Kenyan Lecturer Who Quit to Sing Traditional Songs Makes History Globally

  • Dr Timothy Kitui known for his traditional Luhya music.
    Dr Timothy Kitui known for his traditional Luhya music.
    File
  • For more than a decade now, former lecturer and traditional songs artist Dr Timothy Kitui has dominated the airwaves thanks to his catchy and uplifting traditional songs composed in the Luhya dialect. 

    From his success in music, Kitui was appointed to serve as the talent envoy for the World Federation of the Gifted and Talented Children, a worldwide nonprofit organisation that provides advocacy and support for skillful children.

    With that, he became the first musician in Africa to be appointed as a talent ambassador.

    To achieve success, however, Kitui, renowned for the hit song Olwanda (a Luhya gospel rendition that has garnered over 385,000 views on YouTube) had to make drastic adjustments in his life to prioritise music and service to talented children.

    Dr Timothy Kitui performs one of his traditional Luhya music.
    Dr Timothy Kitui performs one of his traditional Luhya music.
    File

    Armed with Master's and Doctorate Degrees in Diplomacy and International Relations from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST), the celebrated musician enjoyed a career as a lecturer with his last post being at the Kenya Methodist University.

    While at the institution, he guided students through research projects and offered data-driven recommendations aligned with overall company strategies. He also prioritised process improvement initiatives.

    Dr Kitui also tutored at MMUST where he taught International Relations and Diplomacy, University of Cambridge (Public Relations and Mass Communication) as well as The Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).

    He, however, walked away after a six-year stint to start a primary school for the Catholic sisters in Nairobi's Westlands.

    The project, he stated, gave him an opportunity to practice his philosophy that "Each child is an individual, all children are creative and all children need to succeed."

    This did not only boost the learners' morale, but also helped teachers understand that each child is different. The celebrated artist as well discovered that arithmetic, linguistics and soft skills can be taught through performing arts and sports.

    Through his pursuits, he founded his artistic brand, the Litungu Gospel Vibes, and has since proven the intersection of culture, diplomacy, gift, talent and education.

    Dr Kitui has received numerous awards including the being named the Male Gospel Artist of the Year in Africa (Traditional Category) in the RIGA Awards South Africa.

    In August 2022, he flew to the US where he is expected to make his first presentation at the World Forum on Cultural Diplomacy in the UN 2022 at the United Nations building in New York. His presentation will center around traditional music and inter-state trust building between Kenya and the USA.

    In his capacity as a talent envoy at Gifted and Talented Children, Kitui is expected to push Africa's agenda for gifted education on the global stage.

    His name was forwarded to the organisation by Prof. Humphrey Oborah citing his academic contribution, success in exporting traditional music to the world and the introduction of gifted education in a primary school in Kenya ahead of the adoption of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

    Dr Timothy Kitui known for his traditional Luhya music.
    Dr Timothy Kitui known for his traditional Luhya music.
    File