Maggie Wazome is the lady behind the distinctive Safaricom automated messages that have seamlessly integrated into Kenyan society. From an unexpected encounter at a recording studio to achieving widespread recognition, her remarkable talent has had a profound influence on the country’s telecommunications landscape.
Maggie Wazome, born in Mombasa, embarked on a remarkable journey that would make her voice resonate across Kenya. After studying at Blanes Secretarial College, she found herself at a recording studio run by Andrew Crawford, a commercial producer at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
Little did she know that this encounter would shape her future and lead her to become the voice behind one of Kenya’s most iconic telecommunications messages.
It is the legendary radio presenter Fred Machoka who opened the doors for her entry into the world of voice commercials. He recommended at the time that she voices commercials and that’s how she met Andrew Crawford.
It’s Crawford’s agency that went on to pay her for the recording. She worked at Radio Citizen before taking the role of a personal assistant at a company that was a subsidiary of Booker Tate.
She recorded the “Samahani, mteja wa nambari uliyopiga hapatikani kwa sasa (Sorry, the mobile subscriber cannot be reached)” with Crawford agency while she was still working at the firm.
At the time, Crawford did not tell them what the lines they were recording were for what use.
“I read a few lines that had varied content; and one of them was ‘mteja wa nambari uliyopiga’ she told the Daily Nation in 2015 interview.
“At that point I was so young I was just thinking money. I was just thinking, ‘Let me make some little pocket money for myself.’ Little did I know it was going to turn out really in a nice way. So, I did the lines and they told me, ‘Okay, there is a client who is looking for a particular voice; so we will call you back and let you know,’” she told the publication.
Among the 16 who had done those lines, Maggie was lucky to be picked.
“The next call I got, they were like, ‘Okay, Maggie you are the lucky one at the end of the day.’ Up to that time, by the way, I had no idea it was Safaricom. I had no clue whatsoever,” she told DN.
The automated message was recorded months before Safaricom PLC started its operations in October 2000.
She currently works at Safaricom as a CEE. Interestingly, Safaricom advertised for customer care representative positions on a local daily and she applied. The CEE surprised the panel after she told them she was voice behind “mteja”.
“They made me repeat it and they were like, ‘Oh my goodness!’ Maybe that helped me get the job, I don’t know,” she said.
While “mteja” became her signature line, Maggie’s voice extended beyond that iconic phrase. She also provided the prompts for callers to leave messages when a subscriber was busy, offering a professional and reassuring tone during moments of temporary unavailability.
Her versatility and ability to adapt her voice to various contexts showcased her talent and contributed to Safaricom’s seamless user experience.
Maggie Wazome’s voice has become more than just an automated message; it has become a national treasure.
Her contribution to Safaricom and the mobile phone industry in Kenya is widely recognized and has left an indelible mark on the telecommunications landscape.
Referenced in parliamentary records and court judgments, Maggie’s voice is a symbol of Kenyan identity and cultural heritage.
Today, Maggie Wazome’s voice continues to resonate through Safaricom’s network, reminding Kenyans of the importance of connection and communication.
Her journey from a young girl with a talent for voiceover work to becoming an iconic voice in the nation exemplifies the unexpected opportunities and profound impact that can arise from following one’s passion.