Connect with us

Entertainment

Annrita Kiriamiti: Daughter of author and bank robber John Kiriamiti speaks out

Published

on

The daughter of renowned author and reformed bank robber narrates how she finally found peace with her identity.

Until a few years ago, Annrita Wanjiru avoided using her surname. The decision was as much about self-preservation and protecting her privacy as she was escaping the looming shadow of her father.

“I was ambivalent about it,” she says. “There’s a lot to it — both good and bad.”

Annrita is the daughter of author John Kiriamiti, whose life as a bank robber spawned several best-sellers in the late ’80s, notably the seminal tome, My Life in Crime — which he wrote while serving time at the Naivasha Maximum Security Prison.

His eventful life would go on to inspire several other successful books including My Life with a Criminal, Son of Fate, among others.

Annrita’s ambivalence about her identity was not unfounded.

Carving one’s identity apart from that of a well-known family member, especially a parent, is something nearly all children grapple with as they come of age.

Annrita, 26, is the firstborn of Kiriamiti’s three daughters. She grew up in Murang’a town, a place she says “everyone knows everyone else”. Growing up she didn’t understand why everyone seemed to know her father.

“I am dad’s girl,” she told the Nation. “My father took me everywhere, from walks to shopping. People would stop us to talk to my father. It became so common that I began getting weary.”

Annrita really is her father’s daughter — she has her father’s inquiring eyes and slightly oval chin that gives her an exotic look.

She is also pin-up beautiful. And like her father who, despite the fact that he never went past Form One and still became a prolific author, is a talented writer (she has ghost-written several online works and magazine and newspaper articles), a screen writer, actor and model.

Early life

She grew up in the company of books. “Sounds funny but when I was young, it appeared to me that we had more books than furniture!”

It was the ideal environment for her. Annrita would spend hours alone, poring over books, some way beyond her reading-age bracket, the outcome of which was an edge over her peers.

“My compositions always took top position in class,” she says. “Teachers from other schools would borrow them to read out to their students. It wasn’t a big fuss for me because writing came so naturally and effortlessly to me.”

When Annrita discovered her father’s My Life in Crime, she didn’t know what to make of it. Her parents had covered the tracks well enough; they wanted her to know about her father’s PG- rated, seedy past at an appropriate age. And now here she was, reading the story of a man she didn’t know.

“It was an uncomfortable situation,” she says. “But we talked about it.”

The reality of her father’s life fell like a mallet on a nailhead; the halo was no longer a perfect circle. “I was reading and thinking, This surely is a character and not my father,” she says.

“Other times I would recognise him in the book, the man I had known. But it was a bit jarring.”

Out from the shadows

Annrita attended Moi Girls-Eldoret for her secondary education. But in the wake of the violence that broke out after the 2007 General Election, she transferred to State House Girls’ High School. Soon after enrolling she got a glimpse of her father’s renown.

“Many of the students in the upper classes were familiar with my father’s works, and soon I was thrown into the limelight,” says Annrita, laughing. “They wanted to hang out with me.”

But the notoriety came with a price. Every now and then she would discover her uniform missing from the clothesline; the thievery was the equivalent of an autograph or a collector’s item.

“I said, ‘Could I be paying for my father’s sins?” she jokes.

After high school, she enrolled at Jomo Kenyatta University for a course in Information Technology.

She had reservations about the course from the beginning but chose to grind it out; all the while her mind duelling with her heart. Two years into the course, the heart won.

“I arrived at the conclusion that I was studying for the wrong course,” she explains. “I wanted to be in media and the creative arts.”

And so after two years of college, she picked up her bag and left. It was a decision that might have caused friction with her family, but luckily didn’t. Her parents, while initially disappointed with her decision, encouraged her to go for what she loved.

Annrita began looking for opportunities in acting and theatre. At first she included her surname while auditioning for a role, but soon realised that anytime she mentioned Kiriamiti, the panel would do a double take; she was no longer Annrita but Kiriamiti’s daughter.

The name was a blessing and a burden. “I didn’t want to slip in on the back of my father; I wanted to be taken in on merit.”

