James Muigai, who goes by his stage name, DJ Afro is by far the most famous movie commentator in Kenya. Most Kenyans have seen his film voice-overs at some point, while even some guys pay to meet up and get entertained by his narrations.
DJ Afro became a popular name, especially for people in Kenya and Tanzania who needed knowledge of how a movie flows, even if they did not understand the language. People began impersonating him, and to differentiate himself, he changed his name to DJ Afro AKA Kimoda.
The movie commentator is renowned for his trademark ad-libs, including phrases like ‘alrrriiiight,’ ‘asante sana,’ and ‘cheki maneno,’ which have become favourites among fans. His unique voice, pitch, and enthusiastic narration style give him an edge over his peers.
The DJ remains everyone’s favourite in the midst of many who have been trained to be like him and follow in his footsteps but none can match up to him.
James Muigai began honing his craft in 2006, by consistently delivering humourous commentary on videos. He did these gigs at local theatres in Rongai and Kiserian. Initially, he faced challenges and was forced to relocate after some people criticized his work.
“Ten years ago, we could not record a voice-over due to a lack of equipment. I had to commentate live in a video show in Kiserian and Rongai on the outskirts of Nairobi. These shows were very popular then,” he said in a past interview.
After facing disappointment from critics, DJ Afro relocated to Nakuru with no material possessions. With only his talents and dreams, he found support in Nakuru, making friends with someone who provided him with commentating and recording equipment.
He attributes his success to God, emphasizing that he always prioritized God before starting his journey and continues to do so as he makes a living out of his craft.
“If you want to succeed as an artist, put God first. It’s not that I’m very hardworking, but it is because of God’s favour that I am succeeding.”
“Secondly, you have to be very creative. You have to be more creative with each day. So you have to study the movie, and find a way to make it interesting,” he added.
DJ Afro disclosed that he owns a movie shop in Nakuru where he sells movies. Asked about copyright concerns, he brushed off any worries arguing instead that actors and producers of the movies should reward him for making them famous.
“If you look at some of these movies, they are done in foreign languages and most times, people don’t even understand what is going on. This is where I come in, and make the movie interesting for everyone,” he mentioned.
In 2018, DJ Afro landed in hot waters with the Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB) CEO, Ezekiel Mutua who disliked the rough language he used in his movie narrations. The incident was investigated and his films were suspended. Gikuyu TV was asked not to air his movies.
DJ Afro admitted to his errors and noted that some of his films being disseminated were his previous works, replicated by others. After discussions with KFCB, the ban was lifted and his films were allowed to air on TV.
In 2021, Kenyans on Twitter (now KOX) cried out for movie streaming service Netflix to promote the DJ by allowing him to feature on Netflix Kenya’s movie voiceovers. This is after the company hired a wannabe DJ Afro instead of the real one.
Netflix heeded their pleas and the famous DJ, was contracted to voice the trailer for the movie Thunder Force.