I’m not a mother and will never be but if I know anything about motherhood; it’s that it’s difficult. Avril recently did an interview on the YouTube show Reke Ciume Na Ene, where she talked about motherhood among other things. And from her, I got a crude sense of what being a mother is. She said that it gives you 100 times more purpose and that it’s the most fulfilling experience. She also implied that at the same time, it can be a nightmare, what with postpartum depression and the disappearance of the independence that every adult cherishes. The boss of your life becomes a little creature that can’t talk. On a less gloomy note, Avril also said that motherhood is the only way to experience the beauty of selfless love. Notably, the power that a baby has over its mother doesn’t stop when it begins to talk or when it gets an ID.
Motherhood seems to be burdensome and magical in equal degree. And it is with this in mind that I’ve decided to compile a list of the most amazing mothers in Kenya according to me. The mothers in this list have up to five children and yet lead the most accomplished lives. Some of them are single mothers, as if motherhood with a full support system is not difficult enough. Some of them were thrust into the demanding world of motherhood when they were barely adults themselves. That, in a society which, at least subconsciously, believes that getting a child while young will ruin you. If girls like Victoria Rubadiri and Kate Actress were destroyed by motherhood, then they rose majestically from those ashes to become the women of power that we know them to be today. Their stories are sufficient proof that it is possible for young mothers to lead happy and professionally fulfilled lives.
And in it’s own way, each name given below is proof that motherhood doesn’t have to be limiting. I often hear that to succeed professionally, you have to give up being a mother or that to enjoy motherhood, you have to trade in your personal dreams. Why don’t you ask Akothee what she has to say about that. It’s difficult yes and we may not understand how they do it, but if these mothers can live their lives fully, then so can anybody else.
For the record, every mom is a super human. We celebrate you.
The self proclaimed president of single mothers, is one of the most insipring mums around. She has five children with three baby daddies and has managed to juggle the demands of motherhood with entrepreneurship and music. As a musician, she is the queen of high profile collaborations, having released wildly popular songs with Diamond and Nigerian star Flavour. Her numerous accolades include an AFRIMMA award for Best Female Star in East Africa and being the only Luo artist to release a hit song in the Kamba language – Mwiitu Asa.
She is also one of the most followed personalities in Kenya and East Africa, with a staggering 2.7M followers on Ig and 1M+ likes on her Facebook page. Business-wise, Akothee is the founder and CEO of Akothee Safaris, a premier tour and travel company. In addition, true to the spirit of African motherhood, through the Akothee foundation, she has improved the lives of thousands of Kenyans affected by poverty and drought, especially in Turkana. The foundation has donated more than 2M sanitary towels to Kenyan girls in need. This is one Kenyan mom seriously kicking ass, and an inspiration to all of us.
2. Julie Gichuru
Giving a snapshot of Julie’s achievements is a daunting task because she has done so much. Perhaps a good place to start would be her Martin Luther King “Salute To Greatness” award. She was the first African woman to receive the award, as a result of her advocacy for peace after the 2008 election violence. As a young person who grew up enjoying The Great Debaters Contest show on Citizen, I was elated to learn that I have Julie to thank for the program. She started it to show young people that, even amid disagreement, violence can be avoided.
She was recognized as one of the top 100 influential women in Africa by Avance Media. She sits on multiple boards and was recently appointed to the Brand Kenya board by the President. She is the founder and CEO of Arimus Holdings, a media production company and Mimi Holdings, a fashion retail company. She revolutionized local media. She was the first to launch an investigative Kenyan TV series, The Inside Story. She also transformed news anchoring with her groundbreaking Sunday Live With Julie Gichuru show on Citizen. Additionally, she is the head of Public Affairs and Communication at the Mastercard Foundation.
Oh, and she is the mother of 4 children, a role which fits perfectly with her efforts to drive positive change through her professional career. She has been quoted saying, “Above all we have a responsibility to nurture and grow the younger generation and our primary role is vested in the family unit.”
Honestly, how does she do it?
3. Diana Marua
Diana has 2 children with Bahati. She is also the mother of an adopted kid and a kid from one of Bahati’s former relationships, making her a mother of 4. I’ve always known Bahati from when he did his first songs. But the first time I learnt about Diana was on twitter. Diana and Bahati have been the subject of one of the most cruel trolling campaigns on social media. Every aspect of Diana’s life from her past to her age was weaponized against her. And Bahati was mercilessly attacked for associating with her.
I used to find the trolling entertaining when Diana was just a name. But then I met her virtually and associated the name to a real person with feelings. She won me over and what I found most remarkable about her was the way she handled the mud that Kenyans relentlessly threw at her. Most human beings, including the ones who enjoyed throwing the mud, would have been destroyed beyond repair by such an onslaught. But she stood strong.
Married to a celebrity, Diana will always be under the public limelight, which comes with overwhelming pressure to be perfect. She has found a way to be her real self and has amassed a massive audience that loves her and accepts her as a human being with flaws and strengths. She has turned the public interest around her into an asset, becoming one of Kenya’s elite digital content creators. With an impressive 400,000 subscribers on YouTube and 1.6M followers on Instagram, she is one of the most followed people countrywide. Additionally, she manages the social media profiles of her children, ensuring that they will get quite the kick-start to life. Her 3 year old daughter, Heaven Bahati, has 530k followers on Instagram.
4. Kate Actress
We know Kate mostly from her role as Celina in the popular Mother in Law television show on Citizen. She went on to be the lead in a Swahili sitcom on ShowMax, “Sue na Jonnie.” For her role as Sue, she got the “Best Lead Actress in a TV drama” award at the Kalasha Awards 2017. Recently, she has been on the news because of her entry into the music industry. She was featured in a song by Mr Seed, which has been doing really well. Kenyans have given her a warm reception, with some even going as far as to state that she is the Kenyan Christina Shusho.
What strikes me most about Kate is the unusual timing in her life and the fact that she is not limited by it. She is getting into the music industry at 34 and seems like she’ll do well. There are many musicians who are in the industry for years before they can achieve what Kate has achieved with her song, “Ndoa.” In 2007, she went to Kampala for a degree but had to cut her education short because she got pregnant. And despite the disruption that this caused, she went on to have a successful acting career. This is a reminder to young people that contrary to what the pressure makes you think, your early twenties are really just the beginning of life. That said, Kate, through her “Queens must wait” initiative, is passionate about encouraging young girls to wait before deciding to be mothers.
5. Lulu Hassan
Lulu Hassan is one of the most beloved public figures in Kenya. She and her husband, Rashid Abdalla, grace the television sets of millions of Kenyans during prime time. They put on matching clothes, laugh at each other on set and we can’t get enough of them. The couple has been married for more than a decade now and have three children, two boys and a baby girl.
Though they work in the same organization and present the news together, they are not always together, contrary to what some think. They have different schedules and at times work on different projects. However, they also do a lot together. They jointly own a production company called Jiffy pictures and are the architects of the popular show, Maria, in addition to other shows such as Pete, Maza and Sarafu. Her work as a producer on the Maria Show saw Lulu bag an accolade for Best Producer in the second edition of the Women in Film Awards.
Clearly, this list could have been longer but we’re not able to celebrate every outstanding celebrity mum in Kenya, let alone every mom in Kenya. Let the above be adequate representation.
I’m a writer not a journalist. Subjectivity is bae. Follow me on social media @mbigatimothy and follow DekuTrends on all socials to stay up to date with our content.