Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Ryoichi Horie took diplomatic farewells a notch higher.
Instead of the same old boring meet, greet, and silly grinning photos we’re used to seeing when diplomats end their tour, Horie came in with a band and serenaded President Uhuru Kenyatta with two famous Kenyan songs at their farewell meeting.
In the video shared, the guitar-playing Ryoichi first sang Eric Wainaina’s popular song Daima, a great choice, especially for its optimistic message to Kenyans. Daima urges Kenyans to be patriotic, shun tribalism, corruption, and forge unity.
But he didn’t stop there; in the video shared by the Kenyan State House, Horie also sang Fadhili William’s Malaika, a Kenyan masterpiece hit song released back in the 60s, often confused with having originated from Tanzania.
The love song’s catchphrase, “Malaika, nakupenda Malaika,” is a Kiswahili romantic expression meaning, “Angel, I love you, my Angel.”
Malaika is now recognized as an African love anthem with famous bands such as American Boney M. singing an acapella rendition that has more than 4 million views on YouTube. Africa’s great South African singer Miriam Makeba also released a version of the song, but unfortunately misidentified the origin of the song as Tanzania.
While Malaika is a romantic song, it has taken a more significant meaning in the Kenyan landscape to symbolize love.
And clearly, President Kenyatta felt the love. He stood mesmerized in front of the singing ambassador and his band of two Japanese drummers, pianists, and backup singers.
“Congratulations!” Kenyatta exclaimed while applauding the talented diplomat. “Well done, asante sana.” (Thank you very much)
Dressed in one of his laid-back signature untucked long-sleeved floral shirts, Kenyatta walked up to the ambassador and fist-bumped him in gratitude.
According to a message posted in the Kenyan State House Twitter account, the President thanked Ambassador Horie for deepening the Kenya-Japan bilateral relationship.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Head of Public Service Dr. Joseph Kinyua, among others, attended the farewell meeting.
A Kenyan living in California who shared the video with Hotseatnews celebrated the moment.
“It is quite encouraging to see a developed country like Japan reminding us of who we are,” he said in a WhatsApp message.