Annrita won a role in the Web series, Because Love and the film, Sumu la Penzi. The roles have galvanised her resolve to reach the plateau in the movie/TV world. She has also featured in corporate ads. Until last year, she was working as a marketing executive at 254, the events company owned by musician and self-styled Hypeman, DNG.

Currently, she’s developing a blog that will tackle various issues affecting society, especially girls.

“I am deliberate about being a role model for young women and girls,” she says.

“The media, especially the social networks, are awash with negative images of what greatness is. We need people to say that one doesn’t have to chase stardom or be a ‘slay queen’; that you can work your way up and still be decent.”

She already has a platform. “My father travels to schools to talk to students about the consequences of choice, and how to avoid being entrapped,” Annrita says. “This year I want to accompany him. I have a message. You know I am the firstborn in my family; I want to be a big sister to girls as they come of age.”

Annrita is finally at peace with her identity as a Kiriamiti. There is no shadow to duck out from; no embarrassment in accepting the bad that happened. She is free.

Sunday Nation

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Entertainment

Eve D’Souza is officially off the market

Published

on

Eve D’souza, the sassy actress and former radio personality, has had her success story told over and over but in the many interviews never disclosed anything about her love life.

In the beginning of the year she introduced Simon Anderson to the world as the love of her life.

Anderson describes himself as a traveler and experience seeker, food and wine lover and a sevens rugby fan.

With only weeks left before the end of the year, the Anderson took D’Souza across the globe and proposed to her in Candolim Beach, Goa, India.

D’Souza she said yes and soon after shared the good news with her fans on social media.

“The entire universe conspired to help us find each other and it was truly worth the wait. Once in a lifetime, you meet someone special who changes everything. I can’t wait to marry you and look forward to a lifetime of adventures and special moments together,” D’Souza wrote.

In an interview with Nairobi News in March 2017, the Varshita actress said she Mr Right had no yet come her way.

During the interview, the 40-year-old explained that the reason she has never gone public about her relationships is because of the way her family approaches relationships.

“The way my family approaches relationships is, until it is dead serious I don’t want to introduce anyone. My self-esteem has always been based on my career and not on relationships. It’s not like I’m dying to show off a man,” she said.

By Nairobi News

Continue Reading

Entertainment

US-based Kenyan DJ Ivy makes it into Forbes 30 Under 30 list

Published

on

A US-based Kenyan-born DJ has been listed in this year’s edition of the annual Forbes 30 Under 30.

Ivy Awino, aka DJ Poizon Ivy, who was the first woman ever to DJ a National Basketball Association (NBA) all-star game, was named among the 2020 class of sports world’s brightest and youngest stars.

“I’m just here to make my mama and Kenya proud,” Ivy captioned a photo of herself in celebration of her latest achievement.

Ivy, who is the official NBA’s Dallas Mavericks team entertainment manager, was listed by Forbes alongside Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, Ryan Bishara (Los Angeles football club VP of business and data strategy), Julie Blanc (Director of Corporate Development Drone Racing League) and Team USA figure skater Nathan Chen among others.

Ivy, 28, was born in Kenya before she moved to the US with her family when she was just five years old. She started deejaying at the age of 19 while in college.

“After I relocated to Dallas after college, I started working with the WNBA team and a friend advised that I ‘shoot my shot’ with the Mavs, who at the time had the position filled. A few months after my inquiry, the position became available and I got the call,” Ivy told Daily Nation in a past interview.

She bagged the Best DJ in East Africa Award at the Afrika Muzik Magazine Awards held in Texas in October this year.

BY Daily Nation

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Call me ‘ugly’ but my looks earn me good money – Simple Boy tells it all

Published

on

Fame first came to Steven Otieno, alias Stevo Simple Boy in form of a meme. Someone took his mugshot, inserted a cheeky message and shared it on Facebook, teasing him for his looks.

The year was 2016. Within a short time, there were variations of the meme, but the theme remained the same: they thought his face was interesting. The comments on his photo bordered on cyber bullying, but Otieno says he stood unnerved despite the many times people said he resembles a baboon.

