The Nation Media Group on Friday rewarded employees who have served the company for the longest time since its inception 50 years ago.
It rewarded those who have worked at NMG in Kenya for more than 20 years and those who have served in the Ugandan and Tanzanian branches for more than 10 years.
The cash awards were handed over at a colourful breakfast attended by NMG founder, His Highness the Aga Khan and members of the board.
The ceremony was part of ongoing celebrations to mark the company’s golden jubilee and each long-serving employee received Sh1,000 for every year they have helped transform NMG into the leading media house in East and Central Africa.
NMG’s oldest employee is the man who draws the Juha Kalulu cartoon strip in NMG’s first newspaper, the Kiswahili language Taifa Leo.
Edward Gitau, who has worked at NMG for 50 years, got a standing ovation when he rose to collect his cheque and a plaque that will doubtless take pride of place in his sitting room.
Kanani Noorbegum, the photo librarian, was also rewarded for her 39 years as was John Thairu Karuitha, a customer service executive with 37 years under his belt.
Golf correspondent Larry Ngala has been writing in the Daily Nation for 36 years while Joseph Nyaga Aduol, a customer service executive, has been at NMG for 34 years.
Anthony Kimani, an assistant systems administrator, has worked for 31 years while NTV correspondent Karim Rajan has ensured stories from the Coast get to the newsroom for the past 30 years.
IT man John Orwa (30 years) and messenger Felix Machuah (28 years) were also honoured. In a short speech to employees, the Aga Khan asked them to “keep true to the purpose of the institution, (which is) to serve the people of Africa.”
The Aga Khan founded NMG in 1960 at the age of 24, and it has grown into one of Kenya’s biggest and most respected organisations.
The Aga Khan said the company’s responsibilities were not only to its shareholders but, more importantly, to the people of Africa, most of whom he said wanted NMG to expand into their regions. “Every step has got to be as good as we know how to make it good,” he added.
Also recognised were directors who have served on the board for more than 15 years. These included Mr Gerry Wilkinson, Mr Francis Okello and current chairman Mr Wilfred Kiboro, who announced that NMG employees will each get 200 shares in recognition of their exemplary work.
The share offer will benefit all NMG staff across East Africa.