September 2, 2014

Reuben Kigame

Summary

Reuben KigameMr. Reuben Kigame is a Christian leader, musician, media personality and political activist from Kenya whose life and work has touched millions in Africa, Europe, America, Canada, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Reuben is an articulate public speaker respected by many. He speaks regularly to High School and university students in Kenya and beyond on diverse themes, ranging from faith to politics, careers, music, media, values and family relationships.  His music is used in Churches all over the world and His Apologetics ministry and radio broadcasts viewed as a gift to the modern church especially in Africa. Reuben is well-read and quite inspiring to many given his having beaten many odds in life to be who he is.

His wide knowledge, easy-going personality and his ability to treat everyone with personal respect and touch, his good listening and depth has made Reuben admired by many around the world.

Early Life

Born on March 13, 1966, in East bunyore, western Kenya, reuben unfortunately lost his sight at the age of 3 years. To quote him:

“I remember one evening after mum blessed our dinner at home, I reached out for the plate and missed it. This shocked me, but especially my mother, brothers and sisters present. We were all to discover shortly after that I was going blind.”

Reuben recounts how he occasionally ran into objects and how, at one time, he slid and fell into a small pond after the rains. this pond had naturally been created by the digging out of mud for use in plastering their house at home. He was rescued by his brothers with whom he had been playing. Reuben was later to discover that he had gone blind from a cataract attack but that it was detected late due to poor medical facilities where he grew up.

Reuben further explains: “Despite my visual disability, I am so thankful that my parents and sibblings did not treat me the way other children living with disability in my country were treated. Ordinarily, children with disability were hidden from the public often as a means of showing that there was no curse in the family. I thank my parents, brothers and sisters for loving me and treating me as they did anybody else. This is probably the reason for my great confidence and courage in life.”

Reuben developed great social skills from an early age. He enjoyed sack-racing, three-legged races, wrestling, high and long jump with fellow village boys and loved Sunday School at Church from very early. He enjoyed modleing clay into different shapes, known and imaginary, playing with kites, car tyres, wheelbarrows and even assisting with fetching water from the nearby river.

School

Reuben joined Kibos School for the Blind in Kisumu, Kenya, at the age of 7. Here he excelled academically despite early struggles with adjustment from the warmth of home into a boarding setting. The boarding environment, however, introduced him to other boys and girls who were blind, but exhibited diverse talents and abilities. He distinguished himself early as a good speaker through the Debating Society and a good singer through the school choir. He was then to establish his own small band that became very popular during the last three years of elementary school. He mostly wrote songs, did the musical arrangements for the band even though he could not play anything beyond percussions.

Having passed the Certificate of Primary Education exams well in 1980, Reuben proceeded to the Salvation army High School for the Blind in Thika, Kenya, where he was from 1981 to 1986. Here, Reuben excelled academically, but also greatly developed his public speaking and music talents. It was while at High School that Reuben clearly heard the Gospel and became a believer in Jesus Christ. He then joined Kenyatta University in 1987 from where he graduated in 1990 with a B.ed in History, Philosophy and Religious Studies. Reuben was mentored in Christian Apologetics at the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Apologetics Institute based in atlanta, Georgia, from 1996 to 1998 and is currently working on two Masters programmes in Apologetics and Journalism/Media Studies respectively.

Reuben, Mercy and Kigame FamilyFamily

Reuben’s parents, Susan and Richard Lichete brought Reuben and his sibblings up under a harsh economic environment. While Richard worked as a long-distance bus driver, he was hardly home where Susan literally took care of the family by herself through pottery and subsistence farming. Although his father is now a staunch Christian, he had no regard for faith when Reuben was growing up alongside his three brothers and three sisters, because he drunk his wages away.

