On Monday this week, the world woke up to the shocking news that Bob Collymore; the CEO of one of the leading telecommunication companies in Africa; Safaricom has passed on. I was appalled when the story popped up first on my Twitter news-feed the first thing on that morning. Just a couple of weeks ago I had grown increasingly interested in knowing more about the man most Kenyans today celebrate as a game changer. Being that I am almost getting out of college, Bob is a person I found to be a perfect case study for myself. How he started up from stacking shelves at a telecommunication company to become one of the most influential business leaders in the world is something every millennial should admire. I didn’t know him personally but what I know for sure is that he was a cool guy; from his love of music to his ever smiley face. His prevalent smile was the energy behind the ever-growing telecommunication company; Safaricom.
His ability to instantly blend in with the Kenyan culture when he took over from Michael Joseph is what makes him an exceptional person to many Kenyans; friends and foes alike. The first time he set his foot at Safaricom House I’m sure no one ever imagined he’ll ever manage to fill the big shoes left behind by his predecessor, Michael Joseph. One thing I find very intriguing about Bob is that he never showed any sign that he wanted to be the new ‘Michael.’ He created his own imprint and left a significant mark on the lives of the people of Kenya through many social-incensed activities that Safaricom initiated.
Through his leadership, Safaricom went to another level of success, not only commercial success but also success in building community building. Safaricom has since become one of the strongest pillars of our communities, especially in slums and rural areas. He led very many initiatives that Kenyans will always live to remember; for example, the clean water project he initiated in Kibra will forever be a game-changer in the lives of the people of Kibera.
For sure cancer has robbed Kenya a father-figure, a brother, a friend, and a great business leader at the peak of his career. In the words of John F. Kennedy: A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. The legacy of Bob Collymore through his deeds will forever live on. His well-lived life epitomizes the dreams which all of us; sons and daughters of Africa hold on tightly. “When I ‘grow up,’ I want to be like Bob Collymore, he died a happy man.”
He came, he saw, he conquered!
Whereas I did my best to come up with this commentary, any errors and omissions published are subject to changes. Feel free to contact me on the same and give your comments and suggestions .
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Authored by Clinton C. Obiero