Mark Kaigwa is a Nairobi-based creative director, filmmaker, entrepreneur, consultant, digital marketer, motivational speaker, strategist, advisor and thought leader who has an unparalleled passion for social media.
Though very young, this tech enthusiast has helped numerous global and African businesses, brands and nonprofits use technology to connect with Africans online.
His vision is to become one of the continent’s most articulate speakers and storytellers to describe the growth and renaissance of Africa. To a large extent, this explains why he spends up to 10 hours every day on the internet.
This young entrepreneur has a multidisciplinary background with experiences ranging in marketing & communications, design thinking, screen-writing, film production and directing as well as creative direction in advertising.
He has also studied courses in Business Information Technology, Mobile Programming at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Leadership and Youth Ministry at an Institute in the United States and most recently he started a business accelerator program which is part of the Fellowship program at The Sinapis Group.
Mark is part of three leading African blogs, he is a Partner at Afrinnovator.com; one of CNN’s Top African Voices to follow, Where he shares much on events, interview startups and technologists. He also writes about trends in angel investment, deals, business advice and lead partnerships.
In addition to that, he is one of the partners at the African Digital Art Network where he shares insights and interviews with leading African creative professionals and curate select works of artists and designers on behalf of the blog. He also manages his own blog; Mark:My Words.
In 2007 Mark led creative direction on an award winning video game for Warner Bros Interactive titled Pamoia Mtaani which was Warner Bros’ first African videogame and which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya in English and Sheng- Kenyan Swahili-based slang.
As part of the project, he has written 5 animated short films with renowned animation director Chris Bailey of the Alvin & The Chipmunks, Kim Possible and Garfield.
He acknowledges that his family influenced his choice of career a great deal;
“My upbringing saw me interact within a family that celebrated and appreciated the arts, which isn’t common in Kenya. My aunt is an actress and my uncle a sculptor. My mother is an interior designer and these have always been strong influences on me. Besides that, appreciating theatre and performance as well as good communication led me to naturally incline towards media. The appeal of media is getting a conversation going and not just passing a message from one person to the other but tapping into new networks of people to do this at a pace and with an impact not witnessed by previous generations.”
So now you know why he is so passionate about what he does?
In 2010 at the Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu, Durban his debut film Dawa made its world premier as part of the 31st Durban International Film Festival. A film he wrote and directed as an alumni of the Maisha Film Lab class of 2009. Mark used Dawa as a specimen in an experiment to test the power of social media, the result of which blew his mind.
“It was also an interesting breakthrough experiment in social media & filmmaking – with the basic premise for launch being that if someone across the world chose to host a Dawa Screening Party the host would get a free copy of the film and if I was in the city, I would visit. This simple concept gained fast appeal with over a dozen such gatherings everywhere from Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco, Nairobi, Cape Town, Lagos and Paris – opening my eyes to the power of social media.”
As an advice to the young and aspiring communicators and entrepreneurs, he says;
“I’ve understood some essentials about good communication and branding and have taken some of those concepts to invest in my own personal brand by really connecting with entrepreneurs (young and old) and with investors. I set out to meet people and make an impression.
“The exposure part has been a continuous experiment. Nothing is written in stone. History is ahead of you, and it’s up to you to make it. With this mindset, there is no problem with making mistakes. Fear of failure and rejection is diminished because no one else has set the expectation for you to fall below. You set your own expectations.”
What more can I say? Copy Genius!!!