Reuben married his college sweetheart, Mercy Wanderwa Mwangi, in May 1991 at a colourful ceremony at St. Francis Anglican Church of Kenya, in nairobi. They got three daughters: Shalom (born 1992, now a Communications student at Daystar University), Shekinah (born 1994, now a music student at Kenyatta University) and Shema (born 2003). Unfortunately, Mercy went to be with the Lord on September 5, 2006, following a tragic road accident when driving Shema to hospital. Shema survived.  Reuben then married one of Mercy’s friends, Julie Alividza Mugone who was also a member of Sifa Voices, a music team Reuben established in 1996. Together they have a son, Yeshua, born in February, 2010.

Faith

Reuben has been a committed Christian since 1981 when he accepted the Lordship of Christ at a Sunday service at the Salvation Army High School for the blind. Reuben explains:

“For some time I hated God and did not want much to do with Him as a teenager. I thought that God had favourites and I knew I was not among them. I also thought He was waiting for when I would start having fun and then stop me. I wanted my freedom and so I soaked myself with friends, music and the drug,Cannabis. My youth was being messed up by this rebellious lifestyle until God performed what I would just describe as a supernatural heart transplant, removing my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh.”

It all happened when, as Reuben says, he understood that God loved him in spite of the handicap and that running away was only making things worse in his life. Through John 3:16 and Revelation 3:20, Reuben understood that he was a determined rebel before God, but that God really loved Him still and wanted a better life for him. He yielded his life to Him.Although he was tempted to become a Muslim in view of his best friends having been some and despite lots of philosophical challenges to his faith at the university, reuben has stood as one of the staunchest believers in Jesus the world has ever seen.

Reuben insists that it is not enough to have faith. that faith must be based on solid facts. He says there are good reasons to demonstrate that only Christ is the way to God:

  1. His sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead which has been proven by good historical evidence.
  2. The inerrancy of the Bible.
  3. All religions accept the uniqueness of Jesus as a prophet from god and that He told nothing but the truth.
  4. that only Christianity has fully answered the question of the problem of evil in the world.

Reuben says, “I checked Hinduism and I did not like the Caste system. I checked Islam and I could not stand the fatalism and the violence. I checked ancestral worship among my people in Kenya and it left me wondering how people can worship fellow creatures.Besides, African religions simply left me desperately reeling from the teaching that my handicap was the problem of curses in my family. … Atheism was too cheap for me. …”

As early as 1983, Reuben began to attend youth camps at the Diguna evangelistic mission station at Mbagathi, Nairobi. He became close friends with Vic Paul, a missionary who became his mentor until his death in 2009. Vic Paul’s life of simplicity, prayerfulness, sacrificial living and spending oneself for others rubbed heavily on reuben. He would travel with Vic Paul around Kenya and East Africa and, several times, Vic asked Reuben to accompany him for Gospel meetings in germany and switzerland. Vic taught Reuben a lot on radio broadcasting technology, leading to Reuben’s single-handed establishment of Fish FM, a popular radio station in Kenya (www.fishkenya.net).

Reuben resigned from a teaching career in 1994 to enter outreach, first by working with Kenya Youth For Christ and then founding Word of Truth Ministries, an Apologetics organization that engages in friendly dialogue with critics and opponents of Christianity. he answers questions on Christianity and explains the Gospel to all, but especially those with intellectual obstacles to faith.

Reuben’s faith has been largely influenced by his close Christian friends around the Diguna circle and those in college, the reading of the Bible and of authors such as Justin Martyr, augustine, ThomasAquinas, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Francis Schaeffer, Harry Blumaires, Alister McGraath, Malcolm Muggeridge, Michael Green, John Stott, John warwick Montgomery, Josh McDowell and the work of his mentor, Dr. ravi Zacharias. He says his spiritual role model remains Billy Graham, the great American evangelist.

Music

Tulia AlbumReuben began to sing around the family table before his mother led the family in prayer just before going to bed. His love for music was further inspired by his eldest brother, Philemon, who played guitar from very early and who had his own band that occasionally practised at home. He tried his hands at percursions that early. it is, however, in school that his talent blossomed in society with other boys. First, there was a small band in primary school then he joined Super Igniters in High School. when he became a christian he abandoned Super Igniters and joined a band that played mostly christian songs, called the Starlights. He was then to leave the Starlights and establish his own band, The Ambassadors with which he sang and played for the rest of his High school days. He was then to join the Youth for Christ music teams while at the university and gained national recognition through this group because of their constant appearance on two of Kenya’s greatest early television shows, Sing and Shine and Joy bringers Family show. The Kenya

Broadcasting corporation was to discover Reuben’s talent of both singing, playing and speaking and began to invite him regularly for ministry at their Religious Broadcast Department.

Later Reuben established Jubilee, a music group that succeeded his college confines. Later he was to sign up with his friends to bring up another music group called Victory sound which ended up recording one great album, “Dunia Ni Shangwe.” It is while with Victory Sound that Reuben’s musical inclinations began to change and he began to experiment with large choral arrangements on a full accompaniment. At first he recorded worship music under this new style which he simply labelled, “Reuben Kigame and Friends.” he later called this team Sifa voices. See www.sifavoiceskenya.com

Reuben’s music recording journey, however, began in 1987 when a friend called Imbumi  Makuku booked Reuben at a small studio at Transworld Radio in Nairobi. He was to record his first album, what a Mighty god We Have that year. His second album was recorded shortly after during his visit to Germany with Vic Paul late 1988 into early 1989. To date, Reuben has released 20 albums, the last one, Raw Emotions, released in 2011.

Media

Reuben debuted his broadcast career in 1999 by starting to send a thirty minute programme called “Come Let Us Reason” to Sayare Radio in Eldoret. He briefly worked with Radio citizen in 2001 while the station was still new and wrote jingles for them. He was asked by Mr. Leo slingerland to join him at Family Media to present a daily show at Family FM, which he did for one year. He has worked at Biblia Husema and briefly volunteered at Kameme fM. Reuben was also instrumental in the launch of Hope fM in Nairobi and worked there as a presenter. It is no wonder that he was groomed enough to dream and set up Fish FM which began to broadcast in 2006.

Awards

Reuben has received several awards. For a comprehensive listing, please visit the Reuben Kigame Music Fan Page on Facebook.

On Heroes’ day (Mashujaa Day) in 2010, Reuben was given a Head of State award, the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) in recognition of his contribution to Kenya’s media and music.

Political Career

Reuben has always written or spoken on issues of justice, equality, good governance etc since his student days. He wrote a booklet while at Kenyatta University titled, “Communism and the Christian Faith” besides several essays on political and social themes. He was very keen and constantly mobilized his friends towards supporting the clamor for multiparty politics which national push led to the repealing of section 2 A of the old constitution which had limited the country to only one party. he attended several rallies on this matter. he says, “I began to vote for Kibaki as early as 1992 and was glad when he finally became the president in 2002. I was disappointed by his leadership one year into his rule and I became one of the critics of his policies, but especially his relaxed attitude towards corruption and impunity.”

Reuben has been vocal in speaking against the liberalism in the constitutional processes in Kenya and opposed both the first 2005 constitution and the 2010 constitution which was adopted that year for what describes as, “a bad, calculated process, an anti-Christian legislation and sheer ignorance of both constitutionalism and justice.” Nevertheless, he says he respects it now that it is the supreme law of the land and hopes he can push towards the amendment of several bad clauses in future.

Reuben is currently running for Governor in Vihiga County in Kenya and says he hopes to bring about godly change inch by inch, row by row.

