The fifth edition of the Soma Awards 2017 aka the Social Media Awards of Kenya were hosted with an epic shindig at the Radisson Blu on June 23.
The OLX Soma Awards had been on the minds of many of Kenya’s leading users of Social Media as the award ceremony for best use were hosted at the Radisson Blu in Nairobi. The hotel has become the go to venue for events in the recent past in the true tradition of the capital city taking over from the Kempinsky on Waiyaki Way.
This blogger has been following these awards for a long while from its humble beginnings when it was hosted with small numbers in 2012. The event has grown to become the definitive one to know what is happening in Social Media in Kenya. I was asked to join the judging panel for that year and I had a great time ensuring that those who had been nominated were actually human beings and not bots. It wasn’t great for the organisers who suffered monumental losses and most people would have packed up their bags and gone home to lick their wounds. Not these guys.
Five years later, Martin Muli and his team at Eyeballs Marketing were hosting the most important influencers of Social Media in the land. If they were big in Social Media, they were sitting in the ballroom at the Radisson hoping to win big. There was a reason why they were sitting their hoping for the nod of the fans as there were real world consequences for taking home the winners gong. Jamo Yule Msee who won last year for Facebook Personality was immediately picked up by major brands like KCB Bank and Safaricom to help with their marketing campaign. Alex Chamwada won the Most Influential Media Personality Award went on to work with more brands including a major political campaign.
So everyone was there waiting for the results at the cocktail that was being sponsored by Hennessey who offered a few delicious cocktail to all guests. Those who weren’t clued in on this had to buy drinks from the hotel and my cold Tusker set me back Kshs450 shillings; this the lady selling to tells me was a discount. How much do they buy at this place under normal circumstances?!
There I was meeting some of the most popular people on the Kenyan corner of the interwebs like Henry Desagu, he of the hilarious Facebook videos, who was in the running for the Facebook personality. As we chat the four young men in brown jackets or rather “chaget” were walking in with fans agog (really). There was Carol Radull who has been nominated for media personality and is always such a good sport. As was Sam Gichuru who had been nominated for entrepreneur of the year. Also there was OLX boss who were having our annual meeting; you can read about him here on our exclusive interview.
With dinner happening, the emcee of the evening Mwaniki Mageria started us off with a Christian prayer, apparently that’s still a thing where people of all religious persuasions have to bow to a Christian God, then it all kicked off. Speeches! CHIEF JUDGE Brian Mung’ei. Google Kenya country boss Charles Burito. A Q&A sort of thing featuring Robert Burale questioning awards founder Martin Muli.
Then the real reason we were here drinking expensive beer could commence with Cece Sagini providing entertainment. The winners were surprising in some instances and being obvious in other instances. The surprises included Farhana Oberson toppling Caroline Mutoko as YouTube royalty, an unknown agency helping Dairyland Products and Unga wa dola winning in their categories and Betty Kyallo beating all to go with the Media Personality. The not so surprising was the wins by people like Joe W Muchiri, University of Nairobi and Classic 105’s Maina and King’ang’i in their categories.
Here is the full list of those who took part.
- Corporate Executive Personality Award – Maggie Ireri
- Media Personality Award – Betty Kyallo
- Sports Personality Award – Victor Wanyama
- Fashion Personality Award – Joy Kendi
- Entertainment Personality Award – Eric Omondi
- Entrepreneur Award – Michelle Nkatha Ntalami
- Humanitarian Award – Ndungu Nyoro
- Financial Services Award – Equity bank Kenya
- Group Retail Award – Jumia Kenya
- Consumer Product Award – Dairyland Products
- Technology Award – Samsung Mobile
- Tourism Award – Bonfire Adventures
- Manufacturing Award – Unga wa dola
- Learning Institution Award – University of Nairobi
- State Corporation Award – Huduma Kenya
- TV Show Award – The Trend (NTV Kenya)
- Radio Show Award – Classic 105 FM: #MainaandKing’ang’i
- Facebook Personality Award – Propesa
- Twitter Personality Award – Atanasi
- New Blogger Award – kenyanmusik.co.ke
- Instagram Personality Award – Joe W Muchiri
- YouTube Channel Award – Farhana Oberson
- Alumni Award – Boniface Mwangi
After the ceremony people would leave at their convenience pleased with the things as they had turned out. I know I did.
Here are images from the ceremony courtesy of the event organisers.