‘Take off fear’, Gospel Kazako on CNN: Malawi media mogul

Gospel Kazako knows that sometimes it’s best to follow the light.

Kazako grew up with little, but a love of radio gave him the incentive to improve his circumstances

Kazako grew up with little, but a love of radio gave him the incentive to improve his circumstances

After nine years in radio Kazako transitioned into television, maintaining a focus on ethical businesses

After nine years in radio Kazako transitioned into television, maintaining a focus on ethical businesses

The eldest of eight children, the Malawian entrepreneur had a typical upbringing in the southern town of Zomba. One night, sitting out on his parents’ veranda, he spotted a mysterious light flashing atop nearby Mount Mpigwe. He asked someone about it, who told him it was a radio transmitter.

“I got very fascinated,” Kazako recalls. A lifetime obsession was instantly born, setting the young boy on a path that would see him transmitting to millions of people every day and eventually becoming a major media mogul.

High school and a diploma in journalism later and Kazako found employment at Malawian state radio MBC. There, he produced a variety of shows but after seven years he left to set up his own company, which created adverts, features and documentaries for other radio stations.

Kazako’s ambition would take him further; first he was at the helm of his own station, Zodiak Radio (Malawi’s leading privately-owned station), and later on he successfully expanded into television. The process was arduous and required no small measure of perseverance. Here, Kazako tells CNN how he fought his way to the top, why it’s important to look back, and how ethics are at the core of his business.

Perseverance is key. Whilst running his production company, support from clients bolstered Kazako’s belief that he could go it alone and set up his own station.

Things didn’t start well.”In 2002 I applied for a license and it was rejected twice. In 2003 I applied again [but] it was also rejected,” Gospel says. In 2004, and at the fourth attempt, he was granted a national broadcasting license. He was ready to go as soon as it arrived — “By that time I had bought around three transmitters,” he cheekily admits.

Start small but always think big. “We started very, very simple, with very, very simple gadgets,” Kazako explains. “When people [came to] the studios they were fascinated. ‘Are you broadcasting to the whole country using these simple gadgets?’ I said yes.

“We continued, struggling, expanding. We started with five transmitting sites… now we have I think over 34-35 transmitting sites across the country.”

Being the largest private radio station in Malawi was not enough for Kazako. After nine years in radio he wanted a new challenge and decided to expand into television.

“Realizing the dream of running or owning a television station [was] a very, very difficult journey,” he says.

“The day we switched on the television… expecting that every moment, any second, we’re going to see a Zodiak signal… I don’t know how to describe it… it was a very, very emotional moment.”

Businesses should be ethical. Gospel says Kodiak’s mission was always clear. “From the onset we told ourselves that we are going to be a radio station that should be fair, balanced, ethical, professional and non-partisan. A station that was going to be one that everyone must trust.

“I feel I have a personal responsibility as a broadcaster, as a journalist, to ensure that people are well informed. So they can make decisions about their future; decisions about their lives.”

Everybody should have a voice in society. “[Radio] is a very powerful tool that can change people’s lives,” Kazako says. “It’s a voice, loaded with information. It’s a voice with content that can be used effectively to change how people think, to change [the] attitudes of the people, to change so many things.”

Gospel is now using his station to help others. In 2007 he introduced the Zodiak Girl Awards, recognizing the best female students in high schools.

“I have always been a very strong believer that for us to move forward everybody must be included. And when I say everybody, this includes women. You cannot talk about human rights without women rights.”

“For us to develop as a country we need to make sure that we are not leaving our women behind,” Gospel argues. The awards, which are now paired with international university scholarships are “empowering our women,” he says, “empowering our girls through education.”

Humble beginnings should not restrict you. “I didn’t grow up with a lot of resources around me,” Kazako explains. “I know the pains of sleeping with an empty stomach… I know the pains of sleeping on a railway line without a blanket… I know the pains of almost having nothing.”

Speaking of the media empire he has built, Kazako is self-deprecating. “Anybody can do this. I’m like you… Wherever you are in [your] corner of the world, you can become someone. In the very small corner that you are, take off fear and believe in your idea. Believe in your idea, work very hard, and make sure [it] is going to happen… Sometimes it can be very frustrating, sometimes you feel you are bashing a dry hard wall, sometimes people look at you like a crazy fellow, but just believe and keep on walking.

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69 thoughts on “‘Take off fear’, Gospel Kazako on CNN: Malawi media mogul”

  1. kho says:

    Manyimwekha

  2. Cash B says:

    Kip it up Kazako …U hv don maverous

    U hv changd lives of many malawian

    May almity bless u abandantly

  3. nenani sawasawa says:

    kodi nkhani yonyengayi yachokera pati zachamba

  4. Grant C says:

    Start small but always think big,thats the rylic l lik on ure story,we ar proud of you,we need people like you,people who can kip malawi flying,go on and on,.and akazi akumalawi kutengeka,ngati wagwa mbale nawe mpata ulinawo ogwila nawo ntchito,lets support gospel kazako guys,and think where he is from,radio station,now its television,ena ndalama alinazo koma amalephela kupanga entertainment things ngati izi,we love you kazako,,kip ure future and ure business grow up,.

  5. ADE says:

    MAMUNAUTI SANYENGA??? ALIPO AMUNA AMBIRI AMENE SANYENGA.

  6. GOOD OF YOU KAZAKO TO-MORROW OTHERS.

  7. mfana wa boo says:

    Mwamuna uti pa malawi pano amene sanyenga? Adzinyenga azibambo a dzidzukulu nde mukanene Gospel, young and handsome. Kambani zina abale.

  8. nuji says:

    a Malawi nsanje timasangalala tikaona wina akuvutika. Pano tikukamba za CNN with Gospel koma mukumufukula personal life yake chifukwa chani? Mwamuna uti sanyenga, ndiuzeni ndipo give me two weeks ndimufufuze. If he is single, thats none of ur business. Akaziwo amamuputa dala chifukwa if he has a string of g/friends, nde kuti akaziwo akufuna. Mkazi mbambande sangataye nthawi ndi mwamuna wa akazi ambiri koma angati amakhala naye nthawi. That means akumufuna. He is a man, dont forget. Amuna pa malawi pano amasiya mkazi mnyumba nkumakanyenga nde munene wopanda mkazi. Takambani zina a Malawi.

  9. pijo says:

    I guess more money more problems. Gospel should have remained a poor boy and people would have liked him. Its not his fault women throw themselves at him. He hasn’t raped anyone so what he does with consenting adult women is his business. What would you do if you were in his shoes? It comes with the territory. Try and make your own impact somewhere or if you cant then Just live your life eh eh eh eh eh eh! #ilovemusic

  10. miky says:

    am very proud of you mr kazako, u inspires me alot.

  11. [email protected] says:

    proudly malawian, betta that!!

  12. Simeon Phillip Kawale says:

    Bwana Kazako you always inspire me much since boyhood the time you came at TA Kalolo’s Ground for tree planting day if am right. I started listening to you on the radio when I was young around 90s. Your bravity when articulating issues of national importance makes my admiration grow on you. Your encouragements makes me believe that NO MATTER HOW BIG THE CHALLENGE CAN BE THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT only IF A PERSON IS COURAGEOUS TO FACE IT HEAD ON. I always pray that God protect you so that one day I see and talk to you by face. Please please please keep it up. Remember me. My mobile number is: +265 999 332 410

  13. Gulupu says:

    One day we will hear the truth on who really owns ZODIAK between gos and Trade kings of Zambia manufacturers of boom, amazon pops, maheu super. That day is now. Gospel owns Zodiak. Nanga anganamize CNN?

  14. chiswamphika says:

    Koma chonde ganuzilani nkhani ya malipilo kwa anyamata anu omwe amagwira ntchito yolemesa koma ka ndalama kochepa

  15. DJ?????? says:

    @#17 that even makes it more interesting that with only a school certificate he had the guts to think of starting his own Tiakalulu Production Studios, then into a national radio then TV…. very inspiring! isnt it?

    keep it up Gospel.. those getting into personal non-verifiable issues contrary to this story can go to hell!

  16. Malunza says:

    Gospel is DPP and the whole Radio station is corrupt by DPP. Munali kale inu a Zodiak.

  17. Lifeyo says:

    the fact that we all know how kazako started with tiakalulu media.production.we sld be proud of him insteady of been jerous

  18. Gumbo says:

    Kodi amwene a Gospel mkazi wanu woyamba banja lidatheranji?.

  19. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    Only that Gospel should listen to people even if it’s not to his hidden benefits.
    during and after elections Zodiac was partisan despite the cries of the majority of
    Malawians. Was he consolidating his prospects for a TV license or was regionalistic or
    something was secretly arranged, or he didn’t see the malpractice? Only God knows. Zodiac had good reputation of being non-partisan until during elections. Totally adamant
    and bringing confusion to the nation.

  20. timothy mauluka says:

    VERY GOOD STORY- UPLIFTING AND EDUCATIVE!! WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE THIS IN MALAWI!! BIG UP NYASATIMES!!

  21. Umunthu says:

    Koma tv timaonera kwambiri kuti “we will be back at 12

  22. manyasa says:

    well done, otherwise respect other peoples Wives and Dotaz working at your Radio and TV

  23. Noor Adilah says:

    eeeeeeh people and commenting contrary to the story, let’s give credit where it is due and leave the rest for God to judge…… Gospel is an achiever, I personally admire him and wishes him long life and many more years of success! God bless you Mr Kazako!

  24. Zanga phee says:

    If only Malawi had many people like Gospel, we surely would’ve been somewhere else as a nation. Keep it up Mr Kazako, you are a blessing to many. And your documentary on CNN was such an encouraging one, I was challenged really…. Team take off fear!!!

  25. RadioMalawi says:

    Well done Mr. Kazako and keep it. I still remember you wearing a green sweater while at MBC and now you can manage designer clothes.

    I saw you on CNN cooking but i was not impressed with your Kitchen Unit at your house and i suggest you spend few Kwachas to upgrade your Kitchen. You deserve better things now that you have come of poverty

  26. Steve Tseka says:

    You are my role model Mr. Kazako

  27. JOSEPHY CHUNGA says:

    NDINE OKONDWA KUMVA KUTI ZODIAK TV IDAYAMBA KUONEKA.KOMA KUNO KU MCHINJI SINAYAMBE.CHONDE YESETSANI KUTI MWINA NKUKHALAKO NDI TV YABWINO OSATI MBC TV.

  28. Truth says:

    Some facts have been swept under the carpet. This man is never humble and beds every woman who comes his way even married women. Those who can trust him with your women or girls do so at your own peril. Get the real facts from people of Machinjili and you will know him better. Please Gospel God will punish you for telling lies to the world.

  29. Yona Banda says:

    Thanks for this. Sometimes people think this is the only truth. Stories like these amaze me. Sometimes I wonder why people tell half truth to inspire people. We were once told that Lutepo was one hard working and foccsed individual till one day we were told that this hard working and focused individual is a thief and he was busy stealing your money when you were not looking!.
    Once again congratulations and hope that one day we will not wake up into a nightmare of a thief Kazako or pobisila ndalama pa achikulire ena. We once were told roumors that Zodiak ndi ya a Tcheya.

  30. Wa aNabanda says:

    Expand your television aswell. Siikumaoneka kumidzi kuno

  31. Hardson says:

    That’s wonderful, big up Mr. Kazako. Youvshould. Continue persuading ideas from others and avoid politics you end your future abrumptly. Nevr think you can change anything while in politics, you can change it light there where you are.

  32. james tambala says:

    Koma gospel, mahule usiye chonde, just reduce the number to atleast 12 per time

  33. KWK says:

    Wishing well Gospel. If there are Malawians I admire it’s you T Mpinganjira and R H S Chilima. If there were a thousand Malawians like you, what would Malawi look like?

  34. Chiku Yoni Kamwendo says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Kazako and your entire Zodiak team. You are a great pride of Malawi. You are a reminder to young people in Malawi that poverty is not an excuse to deter one from achieving his or her dreams. You have proven that hard work and focus in what you are good at pays off.

    It is time Malawians borrowed a leaf from your story by learning that there are no short cuts to success. Meaningful success has its risks, one gets depressed in the way, feels like giving up but perseverance is key like you ‘Mr Kazako have said.’

    Congratulations once again. May God grant you many more years of success!

  35. wa Amidu says:

    i admire dis man a lot.

  36. Koma Kumeneko says:

    But ZBS got it wrong on the last elections, do a reasearch listeners are no liking zbs as they used before , we have known it is pro DPP but change now do it professionally otherwise times tv will be the best.

  37. KAKA kacheche says:

    God b wth u a kazako pazmene mkulipangira dzko lathu lotsauka ili…..all the best.

  38. Malawi wa Lero says:

    Munthu zikamakuyendera, umanena zotsekemera zambiri. Ndinakakondwa ndikanamva kuti “ntchito yikatha simapeto azonse padziiko” after being kicked out of MBC twice because …. kolowera kunalibe nde kuyamba kwa Zodiak. Koma zoti kuwona ma siginolo, eee got fascinated with this or that, ayi.

