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What really happened to the once No-nonsense City Girl Njoki Chege? Kenyans wonder



“The weekly city girl column produced every Saturday has lost its lustre and relevance and is just like a church sermon…The previous city girl called it as it is. She was fearless, bold, not petty and worth reading… Old city girl never entertained nonsense, lame excuses and adult truancy. I don’t know if also the so called handshake is behind the City Girls shift? I hope to reclaim back city girl soon.” – Robert Musamali

This is an excerpt of an e-mail sent to me last week by a concerned fan. Let me start with a confession. Mr Musamali’s e-mail is not the first of its kind I have received in the recent past. I knew it was difficult to maintain a hard-hitting column, but I didn’t realise how tough it would be to manage change, more so among readers!

So today, I am going to bear out my heart on this page, and bring to your attention a new facet behind my “mellowing”.

When I started writing this column in July 2014, nobody, besides my friends and family, knew my name or even the fact that I was a writer. In the journalism world, I was practically a “nobody”, a mere byline that appeared at the start of the feature articles.

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Enter the opportunity of City Girl column and suddenly I cannot introduce myself in public as “Njoki Chege”, preferring only to introduce myself as “Njoki”.


Two years ago, I was having a long phone-call with an equally, if not more controversial former newspaper columnist and I asked him. “Sir, how do you deal with all the noise?” He laughed for thirty seconds straight and told me “Well, I don’t deal with as much noise as you do — but, I have learnt to ignore it. And you? How do you deal with it?” I didn’t have an answer.

You see, there is a hefty social price you pay when you are running a column such as this. The price is heavier when you are a young woman.

While I enjoyed every moment of stepping on toes and entertaining millions of readers, I was, on the other hand, paying a massive price for being “The Infamous Njoki Chege” as my frenemies like to address me.

I became the butt of many jokes — some sexist and most downright offensive. As my name trended nearly every single weekend on social media, I became a weekly punching bag and dreaded Mondays because of the barrage of hate mail from “fans”.

The swampy parts of the Internet had a jolly good time, tarnishing my name with all sorts of rumours, half-truths and fabrications.

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Then it dawned on me: When you are a young and confident woman who seems to have figured out your stuff, people will try to delegitimise you by attacking your morals.

It happens in the media, it happens in every industry — and I know women reading this are nodding in agreement. Never once did I complain, nor am I complaining now.

But even as all this happened, I couldn’t help but wonder, what if I was a male columnist? Would I be treated differently? There are tons of male columnists in this country who ruffle feathers — political or otherwise — but hardly do we get to see stuff written about their personal lives.

In fact, responses to their fiery columns are often well-thought-out fact-laden rebuttals, not a load of unprintable claptrap as was in my case.

I think part of the reason why this column became so popular was because I was a young woman who had the nerve to speak her mind so courageously.


Many people, it seemed, did not so much as have a problem with what I was writing, but a problem with who was writing. I mean, how dare I, a young woman, be so independent minded? I am just musing here — I could be wrong, of course.

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And now as I publicly announced a change in direction of this column, I find myself in a quagmire of sorts. My readers are the wind beneath my wings — I’d be nowhere without their support and love from them.

But I stand my ground and reiterate that this column will not be what it used to be — for many reasons.

I appreciate the support and concern of the readers, but if there was a time I needed their support, that time is now.

I hope you embrace my change, but more important, you understand the old City Girl is not coming back. Ever.

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I was violently mugged at a well-lit street in Nairobi



On Friday night, I lost my precious wristwatch and my utterly worthless cellphone to muggers at a well-lit street in the Nairobi city centre.

I was heading home from work at about 8.30 pm when a gang of five hoodlums pounced on me along Aru Lane, which is a stone’s throw away from Mfangano Street where I usually board my matatu.

They swiftly cut me off my route, boxed me into a tight corner and relieved me of whatever valuables I had on me.

The guy who initially accosted me – he must have been the ringleader – had threatened to draw a gun and shoot me if I tried anything stupid.

He had both hands in his pockets, so I couldn’t tell whether he had a gun or not, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

As this guy, who was in a greyish hoodie, and his accomplice flanked me on both sides, I took a quick backwards glance and noticed two heavyset fellows closing in. By the time I shifted my gaze forward, yet another menacing figure had sprung from nowhere.

I quickly realised I was cornered and outnumbered.

In that moment, I knew it was no use trying to fight these guys off. Not even the hard-tackling tight-head prop from my rugby-playing days would save me.

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I wasn’t ready to become part of the city’s grim crime statistics of those who have been maimed, or had worse things done to them by muggers.

