time. The teachers suggested that since they have natural dancing posture, they should take it to the next level. They said that could be but only if it does not reach the parents. It did not reach the parents until after University when with their earrings they put their the parents’ retirement plans were in fast forward gear. The parents did not care that they YouTube the girls sent they were 5 girls dancing in a circuit of New York based pop stars.
All in all this school produces footballers, rap singers, football players, athletes, you name it and would never push a student to do say a Law degree outside the top ten Universities because they know the ramifications of a half-baked education especially one outside a student’s passion. TC nyang’iya would have benefitted by going to this school. Besides she is my daughter’s age bracket where skills training is more valued than papers.
And this is true to form of the African woman especially the younger generation. There is across board uniformity in dynamism in informal transactions. It takes African men 20 years for example to institute some form cooperative economics, claiming that their disposable cash is too tight. But I thought it's when its scarce that you even need the cooperative economics of the merry go round , table banking and the rest. or what am I not getting here. lets admit it, TC like all African women are just streets ahead of men in innovation.
Like a joke I watched Luo women group them selves in a new cooperative economics , yuaga-a-yuagi. These women had done their maths right and found out that £10 per person raises enough money to transport the body back to the most remote part of Luo land inclusive of all burial expenses include wake. It is this level of acumen that I admire of the younger generation.
Who is Terry Chocolate Nyang’iya?
To be honest I don’t know her real names and it is not an issues here. I don’t care whichever name she goes by. I read she chose Chocolate because it is a non-aggressive way of saying ‘I am black and real’. And true she is real. TC wears a natural complexion. TC accent is heavy Alego- Sakwa. TC prefers afro centric looks. TC YouTube channel plays a lot of dholuo and she does not apologize for it. TC enjoys one dance style that you can love or hate. Some people want a variety from the signature semi-orbital movement of the waist. TC says where she comes from that is the dance of her age bracket and she is not interested in other African dances which are far removed from Luo. She is happy playing dholuo or nothing. Her artists are Lakeside even if she is a nationalist all the way. The photo poses gives a range of national VIPs but she has elected to promote young and upcoming dholuo artist. We will get to that.
TC upbringing is multifaceted but mostly in Siaya district of Kenya. Without explaining the multifaceted, TC was brought up in Alego mur Ng’iya kanyamulu Got kalula. The product of fond father and a disciplinarian mother TC went to Ng’iya girls High School.
After formal training TC did a program in TV and Radio Production at Maseno University parallel to Mass Communication Programme at SIAD & Kenya Mass interning at KBC for almost 2yrs.
At the national radio and TV station, TV started as an assistant Producer of local TV shows then climbed up to running a whole production with help from the Technical team and the actors. TC did a series of household such Vitimbi, Vioja Mahakamani, Mjadala, Joy Bringers, Vituko. TC also floor managed Reflections and other talk shows.
TC was at KBC until it changed to Channel 1. Just before it changed, TC moved to KTN at Nyayo House as a Sports news producer where she did whole news bulletin by herself and presenting to Tony Gachukia or Oyier to read once in a while. TC has also covered Safari Rallies in Nanyuki etc under care of the senior reporters. TC also did social events like the Beauty contests reports. From here TC also packed some experience at Ramogi FM.
Interestingly she thinks she is a born teacher mainly based on the number of people she has handheld or tutored or based on some admiration of a relative.
In brief TC is a technician in her area of hobby and true this a brain drain to the diaspora because what puts food on the table is not what she is massively trained for. However her technical superiority may explain her massive following. She is not just a person with a smart phone.
I asked what about the personal challenges that made her blank out of circulation? TC was very brave. She explained, “It comes with the territory, you must expect this in our industry. I have all sorts of followers, competitors and collaborators. I expect this to happen again. At the end of the day I have a loving family, the best of friends and a way of life I thoroughly enjoy.”
TC values her private life immensely and will not comment to any aspersions whether true or not. She thinks private life must be left to be private and reacting to aspersion is doing exactly what aspersions are meant to do.
