From a Car Wash Attendant to Owning a Media Production House : Story of Joab Mwaura

  • A file image of Look Up TV Head of News, Joab Mwaura, poses for a photo.
    A file image of Look Up TV Head of News, Joab Mwaura.
  • Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once said that you never fail until you stop trying.

    The adage is true in the story of Joab Mwaura who exemplifies the grass to grace narrative as he went from working as a car wash attendant to owning a media firm, Sauti Tajika productions. 

    Speaking to, Mwaura detailed his journey, pointing out the hurdles and struggles that dot his career life.

    Former K24 TV journalists Joab Mwaura and Nancy Onyancha
    Former K24 TV journalists Joab Mwaura and Nancy Onyancha

    His journey dates back to 2005 after completing his secondary education. Despite passing his KCSE exams, he was not able to join university because of financial constraints. This did not however dent Mwaura's spirit.  He would work as an attendant at a local car wash in Nyahururu, Nakuru county. 

    To supplement his income, Mwaura also worked as a boda boda rider, earning as little as Ksh10, for short distances. 

    Determined to pursue his dream career of journalism, Mwaura worked for a full year at the car wash and as a boda boda operator, saving his income. 

    "After saving some money, contributions from friends and family, I managed to raise the funds needed to pursue a Diploma in East Africa Media Institute (EAMI) in 2006," he stated. 

    Journey to Citizen TV, K24

     Mwaura's dream finally came to reality when he joined Royal Media Services to work as a Swahili reporter. He then moved to MediaMax's K24 where he gained ground in feature reporting and analysis. 

    In 2020, Mwaura was among tens of journalists that the Kijabe-street-based media house laid off due to redundancy and restructuring occasioned by the effects of the pandemic. 

    Together with his wife, Nancy Onyancha, who is currently anchoring news on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), they launched Sauti Tajika productions. 

    He noted the idea behind the company was based on the fact that he sought to change the narrative and document human-interest stories.

    "We sought to start our own companies and I delved to rely on the two traits that I had picked up over the years, working at a car wash business and journalism," he stated.

    Due to his vast experience working as a car wash attendant, Joab resorted to establishing his own car wash titled, Jetshine Car wash, as a side hustle to supplement his income. 

    In June 2022, Mwaura says he was approached by the management of LookUp TV, seeking his services as head of news. 

    "I went for the interview and got the job. My focus is not to compete with the other big houses, but to get the opportunity of being a mwananchi studio."

    He noted that in the past month, they have unveiled a variety of shows such as Kilio Changu which centres around Kenyans appealing to well-wishers to support them to get out of poverty. 

    Mwaura advises fellow journalists to innovate and invest in digital media due to the massive opportunities it offers and the saturation of the mainstream media.

    "Back in 2008, the media was not saturated as it is today so the print journalism is going to fade away soon," he noted. 

    An image of Jet Shine company located in Utawala, Nairobi County.
    An image of Jet Shine company located in Utawala, Nairobi County.