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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

‘She said bad things about me,’ Njugush speaks about his ex-girlfriend

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By JUDITH GICOBI

Kenyan Comedian Njugush reveals that his ex dumped him because he did not have any money.

Talking to Dr King’ori on his wicked edition show, the couple recounted how they met.

Celestine says they connected well since they had just come from bad relationships.

Njugush said,

“I’m sure they are watching us today because they said bad things about me,” adding that he is grateful they broke up.

The comedian further explains how the break up was;

 “There are people in this life that speak things that they don’t know what they mean. When someone tells you that you are not headed anywhere in future. We broke up because of money, I had nothing at the moment, he said.

 

“I mean, those were tender ages and I blame her because you can’t judge a chick for not having wings yet it’s not yet a chicken.”

He says that hurt him because he took sometime before he could heal.

But now he is one of the richest comedians in town.

 

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Entertainment

Chiki Kuruka sheds light on her breast lift surgery and battling mixed-race assumptions

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Bien-Aime Baraza´s long-time girlfriend has opened up on her mixed race, breast lift surgery and trolls.

The UK-bred dance choreographer who was raised in the Queen´s land admitted that living in Kenya was one of the best decisions she ever made.

My uncle, being a war correspondent, lives in Kenya because it is quite a calm country. My two friends who we lived with while in the UK, are half Kenyan and they were coming home. I decided that I´m coming with them and it was literally as simple as that. I came here and I was Like ¨this place rocks. I´m staying. I´m not going.¨ I found Kenya so beautiful and the people are really easy-going.

Unfortunately for her, being mixed race meant to many that she is bougie – something she fights with every damn time.

I also think it is something to do the fact that I’m mixed race as opposed to being black, people think that maybe I’m not so connected with my African side. I fight those two assumptions all the time because I’m from the hood and I’m proud of it. I have chosen to live on this continent, I couldn’t be prouder.

However, for her, Kenya is home.

So many people are trying to leave Africa and go to the United States or Europe, but the beauty is in this continent, the future is on this continent. I definitely think Kenya is the hub of East Africa. It’s just a good place to be.

I definitely think Kenya is the hub of East Africa – Bien Aime´s girlfriend, Chiki Kuruka gushes

Surgery

Further speaking to Pulse in regard to her anticipated breast lift surgery, she added:

I don’t think it’s anyone’s business the decisions that someone else makes regarding their body. I’ve seen the genes in my family and children don’t do us very well. When I look at my aunts and their boobs are by their hips, I just don’t want that to be my story. Not reconstruction surgery, just put me back the way I was before.

Being a wellness instructor, Chiki is a public figure and where there is fame, there is love but so is there a fair share of trolls.

People who say nasty things online will never be brave enough to talk to me face to face – the wellness instructor affirms

Revealing how she is able to deal with the trolls, the beauty opined:

The reality is that people who say nasty things online will never be brave enough to talk to me face to face. And I come at it hard. So I would dare someone to come and say to me face to face something that they’d be brave enough to type. That’s normally the person who you’ll see in every time saying ¨Hi, oh my gosh, I love you guys.¨

As she came to the close of her interview, her last words were:

Mind your mind. When you feel good, you do good. So it’s okay to say ‘I’m not okay’. It’s okay to say ‘I don’t want you in my space’, because the better you are, the better you offer society.

By Ghafla.com

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Education

Akothee comes to the rescue of a needy student

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By JUDITH GICOBI

Esther Akoth, alias Akothee, a popular Kenyan singer, has assisted a needy mother to pay for her son’s school fees. 

The amount paid by the award-winning singer is still unclear. She shared a video of a jubilant mother getting a bank slip for the school fees.

The woman is Suzzane Wanjiru. She had tried to approach the singer previously at her gate with a fee structure of Sh20,268 for the first term, Sh12,160 and Sh8,107 for the second and third term, respectively.

The son had joined Sokoke Boys High School. Suzzane was hesitant to go to Akothee at first, but after much debating, she decided to follow her insists and went to the singer’s gate. 

“Lakini tulipoendelea kuongea ukasikia kilio changu,” Suzzane told Akothee. “Ninashukuru sana.” 

Akothee thanked her fans for contributing to the Akothee Foundation, which in turn helps enroll children in school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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