Journalists Who Quit Under Unique Circumstances

Former NTV journalist Doreen Majala
  • Journalism may seem as a lucrative career in the eyes of the viewer and for the most part it is but underneath the smiley faces of anchors lies unique challenges that has forced some to walk away.

    In previous studies, researchers have ranked the industry among the most stressful world over and its staff are expected to put up with irregular working hours.

    For these five Kenyan journalists, however, their circumstances were too extreme to deal with and decided to call it quits.

    From being asked to cut off their dreadlocks to being barred from smoking, here are some of the unique circumstances that led to the departure of some media practitioners.

    1. Doreen Majala – Quit on Christmas Day.

    Former NTV journalist Doreen Majala

    For many Christians, Christmas Day, celebrated every year on December 25, signifies a day for peace and festivities but for former NTV anchor Doreen Majala, 2019’s Christmas day meant she would be saying her goodbyes to TV.

    Speaking in what turned out to be her last news broadcast on Christmas day, she gracefully thanked her viewers as well as employers for giving her the platform to express her passion.

    She left the station after 1 and a half years of hosting the Sunday prime time news to concentrate on her humanitarian works.

    2, Jason Dunford – Quit to join Gengetone

    Former BBC journalist Jason Dunford
    Former BBC journalist Jason Dunford.

    For years, since leaving a swimming career that saw him compete with world-renown swimmer Michael Phelps, former BBC journalist Jason Dunford called it quits again from his media career for Gengetone music.

    Dunford, after retiring from swimming, began an online talk show after which he secured a job with the BBC East Africa Bureau as a business journalist.

    He would eventually leave this arguably lucrative gig when a former Mexican priest, who fuses Reggaeton with urban Kenyan sounds, convinced him to get into the studio. 

    Since then, he has released a number of hit songs and also featured in 3 international movies.

    1. Denis Okari – Left due to too much travelling
    NTV investigative journalist Dennis Okari
    NTV investigative journalist Dennis Okari

    NTV Anchor Dennis Okari’s career seemed to be on an upward trajectory in 2014 when he accepted a position at the BBC but quit just months later.

    In April 2020, the celebrated Investigative journalist, however, explained that his decision to return to NTV was largely influenced by his then young family.

    He noted that the BBC job deprived him of a chance of doing African stories the way he would have loved. This, coupled with persistent travelling, which kept him from seeing his family – prompted his return to Kenya.

    Months later, Okari joined NTV, a decision he admitted, changed the whole trajectory as he got the chance to pursue investigative journalism.

    4. Karung’o wa Thang’wa – Left over Dreadlocks

    Former radio presenter Karungo wa Thang'wa
    Former radio presenter Karungo wa Thang’wa.

    After going through the wringer during recruitment for a radio job, former radio presenter Karungo wa Thang’wa called it quits after squabble over his dreadlocks.

    Karungo revealed that he had passed auditions to read the news at a top media house but quit after they asked him to shave his hair.

    “Although I had a job on radio, I wanted to look for greener pastures. That is why I went for a TV interview,” he told The Star

    “After the condition they gave me, I asked myself if I cut the hair, I will look photogenic? I had to forego the job and keep my hair,” he recalled.

    He noted that he had grown the locks while in China after being unable to find a barbershop.

    5. Manilal Ambalal Desai – Over smoking rules

    Former journalist and activist Manilal Ambalal Desai
    Former journalist and activist Manilal Ambalal Desai.
    Manilal Ambalal Desai Foundation.

    Born in 1879 in India, Manilal Desai, arrived in Kenya in 1915 and after seeing the suffering of Indian people under the colonial government, he decided to champion their rights.

    When he arrived in Kenya, Desai made a friendship with Harry Thuku, who had founded Young Kikuyu Association Party. Desai used the party’s office to execute his roles as a journalist as well as an activist.

    He used the resources to print his broadsheet Tangazo on the Chronicle’s printing press. He later used the paper to raise awareness of Africans suffering after Thuku got arrested.

    Before his venture into media, however, Desai had worked as a law clerk with Harrison, Salmon and Cresswell. He quit the job after suffering racism after he was barred from smoking at the workplace because it was a preserve of the Europeans at the time.


    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.