Thoughts on the recently ended Soma Awards 2015

Special Award winner Zawadi Nyong'o
Special Award winner Zawadi Nyong’o

The Social Media Awards of Kenya of 2015 popularly known as the OLX Soma Awards happened at the indoor arena of the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani this Saturday evening.

People came in droves to see who would be going home with the title of best in social media in Kenya. It didn’t disappoint with large number of people at that indoor arena hanging out on that red carpet taking photos for the paparazzi. Truth be told it wasn’t filled to the brim, this wasn’t President Barack Obama who would be addressing them, but the floor was filled. Those there were mainly nominees who would be expected to win the offered categories.

The evening was filled with humourous comedians, yelling winning folks and meeting friends old and new. The biggest winners on the night were Sauti Sol, Daniel Ndambuki aka Churchill and Babu Owino. You can see the list of winners here.

A few things bothered me though. The sound was not on. The emcee, Mwaniki Mwageria one of the best in town, sounded like he was yelling the winners names which made us a bit irritable by the end of the evening. Perhaps the organisers could source that dude that does the sound during the Thursday Nite Live gig that happens at Choices every Thursday?

The corporations that had been slotted to give prizes failed to show up. Actually corporations seemed to given this event a wide berth generally whether handing out or receiving prizes. I know that people were busy but how difficult was it to send a manager to represent you at an award ceremony where you can gain mileage? We were forced to watch a comedian in what seemed to be pajamas handing out a very big award which was not on.

The most glaring thing for me was when a special award for crowd funding for social good was handed out to Zawadi Nyong’o for the #amilliforjadudi campaign. This campaign was started to help raise a million shillings to help fund the health care for Emmanuel Otieno who is known as Jadudi. As Zawadi went to receive her speech she was accompanied by Jadudi himself who declined to go on stage. I assume it may not have worked for him going up the stairs as he seemed to be limping a bit.

Zawadi Nyong’o then went on to give her experience in crowd funding from a few years ago with her 100 twitters followers to date when she was involved with this current successful campaign. She explained how crowd funding could be used to save lives and she thanked all those who tweeted to ensure that the message Jadudi was kept at the top of social media charts for a number of days. She then took her chance to take photos and left the stage. Job done.

The thing is this Jadudi campaign didn’t come to be known to us via Twitter. We all knew about it because of a blog that was written at Bikozulu blog titled That Thing In Jadudi’s Head. The blog told us of this young man struggling with cancer over the last few years and it touched many to contribute to the campaign. So for a person to acknowledge the people who were tweeting and failed to mention whoever was the biggest influencer in this can only be seen as shocking at the very least. That speech disappointed on so many levels.

So there you have it. A few thoughts from what is turning out to be a big awards ceremonies in town.

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