Creativity they say is inventing, experimenting, growing and taking risks. For Nathan Muema Masyuko, creativity means a bit more, to him; it includes: putting intelligence to work and having fun while at it. Nathan has found joy and satisfaction in the seemingly ‘unserious;’ he has found a way to educate young people and instil in them a sense of responsibility through something they enjoy- gaming. His love and passion for gaming drove him into research and several discoveries, and he found something that could keep him busy for hours and yet give him a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. According to him, “Gaming was the one thing that I could do, look up at the clock and find five hours had passed, but kept going.”
Nathan is a graduate of Computer Studies from African Nazarene University. After his university education, he took up a job as a support engineer; a job he didn’t exactly enjoy. Nathan realized it was time to embark on the exact mission that was bound to give him fulfilment; starting up a gaming company. But then like every young entrepreneur, he had a challenge staring into his face; lack of funds. Nathan was determined to fight through; he was dedicated to his passion and would not give room for discouragement and pessimism.
I once heard that “the difference between the people that actually did it and the ones that almost did it, is their ability to persevere; for truly most of the important things in the world have been achieved by people who have kept on trying where there seemed to be no hope at all.” For Nathan two words are very key and indeed magical; intelligence and perseverance. The young genius went in search of a burden bearer and someone of like passion-you know what happens when determination meets perseverance, that’s exactly what happened when Nathan, whose dream was to have a centre where people could come and play games at affordable prices came in contact with Ayub Makimei, a man that had a vision to start a retail centre that would sell high-end gaming machines. At the point Nathan met Ayub, he realized that his problem was now half solved or rather that his idea had now gained expression. The young men eventually became partners, merged their individual ideas and started a place where people could go in and play games at affordable rates; NexGen.
Nathan’s gaming company NexGen became the first company in the region to join the World Cyber Games (WCG) and in 2009 sent its first ever team to compete in the Grand Finals held in Chengdu, China that year. “In 2009, we held local competitions and sent a team of gamers to compete in China at the World Cyber Games, a video gaming competition. It was like going to the mecca of gaming. We met people across the world who were as passionate as we were. Upon return, we began holding regular tournaments. Every month, we hold a virtual ‘FIFA’ championship”. Nathan says.
Since then, Nathan has made NexGen the company of choice when looking for gaming solutions and planning a gaming tournament and/or event. In 2011, Nathan joined the progressing team at Afroes Company Ltd, a social enterprise that develops mobile games to address important social issues in Africa. Together, they made Haki: Shield & Defend, one of the first few games to be developed in Kenya. Haki went on to win a World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) for using technology to help promote social awareness and action towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Nathan represented Afroes in Montreal to accept the award and during the trip he and seven ICT industry leaders, took part in a panel, which discussed “Digital Era and Society” that was moderated by Larry King Today. When asked the aim and vision of Afroes Co. Ltd, Nathan had this to say, “We are a social enterprise trying to inspire a new generation of hopeful, action-oriented and positive-minded young people. We want them to not just become aware that there are social issues, but to actually become solutions providers. It is very important to us that people come together and act on ideas that they have.”
The entrepreneurial genius has plans of launching his NexGen Studios which he seeks to make the hub that will house the very best in the regions game development talent. At NexGen Studios Nathan hopes to solve the problems society faces in industries such as Finance, Marketing, Education & Distribution through the use of technology as well as his background in creating gamified experiences and products. Through every stage of his career, Nathan’s goal has been to unite and educate the youth, through gaming in the way that sports does. He is continually seeking partnerships with established companies and non-profit organizations to assist him in achieving this. He is building a universal community that is defined by their passion for gaming.
With his extraordinary talent and gaming initiative, the young achiever has been able to transform the lives of young people and also gain international acclaim. In his words; “We have won several international awards with our game called Moraba which focuses on gender based violence. The game is a digitalized version of Zulu board game involving bottle tops. We added a quiz element to the game which young people can advance through. The quiz initiates discussion with peers about gender issues which includes rape and violence, for example. The most powerful thing I can take from this game is that young people write in the comments section of the game saying they have a voice, that they know they don’t have to be taken advantage of as young people and that they realize some of what they are previously doing was wrong. We are affecting the lives of young people”.
Nathan is flourishing by doing what he knows best to do, uniting and educating Africa through gaming. You too can make a difference, stand up and brighten your corner. Konnect Africa wishes you the very best as you strive for excellence and indeed make Africa proud.
Editors Note: We sympathize and pray for the nation of Kenya who have been traumatized by the terrorist attack; may God grant repose to the lost souls, and deliver us from evil.