For his first show, Big Ted was paid a plate of chips and a sausage. However, he rose to be a celebrated events organiser and deputy director in charge of State Branding and Events. His sister Lily Kwaka, lets us in on his childhood, career and more
I’m 26 years old. I’m the Proprietor and of Mama Duka Ventures, which deals with event supplies and management. On the side, I also do IT consultancy and customised stationery. I have four siblings and Thomas Kwaka, commonly known as Big Ted is the third born in the family.
How was it growing up with Big Ted? Big Ted?
I know him as Ted, my big bro who used to (and still does) order me around and bully me. I remember I was his wing man anytime he wanted to throw a party at our house, of course it would come with a lot of bribe. We were raised in Eastlands, Buruburu.
He went to Nairobi School for his A levels. Then he did a few courses in marketing and IT and then got into the entertainment industry. He stated rapping and shortly became a deejay in the process. Then he got into events planning and did events such as the Chaguo La Teeniz, among others.
He comes off as protective. Is it even more when it comes to you?
Yes, of course. As all big brothers are. But I’m the last-born and the youngest sister so, you can imagine. We understand the unspoken verbal contract that states brothers can make fun of our sisters, but will summon the power of Thor’s hammer if anyone else teases them.
What are some of the unforgettable childhood memories you two have?
They are quite a lot. During visiting days in high school, he would visit me in place of my parents, and that was an ultimate spoil plan getting all the junk I wanted. I also remember helping him throw birthday party at our house in the absence of our parents, then having to quickly clean up to hide evidence. It was always fun times with him because he would also tag me along to his events.
Now that you are all grown up, has your relationship changed?
Well, yes it has. It has matured so to speak. We have both grown into our own individualities, and the bond has only but strengthened. He knows and understands me and the person I have become and I, him. So, the synergy works well, especially because we also work together on many occasions.
Since you work with him on some occasions, what would be the best and worst events he has organised?
Best, I am torn between Maasai Mara Marathon and To Hells Gate in a Wheelbarrow. Because both events were in the wild and to pull through with that needed a lot of muscle and dedication.
Events are also not easy to organise. There have been cases where people don’t show up at the beginning, but somehow they always turn out to be successful somehow. How is he as a father and a husband? He terms his wife, Sofie, a medic by profession, his best friend. They have been together since 2007.
He is a loving and compassionate dad. He loves and adores his children and literally does everything for them. What’s more is his daughters are a spitting image of him and it’s funny how they take after him even on having similar habits.
What lessons have you learnt from him?
On your way up and down the ladder of life, be loyal to those that started with you and those who helped you along the way despite any shortfalls. Do it, try it. If you don’t try you’ll never know or learn but it’s not a must (si lazima as he would put it). And most importantly, his love for God and how he puts him first and don’t lose sight.
Last year, he got appointed as deputy director in charge of State Branding and Events. How has his life changed?
His life has changed, especially his grooming. From being a casual guy, now he has to be in a suit and tie on almost a daily basis. Compared to other years people now view him as a serious individual since he handles major events for the government and now people are showing interest in working with him.
Having worked with politicians in his current job, is he thinking of joining politics?
(Laughs). Ted loves organising events he hasn’t shown much interest in politics. But I guess only time will tell.
Tell us something we don’t know about Ted?
Those close to him know he does his work with all he has, he puts in a lot to achieve results as he doesn’t like letting people down or disappointing them. One thing I find outstanding is his passion for shoes. He probably has more shoes than me.