Arap Uria: A Lesson In Persistency, Personality And Purpose

Standing at the periphery of a Qatari street, holding up a manila paper placard, with handwritten words haphazardly scribbled on it, is not a thing random Africans do.
But when popular Kenyan comedian and mock commentator Meshack Kiprop Biwott, commonly known as Arap Uria did it, it became such a burning topic on Twitter. It had to yield results, whether positive or negative.

At first, his detractors, now roundly called ‘gatekeepers’, trashed his efforts and lampooned his attempts to meet his soccer idol Peter Drury.

According to them, Arap Uria was ‘lowering his worth’ and ‘stooping too low’ by brandishing a placard along a Qatari street, desperately seeking the attention of the universally vaunted man whose craft he honed and rode on to unlikely fame.

Arap Uria

But Arap Uria had a shtick and was determined to stick to it.

Even in the face of a troll-heavy KOT, Uria stood his ground, refusing to not only pull down his supposedly embarrassing tweet but also, staying mum, choosing to not reply to the jealous goblins, while patiently waiting for the obvious fate.

The light at the end of Arap Uria’s tunnel seemed to have been beamed by famed Irish footballer and now-commentator Jim Beglin, who left a homely comment under his now-viral tweet, saying, “I have passed on your tweet to Peter. I hope it all works out for you. Good luck.”

Well, a little over an hour later, Jim Beglin came back to Twitter to relay the undisputable news,” Peter will contact you tomorrow, Arap.”

But even as Jim Beglin was acting like the social media sweetheart we all wish we could have met, a section of Kenyans on Twitter kept the pressure up, furiously tweeting out an avalanche of diabolically insensitive comments, trashing Arap Uria, downplaying his brand and even, not surprisingly, questioning his authenticity.

Soon Twitter became the snakepit it really is – haters snuffed themselves out of their hell-holes, breathing fire, baying for blood and acting all pontifical.

One Twitter user said, “Crazy Kennar hakuna pahali aliinua manila paper kusema anataka kuona Khaby Lane, his work made people notice him. Arap Uria lip-syncing merchant is going too low for this.”

Still, Arap Uria’s dream stayed steadfast.

As if holed up in a German school of retribution, the schadenfreude quickly turned into freudenfreude as Kenyans found their relief after Peter Drury, the 55-year-old Premier League commentator, met and had a goofy moment with Kenyan comic Arap Uria.

Now, the naysayers changed tune, some even ignominiously deleted their earlier tweets and rallied around Arap Uria, praising his tenacity, his obstinacy and his unbridled unashamedness.

Jim Beglin, the man behind the magic, soon jumped into the good news saying, “Wonderful, it has happened!”.

Now, Arap Uria, who had ignobly sat through hours of unwarranted internet torment, emerged the hero of the day, of Twitter, of soccer and of Qatar.

His tweet now stands at a dizzying 156k ‘LIKES’.

Arap Uria’s haters must have forgotten that Peter Drury was actually aware of his imitator’s peculiar craft and shouted him out in April this year saying,

“Arap, it’s Peter here, I really wish I could be with you today. It’s so frustrating that I am here in Doha to witness the World Cup draw. Listen, I love what you do. I hope you are laughing with me and not at me.”

“I must say I am certainly laughing with you. It’s terrifyingly funny, it’s superb. Football shouldn’t be taken too seriously. With all the passion you show for it, I do love your work and I hope one day we might get to meet each other face to face and you can teach me how to commentate.”

Bottom line is, Arap Uria has now met his childhood idol and nothing we can do, say, or even imagine can ever erase that historical moment.

Anyone can lip-synch but not everyone can pull off a feat as extraordinarily superb as Arap Uria.

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