I meekly surrendered to their demands.

The whole incident barely lasted a minute, but in the brief moment I was held hostage in that corner, my mind raced to my wife and two young kids waiting for me at home.

Mercifully, I got through the ordeal unscathed and later got home to a warm hug from my three-year-old son.

I recounted my harrowing experience to my shell-shocked household. It wasn’t until hours later that we partook our evening meal.

Dangerous streets

I’ve since fully recovered from that experience, having had some good rest over the weekend.

When I shared my story with a close relative, he also recounted a similar mugging incident that happened on a Sunday evening at the junction of Mama Ngina Street and Kimathi Street.

Unlike me, this brother attempted to be a hero and nearly paid for it with his life.

In the middle of an ill-advised scuffle with his assailants, one of the muggers drew a knife and swung it at his abdomen. He quickly ducked, and the knife only grazed his thigh.

On seeing that their would-be victim wasn’t going down without a fight, the three thugs quickly vanished into an adjacent alley.

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In retrospect, he says, he would not have tried to fight back.

That is what the streets of Nairobi have become; crowded places, bustling with human and car traffic by day but which become extremely dangerous at nightfall.

ATM machines that dot the exterior parts of many banking halls in the CDB are particularly risky places to visit in the evenings, especially when streets are deserted.

So too are alleys and backstreets, including Ngamia Lane and Tausi Lane, on either side of Nation Centre.

My priceless wristwatch is gone, but I thank God I lived to tell the tale – and write a story – of my encounter with Nairobi’s ruthless muggers.

The writer is an online Sub-editor at Nation Media Group 

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Man beats up Bungoma musician for supporting DP Ruto



Police in Webuye have launched a manhunt for a handshake supporter who reportedly assaulted a musician for backing Deputy President William Ruto.

Bungoma East police boss Valarian Obore said police are looking for Mr Bernard Wakamala, alias Jaramogi, for clobbering Mr David Sakari, who usually performs in Webuye Juakali band troupe led by Kimilili MCA David Barasa.

The short statured performer is remembered for having been awarded a customised vehicle for the disabled by Dr Ruto in 2016.

Mr Obore said Mr Sakari was assaulted at Satellite Hotel in Webuye town on Friday night after praising the DP.

“He took a beer bottle and hit me on the head twice. I bled profusely before friends took me to Webuye Sub County Hospital, where I was treated and discharged,” said Mr Sakari.

Bungoma Musicians Association Chairman Kasembeli Watila condemned the incident and called on the police to speed up investigations and arrest the suspect.


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Daughter’s comment to dad accidentally exposes mum’s affair with neighbor



A husband has said an everyday conversation with his young daughter exposed his wife’s cheating and shattered their 14-year marriage. Steven (not his real name) returned home one day and listened as his daughter as told him about her day, when one detail of her story jumped out. The girl mentioned that her mum had been at the neighbour’s house, leading to her dad asking more about what had happened.

She recounted that when she arrived home from school she found her mum was not there, but instead the neighbour popped his head round his front door and told her that her mum would “be right out”. Alarm bells started ringing for Steven, who said he asked his wife why she had been with their neighbour the following day, as reported by Kidspot.

At first she passed it off as nothing and came up with a quick excuse, but her husband said due to the length of time they had been together, he knew exactly how she acted when she was lying. She eventually broke down and admitted that they had kissed and touched, but that it “felt wrong” so she stopped it. “I know how she lies to everybody, and how good she is at it,” said Steven. “So I believe that it went further than the kissing.”

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He says he kicked her out of the house but later agreed to marriage counseling and allowing her to move back in, which he said he did “more for the kids”. But he became even more suspicious when she later revealed the pair had been speaking for several weeks before they met up, as an innocent text message led to exchanging photos and flirty texts. His wife maintained that it hadn’t gone further than a kiss, with Steven adding: “She said that it was just wrong and stopped immediately.

“She said that when it was texting it wasn’t real and when it got down to it in real life she felt like she was going to vomit. But I just don’t see two adults stopping given the opportunity to do what they had been talking about for three weeks. I’m literally going crazy because I do love her but it’s starting to feel like love you have for a longtime friend and not a love you feel for your wife.”

After asking for advice on Reddit, one said: “I think at this point you have to assume she did cheat on you and then ask yourself whether you can forgive her. Figure out what it will take for you to be able to stay with your wife and not be thinking about what happened in ways that interferes with you and your family’s wellbeing. It will take time.”

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Another wrote: “Counselling is a good first start. She is going to have to make major reparations to repair the relationship. She might not be up to the task. Good luck.”


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