After having decided that the feature article should be the profile of a man who we think reflects the lifestyle and other demographics of our target market: upwardly mobile young at heart males. And so the question was asked: Who is the coolest man in Tanzania? Without much debate or even discussion we agreed that our man was Joseph Kusaga. Sorry about that Kelvin, Eric, Luca, Chris and JK, Joe is our man. And so the next question: Why Joe as he is affectionately known? It’s the mystique of being Tanzania’s premier entertainment mogul and how he evolved. Sure the guy is handsome, dresses immaculately, has a beautiful and intelligent wife and drives a hot Porsche, but it’s the mystique that surrounds him that make him cool. Just ask your self, what do you know about Joe? Could you recognize him? When was the last time you saw his picture in the media? Although many people know about him very few people know any of his details.

Joe was born and raised in Musoma and at age 5 moved to Dar es Salaam when his father, a civil servant was transferred. He wasnumber4inafamilyof9(5boysand4 girls). His father ran a very tight ship and at an early age he learned discipline and how to focus and concentrate. Also at a very early age he developed a passion for music and

entertainment. At the time Tanzania was for the most part still in the dark ages as far as entertainment was concerned. There was maybe one radio station and maybe one TV station. This was that period of time before the internet and before cell phones; even before a full FM radio spectrum.

After completing high school Joe continued his studies at Kidatu College studying electronics. During and after college Joe began to organize events. With not a lot of competition and a deep passion for entertainment, Joe became a very popular DJ and Event Organizer. People still recall the good old days at Motel Agip where Joe would run discos. Although his father and mother did not see much of a future in doing events they trusted and had confidence in their son. He had their quite support.

The big turning point in his life was when he went to New York City and Los Angles. There he heard music over the radio that really inspired him to move to the next level of creating a radio station in Tanzania. It was the golden era of soul music in the USA and he was exposed to the greats at their peak. Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Little Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations and the mighty James Brown really turned him on musically. In addition he heard other artists such as Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles

and Abba. In Los Angeles he connected with his life long business partner, Ruge and they began planning a radio station for Tanzania that would soon become Clouds FM. The first thing he did when he returned from New York was to learn everything you needed to know in order to license and operate a radio station. There were not many examples but he soon mastered all the information and data that was available.

However, as the saying goes, next to every successful man is a very successful woman. Joe will be the first to tell you that his most important and most valuable asset is his relationship with his wife, Juhayna. They have been married for 11 years and have two beautiful children, Natalie, their 7-year-old daughter and his best friend and Zalex their 3-year-old son. Joe fell in love with Juhayna when he first met her and as he tells it, she fell in love with him and pursued him. He was helpless under the charm and wit of a beautiful young woman. However, her story is that he pursued her with a tenacious persistence: constantly at her house with new cars, fancy clothes and lots of friends. She finally relented to go out with him notwithstanding that he was not from Zanzibar where she is from and he was not a Muslim. For whatever reason we tend to go with her story. We speculate that this may have been a time in the life of Cool Joe when he was not cool. What impressed her then and now is his determination and commitment to get what he wants, to do whatever it takes, within legal and certain moral limits, to do what it takes to reach his goals. Joe’s history and accomplishments provide ample evidence that he is focused and driven to successes. And perhaps at the time of meeting Juhayna he knew he needed holistic success: family, social life and business. In addition to being a dedicated mother and wife, Juhayna is one of the few women in Tanzania with a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA). She serves as CEO of Primetime Promotions and oversees several of their other ventures that include building a luxury hotel in Zanzibar. She was responsible for introducing, Shaggy, Jay-Z, Malaika, Hugh Masakela, Mya, Fat Joe, Beyonce, 50 Cent and TOK to Tanzania.

After Joe and Juhayna obtained the radio license, the story is all up hill from there. When Clouds hit the airways they introduced what could be called underground Tanzanian music to the airways. They featured artist who although were popular were not being heard on the radio. It was an exciting time for the music scene in Tanzania and its safe to say many would be artists were inspired to pursue careers in music. It’s also safe to say that Clouds opened the door for Bongo Flava as well as the introduction of R & B and Rock. By the way Clouds stands for Cool, Lovable, Outrageous, Unique, Dynamic, Sound. It was crafted back in LA by Ruge and Joe and remains the standard that they strive to achieve.

The Clouds Empire now includes Clouds FM, Primetime Promotions, Choice FM. Coconut Radio Station, Ngoma Web TV and Kitangoma Magazine. Joe and others would say his keys to success are his ability to identify talent, nurture talent, know exactly what he wants, remain focused and work hard until his goals are achieved. Of particular importance to Joe’s success is his ability to identify, recruit and retain talented individuals, notwithstanding his admitted single mindedness and stubbornness in making decisions. Many of the people who started with Joe remain in the Clouds Empire or are very successful with other media companies. They include, Ruge, Big Chris, Boni Love, Kiondi, Daudi, Pricilla, Pamela, Ruakabele and Tagil.

What’s on the horizon for Joe and the Clouds Empire? Look forward to very a comfortable hotel in Zanzibar, an innovative and creative TV station, and an autobiography titled Unaweza. All should be forthcoming this year and all should be in the spirit of Clouds.

On a personal note, we found Cool Joe to be very down to earth, honest in his self-assessment, committed to his family, very stylish, somewhat humble and deeply passionate about music. We enjoyed our interaction with him and his family and wish him all the success he desires, as we know we will all enjoy and benefits!

By Ackland Mhina & Clark Arrington (More and more...
Kajunason Blog

Kajunason Blog

A Tanzanian blog operating since October 2007, covering Local News, Politics, Fashion, Social Scenes, Interviews, Movies, Events, personalities and anything positive happening worldwide. Written in Swahili and English targeting both Swahili and English readers / viewers.

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