The late Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Robert (Bob) Collymore loved art and music, at least judging from the tribulates of those who got to interact with him at a personal level.
His love for the art of music saw him launch the Safaricom Jazz Festival while at the helm of Kenya’s largest telco company.
In fact, during his early years at Safaricom, he featured in famous Furi Furi Dance, a remix of the initial track by gospel singer Jimi Gait.
Talking of Music, one would ask who was Bob’s favourite artists in the industry?
The Guyanese-born British businessman had a close relationship with gospel singer Julius Owino better known as Juliani.
The hip hop gospel singer featured in many of the late Safaricom boss’ events and in more than once Bob threw his name whenever he was asked to name his favourite local artist.
When Collymore walked down the aisle with the love of his life Wambui Kamiru in a private ceremony in Kitisuru in 2016, only one artist was on the guest list, Juliani.
The two first met years ago at a Safaricom event. They would later become great buddies.
According to Juliani, Bob liked him from the day they had their first chat.
“The day we met, I talked to him in Kiswahili and I still believe that is what attracted him to me,” Juliani said recently in an interview.
The Bahasha Ya Ocampo crooner was among Bob’s close friends who had a chat two days before he succumbed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia on Monday morning at his home in Nairobi.
According to Juliani, he last talked with Bob last week on Friday.
They joked about a clip of white people taught how to dance because he always said he did not know how to dance, Juliani disclosed in a recent interview.
Little did he know that was their last conversation.
Juliani was among the few selected people who attended the top CEO’s private send-off ceremony at Kariokor cemetery where Collymore was cremated on Tuesday.
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Only family and close friends were allowed entry into the premises and obviously, Juliani was lucky to be on the list.
Others who were in the company of Juliani include businessman Manu Chandaria, Safaricom board chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a, TV presenter Jeff Koinange, acting Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph, Peter Kenneth, Permanent Secretary Esther Koimett and UK Ambassador to Kenya Nic Hailey.
Juliani remembers Collymore for his down to earth character, “He was a hundred per cent human and a gentle giant,” he recalls.