“It was not the first time I was being called names for how I looked. It was worse when I was growing up. Children would make up songs about how ugly I was. They would block my path and call me a squirrel. I am used to my face getting all the attention,” he says.

Submissive woman

He has been called many things on social media and off the net. There are people who face him and tell him he is ugly and scary. On social media, the abuses he gets cannot be put in print.

His experience is perhaps what led him to release the song: Inauma Lakini Itabidi Uzoee, that was released last month. He sings about how life situations can be unfair, and that what cannot be changed must be endured.

On whether he is dating, Otieno says he is yet to meet a woman who meets his standards. He is looking for a submissive woman, born again and not afraid of being with a man who is in public space.

“For now, I am not thinking so much about women. When the right one comes, I will get into a relationship, he says.

He says his face, as unattractive as people have often pointed out, is his selling point.

The more people call him ugly and follow his social media platforms to mock him, the more famous he gets.

“God created me like this. What do people expect me to do?” he asks during an interview at the Made in Kibera production centre in Kibera, where he produces his music.

It is a temporary structure made of iron sheets, but he says it is where his dreams took off.

When he released the song: Vijana tuwache mihadarati in 2017 to warn youth about the effects of drug abuse, he never imagined it would fling him into the world of social media fame reserved for socialites and celebrities.

He is currently at more than 700,000 views on YouTube with his mihadarati song. His latest release is edging towards 500,000 views, a feat even established musicians who have been in the industry longer, are struggling to achieve. Many believe the fascination with his music is not so much on the lyrics, but on the face behind the music.

“You look at his face and how he talks and you just want to watch what he is doing. I have watched his videos many times,” says Saumu Ahmad on her Twitter account.

His producer Geoffery Ochieng says Otieno has been getting invites to perform in shows and the reception is unexpectedly good.

“If he is making some money from his art, it does not matter if people are calling him ugly,” says Mr Ochieng.

At 29, Otieno says he has never allowed the negative energy thrown at him slow him down.

He is aware of the burden of having many followers and the scrutiny it brings.

He remembers an incident when he wore a robe in a photo and he got a lot of flak, with people questioning if he is on the drugs he cautioned his fans from using in his mihadarati hit.

“I sometimes look at the comment and I have to remind myself that people will say whatever they want about you. You cannot control that,” he says.

The young artist is changing a few things about himself, not for the vanity of looks but because he believes a man should be allowed to do things that bring him pleasure.

“People have been asking about my new hairstyle. It is called buruwein,” he says with a chuckle.

He also got braces to align his teeth and improve his pronunciation. He also changed his wardrobe, and has added more jeans and casual wear to the mix.

Progressing in life

“You can see how he is progressing in his personal life and as an artist,” says his social media manager Erick Matunga.

Mr Matunga admits that being his manager, he has had to shield Otieno from the extremely hateful comments that he gets, especially on his Instagram page.

“There are people who are just mean. Fortunately, he also has a lot of supporters and they are the ones who fight the online bullies,” says Matunga.

Otieno started his music career in 2008 when he was working as a watchman in Kibera. Anytime he had a break, he would call children around him and sing for them. They provided a good audience – they were non-judgemental and they would dance to my songs without talking about his looks.

His break came almost a decade later when Ochieng, a producer from the Made in Kibera initiative discovered him singing at a bridge they were constructing.

“I was amazed at how music seemed to be flowing from him without much effort. I told him to come and we recorded him without pay,” says Ochieng.

Otieno has plans for the future, and he is thinking of doing big collaborations with musicians he admires. His numbers keep growing and he has been getting followers from all over the world.

In a few years, he believes he will be a force who competes with top musicians and artists.

Until then, he continues to focus on inspirational music and block out voices that tell him he is a one time wonder – including the ones who whisper that he is mentally ill.

By SDE

Continue Reading


Are you looking for a Church to fellowship in Atlanta Metro Area?

poapay3

Like us on Facebook, stay informed

NEWS TRENDING RIGHT NOW

2019 Calendar

satellite-communication1.jpg

Trending

error: Content is protected !!