What you need to know:
- Mateya first stepped onto the podium when an MC at a wedding in Lang'ata, Nairobi failed to show up. That was 15 years ago.
- He had been a crew member of the Daystar University’s Afrizo Band prior to joining Kayamba Fiesta band.
- He also offers a dancing and entertainment crew and public address systems.
For the 20 years Danson Mateya has been performing in the events industry, 15 of which he has been a Master of Ceremony (MC), two events have come to define and shape his career.
The first was back in 2005. He was a crew member of the Kayamba Fiesta band and they had been invited to provide entertainment services at a wedding in Lang’ata, Nairobi.
“Then the MC who had been invited to run the event failed to show up. The hosts had to ask if there was anyone among us who could run the programme. I volunteered and that was how I started my career as an MC,” Mr Mateya recalls.
Unexpected as it came and unprepared as he was, he continued to guide the wedding’s programme and just with that, he had suddenly become an MC, a career he would pursue to date.
Over time, he has gained the experience and popularity in equal measure, to the point of managing huge corporate events and weddings of the high and mighty.
The second event that would shape Mateya’s profession, boost his self-esteem and improve his ratings within the events world would come 13 years later, on August 24, 2018.
“This is the wedding that the President attended. I was not prepared and when he suddenly showed up, I was shocked. I was wondering how I would introduce him to speak when the right moment came, and how I would know the right moment had come,” the MC, who now identifies himself as the Presidential MC, said.
He would then quickly turn to his phone and start searching for stuff such as “how to introduce the President” on the Internet, as well as consulting the preacher and the couple on how that critical decision would be made.
“The couples told us that the President had attended the wedding just as a normal guest and so introducing him to address people wasn’t a necessity,” he said.
To date, MC Mateya recalls that day and the wedding has become one of the most memorable events he ever officiated.
“There was no sign at all that he would attend. It’s expected that extra security should be present where the Head of State is expected. There was none,” the MC says, admiring photos he took with the President during the day and which, to him, have become souvenirs.
MC Mateya is a charming character and describing these events, you can almost picture how they happened. He talks, while painting a mental picture.
He has overseen other high profile events that had prominent guests such as Chief Justice David Maraga and the Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi.
But he did not just start being an entertainer recently.
“I started enjoying these things back when I was in high school. Back then, we performed plays and traditional music. I loved it so much and we would always excel.”
After high school, he decided he would pursue entertainment as a career. He joined Daystar University’s Afrizo Band where he sharpened his skills under music lecturer, singer and performer Hellen Mtawali, then later joined Kayamba Fiesta Band.
It was from the band that he would realise he had a talent and passion for emceeing, albeit accidentally, in the Lang’ata wedding.
“What makes me stand out is the professionalism in running programmes. The way I engage crowds and appreciate the different sets of audiences in deciding how to run events has had many people appreciate my services,” the MC now says.
He says choice of music, identifying how to address guests and knowing the couple are critical in weddings, since missing a mark could spoil a good moment. For him, weddings are the most involving and to ensure everything goes well, he makes sure there are proper preparations, including getting to understand and bond with the couple. This is done a few days to the wedding and during the rehearsal day.
He also offers a dancing and entertainment crew and public address systems.
And in every job, there is always the most enjoyable part. “The part I love most is after the couple has been officially announced Mr and Mrs so and so. I’ve introduced a way where just after the pastor makes the announcement, we break into a celebratory dance for about two minutes. It is the most enjoyable part and it brings out the joy in everyone,” he says.
And during times like the current Covid-19 crisis, he has also suffered slow business, the events industry having been one of the hardest-hit.
For about three months when the government introduced strict measures to prevent spread of the disease, Mr Mateya says they went without a job.
“We were never prepared for such an occurrence. But we have now adapted especially after the government eased measures to allow 15 people in gatherings and later 100,” he said.
But he takes the pandemic positively, learning his lessons and adapting his operations, especially tapping into the digital market.
“Since we began hosting events during Covid-19, we are ensuring all people wear masks, respect social distance as advised as we introduce services such as live streaming on YouTube and social media for guests who may have been locked out,” he said.
This is besides marketing his services through his social media accounts, Danson Mateya (MC Mateya) on Facebook and Instagram.