The year 2019 has indeed been an eventful one for Kenya. Change has been rippling through the political, business, arts and technological spheres.
Unprecedented developments in governance and in the corporate world, had both intended and unintended consequences for the economy, most notably, a series of mass layoffs across industries.
Nevertheless, Kenyans have been as resilient as ever, in part, due to the inspiration drawn from individuals who possess true influence across the various spheres of our lives.
Our inaugural Top 100 Kenyans issue tells a hundred stories of individual influence that when taken together sing an anthem of interaction, the convergence that occurs when you harmonise a good idea and galvanise people towards it.
This list of Kenya’s 2019 crème de la crème isn’t a measure of power, though many on the list wield it. It is not a collection of milestones accumulated, as the names on the list may suggest.
At Kenyans.co.ke we know that great minds don’t think alike: and that is why this list is not a ranking, but rather an acknowledgment of different ideological compass points that collectively have steered the country to newer heights through unique insights and thought leadership.
We began the process of compiling the list with an early-September staff meeting which kickstarted the nomination process that produced an extensive longlist of 300 iconic Kenyans amidst vigorous debate.
They all were graded on the impact they have had on Kenyans beyond barely fulfilling their job descriptions, how much influence they have both online and offline, demonstrated agenda-setting in their industry, innovative ways they have used to inspire progress and any recognition they have been accorded both locally and internationally for their outstanding achievements.
We grouped the nominees in the following categories: Politics, Governance & Civil Society; Media, Arts Sports & Entertainment; Business, Commerce & Entrepreneurship; Education, Family, Religion & Lifestyle and Science, Medicine & Technology each with a bespoke criterion to filter out the Kenyans who have truly made a mark in the pursuit of our national aspirations.
The list would not have been complete without including iconic Kenyans whose untimely deaths this year shook the country. The invaluable contributions of; Bob Collymore, Joe Kadenge, John De'Mathew, Joyce Laboso, and Ken Okoth, to our national consciousness over the years, and the necessary reflections their deaths shocked us into, will forever be etched in our collective memory.
Video interviews of select individuals from the list were expertly overseen by our video department who hunted them down to lift the veil on their public personas and provide Kenyans a much-needed boost of inspiration ahead of 2020.
Here are 100 Kenyans 2019 in alphabetical order: