“You will always have a home here at ADMI. Never forget that.”
On the 23rd of July the graduating class of ADMI 2016 streamed into Mashiara Park beaming with energy. The green and brown of Africa’s lush nature welcomed the guests and graduates to the venue, a befitting setting for its new media representatives. ADMI’s signature red and black banners accentuated the air of achievement and pride on the grounds.
The thirty-five graduates, donning extravagant gowns, wearing sashes in African patchwork print, approached the tented area greeted by smiles and claps from family, friends and the ADMI community. Their rehearsed procession nearly breaking protocol as the young men and women struggled to contain their excitement walking in to the classic “Pomp and Circumstance” by Edward Elgar.
Once settled, the guests were treated to several musical performances by the talented Mankind Band, led by ADMI’s own Alan Ondara. The audience was treated to a special version of their signature songs, including the award-winning “North”, a song on perseverance and its rewards.
A few words of wisdom and heart-felt congratulations – one delivered by member of the board of directors and Chairman of Lake Turkana Wind Power, Eng. Mugo Kibati – highlighted opportunities in the creative economy, the journey of ADMI and more. The widespread talent in ADMI was once again showcased in beautiful poetic interlude by Film student Roy Ouko. He brought to life an extract of Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship In A Republic”. The poem called for action and persistence despite drawbacks. With his eyes gleaming seriously he quoted, “credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again.”
One by one the former students met our Champion Dr. Laila Macharia – a doctorate holder from Stanford University and current Chair of ADMI’s Board of Directors – to receive their diplomas and certificates, cheered on by the guests. Each face not bereft of a wide grin, the former students resumed their positions to listen to several more encouraging words. The first was delivered by their own representative Mahad Ahmed Hashi, who summarized their shared excitement and gratitude at having completed their various courses.
It was then the turn of our champion, Dr Laila Macharia, to address the graduates. “In this new world, the most creative mind wins the prize, not the strongest arm or the biggest farm.” Smiling she says, “This new world will only ask you: help us find our way, sing us a song, paint us a picture, tell us a story. Make us laugh – or cry. But no matter what, tell us the truth. And do what you said you will do.” Dr Laila made apparent not only the need for happiness and commitment in their career but in their lives as well. At the end of the moving speech she extended her arms toward the graduates and said, “I can only once again express my – our – pride and excitement as we release you. Armed with the clarity, character, creativity – and colours – of ADMI!”
ADMI’s Founding Director and Principal, Wilfred Kiumi, also had the chance to step onto the stage. He explained that after years of seeing “a system of doing things that was very consistent across various international productions.” He began to realize the disparity in difference between local and foreign crew and decided to change that. So on February 5th 2012 Jamhuri Film and Television was opened “to our pioneer class of 5 students,” he said, chuckling. “And today I am happy to report that many of our graduates – many of whom could not make it for this particular event as they are fully booked,” he grinned. “- are busy making a mark in the industry.” He turned to the graduates, his head held high, “you guys have by far surpassed anything I could have imagined… Your new chapter is blank; make sure you write an unforgettable story.”
Before concluding he smiled warmly and said “You will always have a home here at ADMI. Never forget that.”
The elation of the moment was punctuated by the calm yet electrifying personality of the guest of honour that morning Caroline Mutoko. The former Kiss 100 radio presenter and now a prominent media executive told the graduates, “ADMI has given you the tools to lead us. Media is both the message and the messanger.” She looked right at them and said, “What are you going to do with the skills you have been given to write a new story of Kenya? Of Africa?” Caroline highlighted the responsibility the graduate have to “shape our nations destiny as well as [their] own.” As her speech came to an end the posture of the graduates was straighter, their eyes even brighter than before. She finally said, “You now need to literally reach up and bend the arc of history in the direction of more.”
The ‘Africanised’, vibrant event, deemed “incredibly colourful” by those who attended, closed with a graduate procession to the South African ballad ‘Sondela’ and the Kalenjin Taunet Nelel, which both celebrate new beginnings. The Institute could not be more pleased to have sent off its first graduates into the most promising industry in today’s global economy.