alexa TAKE 5: Osman Mohamed Osman - Daily Nation

TAKE 5: Osman Mohamed Osman

Friday April 12 2019

Osman Mohamed Osman is a journalist.

Osman Mohamed Osman is a journalist. PHOTO | COURTESY 

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1. Why did you decide to become a writer and how do you feel when you see your byline?

For a long time, writing has been part of me, since high school to be specific. I wrote to relieve stress and frustration. You know how secondary schools can be, especially boarding school. It gave me joy. Satisfaction.

I wrote not knowing that the write-ups were forming the foundation for an eventual career: journalism. When I joined USIU-Africa in January 2014, I continued writing.

Unlike high school, where I would write and keep pieces for myself, at university, I decided to push it further and get them published. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but after attending several workshops and meeting editors, I was published by the Daily Nation in April 15 2014. I was in my first semester. God bless Bernard Mwinzi, the editor who published me. Seeing my byline on print and online gives me a certain joy that cannot be explained. It motivates me. It makes me feel important and successful. It also makes me look forward to my next story.

2.You recently wrote about being interviewed by the BBC on the Garissa attack. Do you think the government has done enough to prevent such an incident from happening again?

I don't know what they've done, really. And if they're doing anything, then it's failing. I mean, I started reporting about terror since 2014. I published and explained to readers the impact of such attacks. I had completed high school when Westgate was attacked. I joined university and other attacks happened in Garissa, Mandera and Likoni. I have been reporting such attacks since my university days, and it pains me to keep reporting on the same stories five years since I started reporting about them. It's so painful to speak to families and friends of terror victims. I reported on the 14 Riverside complex attacks in January this year and it reminded me of all the others.

To answer your question, no, I don't think anything is being done to make us secure.

3.Who do you work for now, and what articles are you the proudest of?

I'm a freelance journalist though I've been associated with Al Jazeera since 2015. I travel around the continent to file development and human interest stories for them. I also publish news pieces for them on a regular basis. Other publications I work with are Quartz Africa, whose focus is on business and tech in Africa. I also continue to publish locally from time to time. I'm proud of all the stories I've published. The one that will always be in my heart though is my first feature in the Daily Nation, ‘Prisoner of My Identity.’ I love that piece because it opened lots of doors for me. It's my imaginary trophy.


4.Who do you read, and how do you think people can make their writing better?

I read fiction and non-fiction. Books like Hisham Matar's The Return and Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, are some of my best books. I try to read as many as possible. I also read magazines such as the New Yorker and Time. I believe that the more you read the better you write. No school has ever taught me how to write. That's my advice to those who would want to improve their writing. Read more. Read short stories. For print journalists, read in-depth features in magazines and newspapers. It exposes your mind to a beautiful world that, if you do well, you might be part of.

5. If you had a career change, what would you become?

A scholar of Islam. I would go to a university in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia or Madina or Saudi Arabia and become a scholar. I would then teach it. I love Islam, my religion.