The Kenyan media industry was dealt a major blow on Monday when veteran newscaster, Ahmed Darwesh, passed away suddenly.
Though the news hit most members of the fourth estate hard, it was particularly difficult for NTV presenter Larry Madowo.
In a long and emotive Facebook post, Madowo opened up about his relationship with the celebrated anchor, revealing how Darwesh helped him out when he was a cub reporter.
“When I joined KTN in April 2008, he was already at the top of his game and down to earth to a fault. Before I had a car, Daru stayed around after anchoring the 7pm Swahili news until I had finished editing my 9pm business story so he could drop me home,” posted Madowo.
The anchor’s sacrifice was no small thing, especially considering that he was going out of his way for a person who was many times his junior-something that is not common in newsrooms.
“We both lived in South B but dropping me outside my doorstep still took him a little out of his way. Keep in mind that he was a boldface named prime time anchor and I was a struggling business reporter so I would ordinarily not even show in his radar,” reminisced the presenter.
Darwesh’s generosity was not restricted to transporting Madowo. He also bought numerous lunches for the budding reporter, going as far as opening up his home to him.
“If he travelled, he would let me use his car and even leave it fuelled. That was always an excuse for me to join him and his lovely family for beautiful meals whenever I was ‘passing by.’ Even at work, he paid for too many lunches that I can count, usually at a selection of Swahili restaurants with delicious food I couldn’t yet afford,” revealed the TV host.
Like many others who worked alongside him, Madowo also benefitted professionally from his association with Darwesh.
“This picture was taken at Khan el-Khalili Market in Cairo. He had used his many connections and set up a week-long reporting trip to Egypt including a tour of the pyramids and Alexandria…He was a big brother to me in this big city, helping me create a career on television,” the presenter reminisced.
Their friendship persisted even after Madowo left the media house: “Even after I left KTN and moved away, we remained fast friends and it was always a joy to see him whenever our paths crossed. I used to tease him about his signature line: ‘Wakubwa hamjambo, wadogo mmeshindaje. Hii ni KTN Leo chaguo lako, wanakwetu wananiita Ahmed Darwesh’ and he would grin indulgently.”
He concluded his post by saying that knowing Darwesh was a privilege.
Madowo’s sentiments were echoed my many within the media fraternity.
When the news of the newscaster’s sudden death broke, workmates former colleagues and acquaintances posted glowing eulogies praising Darwesh for being a kind, humble and caring man.
Citizen Digital condoles the family, friends and colleagues of the late newscaster.