The founder digital news platform 263Chat Nigel Mugamu said he abandoned his accounting career for journalism because of his passion for writing.
Mugamu (NM), who is the chief executive officer of 263Chat, told Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube (TN) on the platform In Conversation with Trevor that he realised he enjoyed writing at an early age.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
TN: Sir Nige, Nigel Mugamu, so delighted to have you on the show my brother.
NM: Thank you very much Mukoma.
TN: I am going to start on a very soft spot. Your daughter Gabby; you say her birth...
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TN: ...was the most life-changing moment in your life. How old is she?
NM: Nine years old on Friday.
TN:Nine years old on Friday. Why do you say her birth was the most life-changing moment in your life?
NM: There are many reasons. Family is very important to me; there are only two of us in the family, my sister and I.
I am the elder sibling, so a small family, and then she (Gabby) was born and we changed everything.
You know it changed the way I drive. So, certain roads you are like I do not need to cross the road in that way...
TN: Because I have got somebody that I am responsible for?
NM: I have got someone I am responsible for you know.
Very sweet, smart young girl. Dad I am a big girl now, I am a big girl... She got a pen license yesterday actually.
NM: So that is a big deal, but what it did on a practical level, I did not know love until I met this little person.
I was there when she was born, I cut the umbilical cord...
TN: You witnessed the birth?
NM: I was there.
NM: Yeah. I think it is very important to be there in those moments if you can.
It is a privilege to be there if you can be there.
She knows that I was there, she has got tons of photos.
She had a colic, I used to put on my back and put her to sleep, and, so we have got a very strong bond.
I do not even have to discipline her but I do not know, like you know we do not do that.
She knows dad does not like this, dad likes that.
Over time you then realise what are we doing this for really?
We are custodians really, we are here for a minute amount of time and then we hand over whatever we have done to this next generation.
I am in my mid-40s now, I am in the second half as I like to say, and it is not about me, it is about the next generation.
So, what are we going to do? So, she's (Gabby) the north star as it were.
TN: And what are we going to do?
NM: We have to leave this world better than how we found it, and you are in your lane, I am in my lane, and collectively somehow, we have got to forge forward and make the difference so that we hand over this thing.
Whatever it is we are handing over to them better than how we found it.
When she was two years old I set up an email address for her, so I email her now, I get the rest of the family to do the same thing, and I am a storyteller...
NM: The chief storyteller right, and the idea is you set up an email address so you tell her things, and it was really inspired by my mom.
When Gabby was born, my mother started telling me things about me and saying Oh! the face that she is making you used to do that, the stories I had not heard.
So, I said hang on, there are going to be missing gaps here, why do I not try and fill in those gaps...
TN: I love this idea.
NM: By emailing her, and some days it is on school run, we are together in the car.
TN: She is obviously opening these emails?
NM: No not yet.
TN: She does not know?
NM: She does not know. So I think when she is 18 years old or something, I have not decided yet, give her that email address...
TN: Oh you are pulling my heart strings right there! So do you write every day? It is like journaling is it?
NM: It is actually.
TN: To your daughter?
NM: Yes. So whenever things happen, so and so this is what happened.
TN: That is beautiful!
NM: Thank you. I send her voice notes now, so I worked out how to do it.
I have got her email password in an envelope in case I get run over by a bus tomorrow, people know where to find it, and that sort of thing.
I also do it because there is a story of her life, that is important.
She must always know that she matters.
Also, when we are living our life now as adults we must always remember, and I think this is where sometimes like political leadership, they do not often think like this, we are answerable.
TN: All of us.
NM: Yes. Dad why in this year why did we not do it this way?
We must be prepared to have that very difficult conversation.
So journaling, emailing her is part of making it easier in my view.
TN: Yeah. You have forced me to ask you this question, I saw a guy on Twitter last week, very excited that they had given birth, a couple, to this child.
And the child was there on Twitter with a picture and all, first day of their life they are on Twitter.
This child has not given permission for this picture to be out there, this child is going to grow up one day and someone will say dude are you aware that this is out there?
I mean a good friend of mine, Stafford Masie, who was at our Ideas Festival, raised this issue and says this is a generation that is born on Twitter, some of them it is live on YouTube...
