National News

CYNTHIA MWANGI: My tribute to Allan ‘Lala’ Makaka

Cynthia Mwangi

We are profoundly saddened by the death of Allan Makaka, who at the time of his demise was a Business Manager at Hot 96, the only station which broadcasts in English of the 13 radio stations under the Royal Media Services stable.

Makaka, or Malala as some called him had an immediate positive impact on the people and station as a whole. He was popular and highly engaging; always ready to provide advice and perspective on any matter pertaining to Hot 96.

Wherever he spoke, Allan was listened to, not only for what he said but for the manner he said it. Depending on the occasion or forum, it would either be quietly, utterly without bombast, or the complete opposite but always with passion. That was the kind of man he was. If he believed in something, it didn’t matter what anyone else said, he’d push on until he gets it  done or run into a brickwall. And it needed to be stone-cold hard because even then he would not stop until he went through it. This exemplified raw determination and the fire in his belly which never got extinguished no matter the circumstances!

A team player, Makaka never held back from his duties. PHOTO/Courtesy

I can’t remember when I first met him, but I was working in the Production department. I feel like he’s someone I’ve known for much much longer. If my memory serves me right I had two memorable conversations with ‘Lala’ and the one that really sticks out like a sore thumb was my first with him, I think in 2016.

Two things stood out from that conversation. The first was his frank expression of hopes and projects following my appointment as Head of Radio – Hot 96. The other was his gusto. He didn’t hold back. “Cynthia, we have to make this work, okay? Hapa hakuna mchezo. This is not Citizen! Old Old guys…hapana! Changamkia Changamkia!”He would tell me, his views or ideas usually accompanied by that signature smile.

His death hit me hard and the entire Hot 96 family and RMS at large, but his demise is a reminder to me and to us, that we best do what we really want to do as we go through life because he did exactly that. Showing up on locations fully dressed in money heist outfits; and clubbing with Indian chief hats.

You loved and lived your best life Malala.

A jovial character, Makaka was always  full of life. PHOTO/Courtesy

But perhaps to understand how quick-witted he was, Malala could easily sell milk to a cow. He was aggressive; Hot 96 is what it is now because of the zeal he had. Many times we would disagree but he was quick to make peace. “Cynthia, my guy, it business, unaelewa. Hapa hakuna cha nini. Wacha tu we hit target kwanza, alafu sisi hao! Odhumo!” He lived the brand’s lifestyle; life, passion, love, dunda… “You guy, my guy.”

Malala is one of those of whom it can truly be said that he made the world a better place for those of us who were lucky enough to call him a brother and for many more who called him a friend.

He personified everything that is good and bright in this world. It is a little dimmer now that his light has left us.

We will miss his vigour, his endless happiness, wit and charm.

From his character, power and drive,  it’s easy to  understand why he took the rugby world by storm and why he was a darling to many. As we blow off the candle of his life, we’ll forever miss the cherished memories we  had.

Munduiriri, you are gone.

Never to be seen again.

This still feels surreal.


Rest with the Angels, and say hi to Mum.

Cynthia Mwangi is the Station Manager- Hot 96.

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