Comments

  1. I have known Mr. Reuben Kigame over the past six years. In 2006, I got to learn that Mr. Kigame was about to start a Radio Station in Eldoret which I would later join as a member of the staff. He is an open, simple and straight forward leader, devoted to God’s service. This is in spite of challenges he faces at the ministry. As a family man, he is stable and does display Godly qualities both as a father and a husband. As a friend I have related with Mr. Kigame and known him to be compassionate and humble. He is a visionary man. He sets objectives with clarity and precision at the ministry. The objectives are met. He has organized many ministry meetings that have been successful. Is a mentor in broadcasting. He has a hands on approach in his style of leadership and cherishes quality work. On weaknesses, I think he works longer hours that perhaps he lacks enough time with his family.

    Mr. Kigame is highly respected as a worship arranger and leader the world over. He has earned a state commendation OGW for his contribution to Christian music. His other interests include starting a Christian college and a television station. I admire his ability to juggle so much. Mr. Kigame places enormous value to the sanctity of the Gospel as a practicing Christian. His passion is to see the power of the Gospel impact lives. He runs an apologetics outreach arm of Word of Truth Ministries WTM to defend the Christian faith.

    Mr. Kigame’s ministry has daily changed millions of listeners’ lives through FISH FM programmes and news. This has positively changed the community’s way of thinking. Following Kenya’s 2007 post election violence, FISH FM positively contributed towards peace building and healing though its tailor made programmes. Millions can still access FISH FM broadcasts around the country and the world through http://www.fishkenya.net. He does not let his visual handicap get in the way of ministry.

    Mr. Kigame’s bid for govenor in Vihiga County is crucial for Godly purposes to be realized.

    Patroba Ojwang. Presenter and News Anchor, Fish FM

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have known Reuben for the last 29 years. I first knew him when he was a school boy at Thika High School for the blind. Even then, he was singing, especially country music, and playing guitar excellently for a young man his age.

    I later got to know him better as I ministered together with him on the Youth For Christ (YFC) music teams. Together we went on various missions including Challenge Weekends in various high schools. His love for God and his love for young people we were ministering to was apparent and they easily took to him.

    After this, he joined the Kenyatta University (KU) where I had been studying for 2 years before he joined. His independence as a blind student was amazing. He quickly learned his bearings around the campus and would walk around and get to his lectures and elsewhere with no assistance at all, not even a white cane.He would confidently walk around with only his brail machine in hand.He is a fiercely independent individual who has absolutely no self-pity at all as regards his visual disability.

    Reuben later got married to his college sweetheart Mercy soon after he left University and started teaching at Maryhill Girls High School. He was a History and CRE teacher as well as one of the schools Christian Union (C.U) patrons in the school. He was well loved by his students and some of them, now grown-up, have served with him in various Sifa voices groups.

    Reuben’s gift of music and love of music is unequalled. He has 20 albums in his repertoire and counting, in several different genres.

    A little over a year after getting married, his first daughter Shalom was born and about a year later Shekinah was born. Reuben was and is a hands-on father who loves his children dearly. Changing nappies, bathing and feeding his children is a thing he does with ease.

    He is a committed father and mentor to his children. His two eldest daughters who are now both in University have chosen to pursue disciplines that their father is a great authority in. One is studying Communication and Media while the other is studying Music. It was in recognition of their dad’s contribution in these two disciplines that he was awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) award by the Kenyan Head of State in 2011. One of his daughters has written in her memoirs “Dad, I don’t think you understand just how much I want to be like you”. I think that says it all.

    Reuben and Mercy had a third daughter Shema in 2003 who unfortunately developed cataracts in both her eyes. It was while Mercy was driving Shema to hospital for the first of her operations that she died in a tragic car accident in which thankfully, Shema escaped unhurt.

    A difficult time of mourning and new responsibility then began for Reuben as he now had to cope with his own grief and loss and yet find enough strength to continue raising his three young girls as well as comfort and encourage them through their grief. Part of this included following up with Shema’s hospital appointments and nursing her through the various eye surgeries. He is a strong and resilient man.