TN: But they have not given permission to this.
They are rebelling against that now. What are your thoughts on that?
I mean you did not do that with Gabby?
NM: No I did not.
TN: What are your thoughts on that?
NM: I tend to think let her decide.
NM: Also, I do not want her to be, you know she is going to grow up and go into the real world, I do not want it to be like you are Sir Nigel’s daughter you know.
She has a name, she has an identity.
I have a younger sister, I know that my sister does not like being referred to as Nigel's little sister.
NM: You know what I mean?
She is Angie, she has got her own personality, she is her own person, and you must know her as that.
Whether I like John, it does not necessarily mean she has to...
TN: That Angie has got to like John?
NM: Yes. If she gets along with John that is great, same thing for Gabby, same thing for her.
TN: Nigel there are so many things I want to talk to you about, because they mean something to somebody out there, because there are lessons out there for somebody that are hooks from your life.
The first one, the fascinating one for me is you are a trained chartered accountant, right?
A financial manager?
But you followed your passion which is different from your training.
You are a storyteller, you have become a journalist.
Talk to us about how you found that as you were doing your financial training?
NM: So I have to go back a little bit.
TN: Please do. That is why we are here.
NM: My parents like most people in that generation came from the village, from kumusha, and they built a life for themselves and worked really hard.
So, one of the things that they instilled in Angie and I, is just that we got to work hard.
NM: Growing up mom and dad set up a small accounting practice, and back then you did not have these personal computers, so if you needed someone to leave their CV, you needed someone to type it up.
So, this company offered those services, so I think I was about Grade 7 or Form One, somewhere there and I started going to work.
So, dad just said no you must go to work.
I spent half the holiday going to work, and then after holiday just playing you know and being a normal kid.
So, I grew up going to work, so what it did was that my work ethic came from that.
I think, those around me will tell you, I am a workaholic.
I am going in a particular direction this is what we are trying to build, and then this is what we are going to leave to the next generation right.
Obviously that family value, what are we as the Mugamu’s going to leave for the next generation of the Mugamu family?
That is very important to me.
This work ethic, working hard, all the lessons really kind of brought me to where I am now, both my parents are accountants, so it was literally: “you will study accounting” you know and for I think for the first year and a half of my degree in Australia I went along with it because I was like this is what they want and I did not really apply myself.
TN: That is interesting.
NM: So early 20’s, you know 18, 19 and 20 years old and kind of trying to figure out who I am.
Then I realised I am good at this accounting thing, and so I did it, and because we are a close family, when I got a job offer and told them hey, mom and dad I got this job offer, this company is like this what do you think?
Can I consult?
We would talk about it and all the pros and cons, and I involved them in my life.
I always like to use football as an analogy...
TN: Manchester United supporter! Oh let us not go there right now!
NM: Yeah okay...We will not get there!
But I think that as children we are playing a football game right, and sometimes we need our parents to be playing with us, maybe they are the midfield right, we are the striker or the defender or whatever it is, whatever position we are.
Then as we grow older they now end up being in the stands.
They are still in the stadium, they are still watching you play right, and sometimes they are on the bench, and sometimes they come in and help you.
So, along the way I realised I have always had a journal.
I came in here, I have got a notebook, I have got a pen right here and I always write, even with all this technology, I believe in writing.
We must document.
I love history right, so along the way history; the passion for writing.
My dad bought me a book, which I will show you later, that book inspired...
TN: Let us just go to the book. What is that book?
NM: This is Martin Luther King. I think I was in primary school...
TN: A book by Jean Darby.
NM: He (dad) bought me this book, and this book I could not understand the words.
I had to go to dad, what does this word mean, mom what does this word mean.
This book inspired this whole justice, but what happened? Why did they have to fight? I learned about slavery, I learned a whole bunch of things at that time, guess I learnt a lot.
So, it is no wonder when I look back on my life it is no wonder. you go from accounting to journalism.
- “In Conversation With Trevor” is a weekly show broadcast on YouTube.com//InConversationWithTrevor. The conversations are broadcast to you by Heart and Soul Broadcasting Services