I asked her if aspersions into her life in Europe did hurt. She said it was disappointing coming from people striking out from the shadows and using proxy but it is nothing compared to her greatest pain, her Dad. Her greatest hurt was, is and will always be about her dad who passed on in 2009 when she was in tough spot. Nothing can surpass issues around Daddy. No pain under the sun can surpass that. And I did not pursue.
I then asked her one of the criticism of her photo ops. She explained that it’s her hobby to collect autographs which are these days in photo ops except her relationship to senior politician which goes way back to her father’s time. So she says that she has no intention to go into popular politics. She thinks. Poor thing, she does not realise that she is already a massively popular politician and it is impossible to wriggle away from this. Innocence is a good thing because she is deep into responding to peoples needs and she does not even realise it. The best US presidents like Bill Clinton were high school cheer leaders and motivators just the way TC is doing with Diaspora Kenyans (9th most influential), stable of young musicians, and the Kenyan 'not so young' needing to to be reminded to rediscover their culture.
Legend has it that the Kongo Empire chose their leaders through dancing competitions because a dancer like an entertainer is only interested in making the audience happy and smile. And to this Kongo Empire electoral process TC is already a chosen leader. The world needs politicians interested in a happy populace. TC fits that label of responding to a peoples needs and a dislike for unhappy followers.
TC has done her apprentice in working a demanding lot on online shows. The truth is, this well connected autographs collecting TC is only a handholding away from entry into mainstream popular politics and I can hardly wait.
So what attracts 60, 000 followers to TC activities when I struggle to reach 60 views? I did not ask but I will speak for myself. In casting of the Great movie the Godfather, the casting team went to southern Italy to look for a young girl to act Apollonia, the 16 year old Sicilian village girl. The best actors came and failed the part. Then a young upstart came and she was completely unsuited. She was given her disappointment on the spot and childlike she took it without a care in the world. As she walked away from the casting team shading themselves from the sizzling Napoli sun, she skipped from the road on to the kerb like a school girl without any care in the world. And lo! the casting team decided this is our Apollonia after all. Instead of that catlike feline step over the kerb she does that childlike thing. It is the same with TC.
She is easy on the eye like your daughter, mother or favourite sports team. She has my paternal grand mothers height which my twin sister and my daughters borrowed so she has to be pretty. She has the chocolate complexion of jo Boro - Nango (kaneya), therefore she is perfect when it comes to adding colour to your screen. I prefer to call my maternal cousins Abiero and Akwir, Mahogany but you get the general idea. Don't even say any thing about her teeth that reminds me of my late mother's dental works. And if you do say anything even in your dreams, you had better wake up and apologise to me. She has the right build on her lower body which in addition to aesthetics supplies her with oxygen laden cells in her lower limbs for a timely perfect dancing rhythm. In Homa Bay High School in 1974, I was told that behind the calf muscle are the anatomy pumps that work on blood movement against a gravity of 32-feet-per-second-per-second (32 feet=9.8metres?). The bigger the pump the faster the blood is sent back defying the 32-feet-per-second-per-second gravity for fresh oxygen, the better the dancing rhythm. Next time you see somebody struggling to dance, check the pump size behind the legs. I apologise for the high school physics but I am just trying to avoid using the sexualised word ogwalo for someone so much my junior to be my daughter. You see, TC Nyang'iya can't possibly not be pretty, just to borrow the double negative language of another prettiest showman, boxer Muhammad Ali. Anyway I told you I was speaking for myself and I approve of the simplicity of looks which stops 60,000 followers from looking away once they start watching her shows.
I like her naturalness. TC is a natural even in the way she responds to issues. She will not even try those routine Congolese dancing. She does not even wade into complex political issues. Like soul singer walrus of love, singer Barry White once sung. “I don’t want any intelligent conversation because I want you just the way you are”.
Winding down on a weekend nobody wants intelligent nerve racking conversation. People just want to be entertained, whether alone or in the middle of a conversation. People want what easily gives them that respite. People just want to hear songs that they can relate to. If it is a movie, then people want a character they can relate to. Naturally some people will want to watch so that they can loathe her. And they all count towards the 41,330 face book followers and 18,000 You tube followers.
Stats don’t lie