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Bob Collymore gets candid about cancer on August 8’s JKL on Citizen TV

BOB

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore

Bob Collymore finally took off his gloves to talk about his treatment and his illness in a one-hour-long exclusive interview with Jeff Koinange. The softball interview was an eye-opener and one of the better interviews that Jeff has had in a while.

The telco CEO who was diagnosed with acute miloid leukaemia — which occurs when your stem cells fail to convert into either white or red blood cells. This  caused a deficiency in his immune system which left him weak and shaking. He was flown  to London and thus began his sick leave.

He describes that he was in isolation and was in a bubble for weeks and how he would only have a book and sometimes just think about things.

His favourite book at the time was Everything Happens for a Reason and Many Other Lies which is on Bill Gates’ summer reading list.  He also had a lot of time to reflect about his life.

The Safaricom CEO describes his wife as the pillar of his life. As soon as she learnt that Bob had cancer and that he had to go to London, she packed up and told him that they would leave together.

She was with him most of the time and would visit the hospital twice a day when he was in isolation. He also thanked his mother and sister for being a good support system.

He also pointed out friends who supported him, the likes of Caroline Mutoko, Kavutha and many others who would send their goodwill messages.

He even pointed out that his competitors Airtel and Telkom CEOs were the first few people to send goodwill messages and get-well-soon messages.

When he was asked about the success at Safaricom, he was quick to point out that it was not because of him but a 6, 000-strong group of Safaricom staff.

He was quick to point out that it was not about the revenue targets being hit but because of making sure Kenyans access quality products and that they grow.

My rating

I give Jeff a 9/10 for this interview. He did a good job making Bob’s case relatable. He also made him feel loved by reading messages from people and more so Kenyan celebrities and industry leaders. He made the interview worthwhile and fun, with them throwing in some puns and jokes.

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