    With this, he had to keep the Word of Truth Ministries going as well as the newly launcehed Fish Media and Fish FM radio that had been launched just a week before his wife died. Less than a week after, Reuben was back in the studio broadcasting through his grief. What a man! He is in no way perfect, as no one is perfect. He has normal human weaknesses and frailties but he works hard in spite of them. He is his own biggest critic. It surprises me especially to hear him say quite sincerely that he struggles to like his singing voice. I have seen him struggle with slight insecurity in the recording studio when singing or playing a part. He is human after all!

    Reuben later remarried. He married Julie who he loves dearly. She is a great partner in ministry. Together they keep one of the most hospitable homes I have ever known. I have had the privilege of enjoying their hospitality and I can tell you their home always has guests visiting and staying over, or living in as they are mentored by both Reuben and Julie in life or ministry or both. They are so generous and selfless with their resources that quite often they go without inorder to give and bless others. They have been blessed with a gorgeous little boy Yeshua who I am sure will carry his fathers mantle someday.

    There is so much more I could say about this brother and man of God.

    However for now I will attempt to sum him up with a few adjectives.

    Independent, gifted, resilient, self-less, highly intelligent, gently strong, incredibly hard working (he lives on an average of 4-5 hours sleep a night), seriously committed to God and to serving his fellow man.

  3. Aimable GAHUNGU says:

    I loved KIGAME before i knew about him. May GOD keep and protect him untill the end of his times on this earth. GOD needs such kind of people in these last days.

  4. Geofree Githinji says:

    Reuben ministered to us during my undergraduate days in Kenyatta University through invitation by the christian union. I guess he was delighted to serve in the same university he attended but the words he spoke to us have remained with us to date. He served with passion and called for excellence in christian service.He was bold as he is today.He does not speak his mind but simply speaks the word of God.An exemplary christian leader in a self seeking “christian” leaders’ universe.

  5. Betty Wangari says:

    It was amazing meeting you again in fellowship yesterday after several years.Kigame is definately annointed .Thank you for the wonderful songs of praise and words of wisdom. May the Almighty God bless you and your family as you carry on serving Him .

  6. Atanas Mzee says:

    I love Kigame and the way he articulates the word with preci
    sion and sincerity. Right now I am in apologetics class because I want to remain as relevant as he has been.

  7. winnie says:

    I have heard of Mr. Kigame since I was a small kid. I like listening to his music. I am an aspiring musician
    and 1would really wish to get some advice from him. I have some songs in mind. My desire is to help a soul to Christ though singing. KINDLYBROTHER I NEED YOUR HELP. GOD BLESS YOU.

  8. Chris Gathage says:

    I first got to see Mr. Reuben Kiagame at my High school- Njiiris- when he and others of JOYBRINGERS group came for a “Challenge Weekend”. Since then I got to love his music. I introduced my brothers and sisters to his music, they all love it. The second album” No setting sun” was really well done.(The one recorded in Germany(i think-not its remix,which i didnt like very much) I still am looking for a copy of that!

    I like Mr. Kigame’s tenacity, he takes on big projects,like the Gubernatorial campaign. Though he didnt make it, I love his willingness to try, and to risk failure.

    God bless you sir

  9. Sellah Ayuku says:

    I love the music by our brother Kigame,i never get enough!
    I can play the cds whole day long and never get bored,am blessed by the songs always!
    God bless you and your family.

  10. vivian kiptoo says:

    I AM ALWAYS INSPIRED BY YOUR PROGRAMMES ESPECIALLY HEART TO HEART WHICH HAS GIVEN ME DIRECTION IN RELATIONSHIP AND HOW TO LEAD A FRUITFUL LIFE.I TRUELY THANK LORD FOR THE TALENT THAT HE BLESSED YOU WITH.

  11. DIDYMUS says:

    I thank God for such a wonderful figure in the society- Rueben Kigame.
    He portrays the right example of submission to God’s will which every Christian should follow.
    May God grant him the necessary vitality to fully serve HIM.
    Blessed dealings!