  39. nuji says:

    Zimakhala bwino ukayambila humble beginnings then kupanga prosper NOT kuyamba bwino nkumalizila ku sewege like the …… ndimalira kwabasi. Gospel, keep the fire burning.

  40. Happy Eduardo says:

    Gospel, you always inspire some of us. Keep on man!

  41. diesel says:

    Gospel shut up about women.you abandoned your wife and used to beat her heavily when you were staying at soche central.lero mwalemela akazi anu ndi bottle top.dziko ndi lozungulira mudzaona zimene anaona Walter nyamilandu

  42. HONESTY says:

    Who can not admire the hardworking young Malawian boy Gospel!?

  43. TT says:

    The mistake that Gospel has done is to expand into Television…………. Radio and TV are different modes of media.

  44. Mfwethu says:

    Amenewa ndie oyenera kukhala ma Ambassador a Go Green, osati ana opanda ulemu aja anabwera kuno, zoona amene aja aziti yaviyavi ndi a 1st Lady athu, asaaa!!

  45. mmihavani says:

    Hats off for this nan. He amazes me.

  46. ujeni says:

    We have very capable people who can do even greater things than Kazako but they decide to live overseas afraid of a challenge back home. Comfortable with hand to mouth life. Drinking is their goal, while women marrying a foreigner(Nigerians) is their ambition.

  47. Yankeez says:

    Now it a Partisan Radio Station simunayamba ndale inu, kumalengeza zinthu zabodza pa Chisankho pakuti mudalemela? Mukuzunzitsa anthu pakuti inuyo muna lizer, tiyenanzoni ife osaukanfe pano miyenzi 6 ikutha tikumanvela Beyond ndi PL fm zosakwela mbali!!!!

  48. Gs says:

    I salute u Kazako, u r an inspiration to many.

  49. Simie says:

    For sure Gospel is one of most inspired Malawian, hard worker nw think about pple….than the ideots who want to enrich themselves from government money for us the poor….congregations!!!

  50. palibekanthu says:

    Very encouraging.

  51. manyasa says:

    But his TV is a flop, no good programmes

  52. Felix says:

    I personally admire Gospel Kadzako, a true son of Malawi

  53. Mapiri says:

    A few corrections, he started the radio station when he had a school certificate. He got his 6 months diploma in Journalism from MIJ about 3 years ago. He says everyone shud hav a voice. He’s lying. Zodiak is not representative in its programmes. It’s only English & Chewa. How about other languages?

  54. Kelvin says:

    Well done Gospel,the journey isn’t finished yet.

  55. Livulezi Khandu says:

    Hats off to the man Gospel , for his determination, steadfastness and a never die spirit !! You are a shining example and a role model for all the youth of this country!!!

  56. Mphatso mpira says:

    We r proud of u.

  57. Ine says:

    Amazing

  58. chefourpence says:

    God bless you Gospel!

  59. love says:

    Big up gospel. u are an inspiration but why are u failing to retain a lot of your talented employees?

  60. Unango says:

    Good one…keep it up..yes everyone can do…

  61. koma says:

    I opened this wanting to know more about the girl with the beautiful legs. Koma ai

  62. aphiri says:

    U are doing fine my brother koma kwatilani .we need u to stay longer please.kkk

  63. Zanga Phee! says:

    This is incredible, sounds like he is not a Malawian,We got problems in diaspora people hide themselves when they are asked there where about especially when our politicians are bringing shame to our country with greedy attitudes while brains like Kadzako offering awards to his fellow you Malawians this is awesome,no doubt this guy is blessed. Suppose three or five other Malawians does similar to this where Malawi could be?He does not involved in corruption perhaps,running business in fair manor.Look at now a number of people got employed through his initiative.This real it happening in Malawi not UK dzuka Malawi bravo Mr Kadzako.See My name.

  64. PETROS CHISAMBI says:

    Quite an encouraging character of our mother mw.A big up fo gospel pliz.

  65. Bertha says:

    Congratulations you inspire many Malawians all the best bigman

  66. Angozo says:

    We are missing your television Mr Kazako especially out side cities please can you make your best so that can able to watch it across the country like your radio station is doing we badly want it in other districts where we are living like Salima, Nkhotakota and other districts.

  67. Mwiza says:

    Congratulations Gospel. Please keep on growing, moving forward to keep us entertained. God bless

  68. James says:

    Thanks for your encouragement and you are a man of vision but sometimes needs a starter pack and not with’ an empty hand’.

  69. Triphonae says:

    You have a big wallet boss, please give me your number and marry me.

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