Norbert Vincent Okare was apparently a standout amongst Kenya’s most extraordinary news-casters in the English Language. Those who tuned in to Voice of Kenya news from the late 60s to mid 90s will recollect with sentimentality how he used to peruse the English service news effortlessly and comfort.
Before he settled down in Public Relations and media business, Norbert had been a mariner in different voyage delivers over the Atlantic and Pacific seas. His affection for innovative craftsmanship and theater saw him settle down in news throwing, stage and motion picture acting. One of his most punctual motion pictures was called ‘The Human Factor’ discharged in 1979 by United Artists of the USA. His best referred to motion picture act was as Chief Justice in ‘The Rise and fall of Idi Amin’.
A refined fellow, Okare belonged to the high end society and could mingle with the so called upper class. What with his strong British accent and booming voice.
Kenyans remember in 1983 during the Njonjo Inquiry, the Duke of Kabeteshire’ Sir Charles Njonjo confessed that he only listened to local news in English when Norbert Okare was presenting. When asked why he did so, he quipped “Only Norbert reads it in English”.
Apart from news casting, which he did as a pass time, Nobert ran his own company, Afri Limited based, at Utalii House. He was also the Chairman of the Pan African Advertising Union and OAU affiliate division. He was also a director at Safari Park Hotel.
When Mzee Jomo Kenyatta died on August 22, 1978, the onus of breaking the news to the nation was given to Norbert Okare. Definitely due to his commanding and authoritative voice, the clip was played on and on for emphasis. Or maybe the decision to pick him was made by those who believed ‘he could do it in English’.
Norbert had a very close friend – Paul Kibuka Musoke who lived in Kenya as a refugee during the Idi Amin days. Ironically Norbert Okare died after a car accident along the Nakuru – Kericho road on the 17th November 1994. Ten years later in 2004 his friend Paul Musoke was also knocked down by a car while crossing a Kampala street.
Born in Alego Siaya County in the mid-30s Norbert was buried on December 3, 1994 at his farm a few kilometres from Siaya town. He never married and did not leave behind any family.