  12. Martin Koome says:

    You are such a blessed mighty man of God
    .There’s a reward,i don’t blink while listening you.

  13. Milca Kakete says:

    I have known Reuben more than a decade ago in Tanzania and he is one of my role model in music for myself as worship leader who desire to represent God as He wants me to and Reuben is one of the worship leaders i look up to, his ministry and in whole i get moved and I bless the Lord for him being a good example.
    Also I was privileged to be taught music by Reuben at Karen s Bible school.
    I pass my regards toward the whole family for the passing of Mercy may God grand you with His comfort that no one can provide except Him and Him alone.

    Now I keep clinging onto my God in the ministry He gave to me and I pray that God will keep Reuben to continue standing as a good example in this music industry.
    God bless you bother.

    Sister Milca Kakete

  14. Shadrack Kilimo says:

    Reuben,you are one of the greatest vessel of God now and always…

    God bless.

  15. kebedi christine obaga says:

    I have never seen brother Reuben but his songs have really inspired me especially the album “Another Country”. I long to see and hear him sing. May the Almighty God bless him abundantly and give him wisdom to continue composing gospel songs.

  16. Raymond Katana says:

    I knew Bro. Reuben in 2007 when we had gone for a national KSCF Convention in Nakuru Boys High school
    His songs inspires me so so much and, they are part of my life and may the Almighty God bless him.
    I love his worship songs.

  17. Josphine Ng'ang'a says:

    Been listening to this great God-given voice of our time since I was in high sch.Never seen him though,but I can honestly say he is in a class of his own.God bless and give you many more years.

  18. Josephine Bii says:

    I could say a million wonderful words about this great man of God, but they wouldn’t tell you who Reuben Kigame actually is. If you get an opportunity, please experience this man! And if I am saying this, you know i have experienced him!

  19. DANCUN OTIENO OUMA says:

    TRUELY HE HAS BEEN A BLESSING TOWARDS MY SPIRITUAL LIFE.KEEP IT UP MY BROTHER AND MY GOD BLESS YOU.

  20. DANCUN OTIENO says:

    HE HAS BEEN A BLESSED MAN TOWARDS MY SPIRITUAL GROWTH.KEEP IT UP MY BROTHER AND MAY GOD BE WITH YOU.

  21. Ann Muiru says:

    Great man of God, your life story will never seize to inspire me….God bless you abundantly in this noble ministries

  22. Sammy Nakitare Chepkwony says:

    I knew about Reuben Kigame through his music. My mother use to buy the radio cassettes back then and we used to enjoy listening to him and Douglas Jiveti. Actually, from the way mum spoke, I grew up thinking that we were related but well, I have never just established how, so I leave it at that.

    I recall meeting Reuben for the first time, when he came to Webuye Deliverance Church for a conference. I was 10 then, If I say I was amazed at how he spoke, I would be lying for I was too young to think about that then. But then, his friendliness left a mark in me. I remember sharing supper with them and later on joining them on stage that night singing “Moyo wangu Msifu Bwana.”

    All, I mean to say is that your ministry has been a blessing. 13 years down the line, I still listen to your music and feel blessed. I don’t know the position of my faith but I love God so much and I pray that what happened to you should happen to me too. I need to know God so much and so much want to let him speak to me and guide my life. It has been a challenge growing through my youth without letting God have His way in my life. Pray for me and Pray with me.

    Otherwise…God Bless you abundantly Reuben and may He do great things to your ministry.

  23. ALEX says:

    Brother kigame is a real spiritual mentor.during my childhood the perception i had about disabled people
    changed when i came face to face with REUBEN.For me i had written off physically impered people until i come face to face Brother Kigame.we all need that spiritual eyes not compound,eyes.may God bless you,and keep you strong,to be able to say to die is gain and to life is for Christ.God bless KIGAME.

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