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

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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

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Entertainment

Mercy Masika calls out on Gospel artistes who have derailed the quality of gospel music

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Gospel singer Mercy Masika has deemed today’s Kenyan Gospel music as none inspiring and business-oriented, unlike some years back when singing for God was more intentional from a religious perspective.

Taking the matter to her Instagram page recently, the singer poured her heart out, stating today’s Gospel music has declined in quality, which undercuts the sole purpose of ministering to audiences. “The reason much of today’s music lacks inspiration and memorability is that people have blurred the lines and turned it into too much of a business,” she captioned.

The mother of two explained that some Gospel artistes often fail to remain true to their purpose of creating music. “It takes moral courage to remain true to inspire, impact and be true to who you are called to be,” Masika added. She went further to reiterate that music takes time to pay; she advised the younger generation of gospel musicians to remain authentic and avoid being led astray for monetary gains.

“Music often takes time to pay, but when it finally does, it pays very well. There’s a confidence that comes from being true,” she concluded. The award-winning musician could have been passing on a deliberate message to gospel-turned secular artistes who quit gospel music for greener pastures.

A while ago, controversial artiste Bahati defended himself as to why he left the gospel music scene for secular. In an interview, the artiste revealed that the gospel music industry is “rotten” and has always been criticized for being controversial. Bahati said he no longer felt welcomed in the gospel scene. However, the singer made it clear that leaving the gospel industry doesn’t mean his faith and belief in God has been compromised.

Bahati.

“I was fought a lot in the gospel industry, but I knew I was not doing gospel music for the people; I was doing it for God. I have just separated myself from the gospel industry for a while but not from God. Christ and the Lord is my personal saviour,” he said. He added that his songs are meant for his audience who listen to secular music and those who love gospel music.

By SDE

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Entertainment

TV host Joyce Maina denies dating DJ Mo: “I’m not dumb to post a married man”

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Switch TV’s Joyce Maina has refuted rumours of her having an affair with renowned DJ Sammy Muraya alias DJ Mo.

There have been allegations about the two being together but Joyce has labeled it hearsay and fake news.

Sharing her side of the story, the TV host shared messages on her Instagram Stories asking if guys thought she was dumb enough to post pictures of a married man.

“How dumb do you think I am to post a married man (not that I’d ever be with one) on my IG,” she wrote.

Joyce found the news hilarious adding guys just mistook a person that was holding her, in a trendy photo, to be DJ Mo.

“Fake news is actually hilarious. So you guys went from not knowing what the man looks like (you just have a blurry photo that makes him look like a shadow), and now all over sudden its DJ Mo? Lol,” Joyce added.

The TV girl must have found the news hilarious and wondered why people would want to tarnish her reputation with such allegations.

Size 8’s take on cheating

Back in 2017, TUKO.co.ke reported on a story where Size 8 claimed that one should be ready to forgive the other when he/she cheats in marriage.

Speaking during a recording of their vlog, the singer said that partners should always be ready to forgive each other in a relationship even when cheating occurs.

“And whoever says they cannot forgive, that is a root of pride,” she said. “Who tells you cannot do that?”

She told her fans cheating shouldn’t be allowed in marriages but in case it happens, couples should find a way to get past it.

“So when your spouse cheats, remember you cheat on God all the time but God forgives you. So forgive your spouse,” she added.

by Tuko.co.ke

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Entertainment

Eddie Butita leaves The Trend after 5 years

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It is everyone’s prayer to see their friends and neighbours succeed in live and move from one stage to another one, on a higher level.

The aforementioned is the same when celebrities or people we have supported passionately thrive in their careers.

Eddie Butita leaves The Trend after 5 years

Eddie Butita was a panelist at The Trend for five years. Photo: UGC
Source: UGC

TUKO.co.ke can say the same about Churchill Show comedian Eddie Butita and his fans on their relationship over the years.

The comedian on Friday, September 18, triggered mixed emotions among his fans after announcing his exit from popular NTV show, The Trend.

In an Instagram post seen by TUKO.co.ke, the comedian said he was ending his 5-year stint on the show as a panelist to start another exciting journey in his comedy career.

Butita who has been a panelist on the NTV show that airs every Friday, thanked Larry Madowo who believed in him and gave him his first ever show.

He also thanked Amina Rabar and other crew members for being an integral part of his growth on TV and being great to him for all the years they have worked together.

”It has been five years of a good ride on the trend #TTTT it all started with just a one appearance and became a permanent job. I would like to thank Amina Abdirabar and the panelist team for being more than collegues our time together was worth it I learnt laughed and changed a lot that I was able to. It is time to give chance to other talents to get an opportunity to grow and shine with greatness,” he wrote.

The comedian also used the opportunity to thank NTV’s management for giving him a chance to work with the broadcaster.

”Special thanks to NTV Kenya for the opportunity we are still together in this journey. Thank you Larry Madowo for believing in me and giving me the first chance to be on the show the rest was history. Big thanks to my fans, I have got more in store for you this is just the beginning of another Chapter in my Comedy Career. Adios el tendencia,” he added.

His exit from The Trend came just a day after he broke the internet with a charming birthday message to his lover, Mammito.

By Tuko.co.ke

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