Jeff Koinange's Most Nerve-Wracking Interview

  • Veteran TV and radio personality Jeff Koinange opened up on the most nervewracking interview he has been able to conduct in his life.

    Speaking on Hot 96 FM's A Story A Day on June 20, 2018, Koinange revealed that he was fortunate to meet one of the world's most powerful women, Oprah Winfrey.

    He recalled interviewing Oprah while working for CNN in January 2006, when he was based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    Jeff Koinange meets Oprah Winfrey in South Africa in January 2006

    Citizen TV's Jeff Koinange meets Oprah Winfrey in South Africa in January 2006

    "I was sitting in my office in Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2006, when I got a call from a client who told me that Oprah Winfrey was coming to town. She was coming to investigate the progress of a school that she had spent around Ksh4 billion on called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls," Jeff told his listeners. 

    He narrated that the school was as a result of Winfrey's promise to the late South African President Nelson Mandela in 2001, to build a school to cement his legacy.

    Winfrey was supposed to interview girls who had been selected to join the school, which was set to be complete in the middle of that year.

    "Now I was thinking, I have followed her all over the US, watched her programs on TV and heard her story, but Winfrey is more than any president that I have addressed in my life. How do I address her, what do I call her?" Koinange recalled his nervousness.

    He and his crew joined others who had lined up in Soweto to catch Oprah on her way to the beneficiaries of her program.

    "Fifteen minutes of waiting, a convoy of three cars, one of them a van, pulled up and stopped right in front of us. By then I was nervous and sweating and the van doors swung open and out stepped Oprah. She turns to me and says 'Hi Jeff, I watch you all the time, how are you doing?'," the journalist recalled.

    Jeff narrated that he was taken aback, and immediately after Winfrey spoke to him, he lost his cool and could not answer the greetings.

    A section of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

    After that meeting, however, Jeff narrated that he and his team spent the next three days with Oprah interviewing her and covering her every move till she left the country.

    Six months later, she returned to South Africa alongside celebrities like Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Beyonce, and Mariah Carey among others, to open the school and admit the first batch of 36 girls.