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Nyiva Mwendwa: I have no apology for loving myself

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The vivid coral lipstick she wears is part of her signature look.

Winnie Nyiva Mwendwa never leaves her house without a smudge of redness on her lips and the arc of her eyebrows drawn to perfection.At 76, a lot of things about her have changed.

She has retired after 43 years of being in active politics and spends time with her grandchildren in her Nairobi and Kitui homes. Age has slowed the agility on her feet but she still wears heels. Her sense of style that she cultivated when she was studying Home Economics at Manchester University remains. “One thing I will never get tired of is taking care of myself,” she says, adjusting her neatly pressed suit tailored in Bangkok.

A tinge of her expensive perfume lingers in the room as she runs her fingers through her weave.

Tired of being oppressed

Her obsession with looks and love for beauty products landed her in trouble when she led a delegation of 450 women to the Beijing World Conference of Women in 1995.

She was the minister of Culture and Social Services and an explosion of voices from women tired of being oppressed was echoing across the globe.

The Beijing meeting was where they would strategise and take over what they had been denied for long — women power.

They left in fanfare, dangling a promise of liberation from a culture that demeaned women. The wind of change was blowing, and Nyiva was anchoring it. But back at home, things crumbled when it was reported that she had flown her hairdresser to Beijing.

“Everyone was talking about how I went with a hairdresser. I had a group of women drawn from different sectors. From elites to illiterates.

It is no surprise that a hairdresser was in my team,” she says, contradicting the much quoted phrase at the time where she said she needed to take care of her appearance as a minister; because image is everything.

Then came reports that lesbianism was discussed at the gathering with allegations that some members of the delegation had been lured. Kenyans were livid.

Preachers shivered on pulpits yelling to God to descend and the former Cabinet minister to resign.“A lot of lies were said about our visit to Beijing. Sadly, there are people who believed them,” she says.

Beth Mugo who was advocating the economic rights of women and also went to Beijing laughs when she recalls the criticism they faced when they returned home.

“It was said we were being coached to control men and become tough headed. Nyiva was put in a tight spot,” she says.

Nyiva believes the Beijing conference sparked a conversation many women wanted to have, but were too scared because of the narrative they had been fed. They were told they did not matter, and they believed it. The conference instilled in them the desire to question things.

“Most employed women were not even being paid house allowance because they were expected to be housed by their husbands. Nobody was asking about women who did not have husbands,” says Nyiva.

Upon returning from Beijing, she claims former President Moi asked: “What do women want?” Her answer was simple: “Women want to be heard!”She says she was tired of abuses about her womanhood. Anytime she vied for a political seat, she was reminded that she was not capable to lead. “Do you also want to wear trousers like men? Do you want to pee while standing?” she was asked whenever she took to the dais to address campaign rallies.

Nyiva vowed never to wear trousers. She wanted to prove that a woman can engage in politics in stilettos and skirts.

Dr Naomi Shaban who watched the former Cabinet minister’s political life blossom says she never imagined the murk she would have to walk through when her time came.

“For us women, they go low. They threatened me with rape, insulted me for being a single parent, and kept saying they will throw my child in the toilet,” says Shaban.

Nyiva and her late husband Kitili Maluki Mwendwa, the first African Chief Justice, were involved in politics and are said to have made more money by relating with former Uganda President Milton Obote.

Nyiva admits that she still interacts with former Ugandan First Lady Miria Obote. “They were my son’s godparents and our friendship dates from before Obote became president,” she says.The friendship dates back to 1950s when Obote and Kitili were students at Makerere University.

They hosted Obote’s family during war in Uganda. “Obote and my family were friends, but there was no money involved. We never made any investments together,” she says.

When Kitili died in a road accident in 1985, Nyivasays the shock almost killed her. “I was in Switzerland with Christine Kenyatta, and Mama Ngina called to deliver the news. It was the worst time of my life,” she says.

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Football legend Joe Kadenge moved from ICU ward

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Looks like ailing football legend Joe Kadenge is recovering well from a bout of stroke.

Reports from the family say he has been moved from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward to the general ward as he continue to recover from stroke.

Kadenge was admitted at Nairobi Hospital last Wednesday after he suffered stroke when he learnt of the death of his daughter in the United States.

According to Nairobi News Kadenge’s daughter, Everlyn Wanjiku Kadenge passed away in the States after a short illness. She was buried on Monday.

Mr Kadenge’s brother John Anzara said that the man popularly known with the ‘Kadenge na mpira’ phrase has taken giant steps in his recovery.

“He has been handled well by the doctors since he was admitted and now he is in good spirits. The doctor has told us that he will be discharged in the next few days,”  Mr Anzara told Nairobi News.

Source: Nairobi News

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Video: Lulu Hassan shocks fans with her fluent Kikuyu

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Citizen TV anchor Lulu Hassan awed fans when she spoke fluent Kikuyu at Inoooro TV.

The queen of Swahili language had a Kikuyu conversation with Inooro TV presenter Muthoni wa Mukiri as she explained what she did for valentines.

See video below.

Lulu Hassan presents Swahili news on citizen TV alongside her husband Rashid Abdalla. Together they have three children.

Lulu Hassan and husband Rashid Abdalla

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Enda honeymoon, Kenyans urge Dennis Okari after posting news update on Twitter

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NTV news anchor Dennis Okari got married on Friday 15th February in a colourful wedding ceremony to Naomi Joy and days later, it seems like he is back to work.

The secretive news anchor continued to post news on his social media platforms, attracting the attention of Kenyans who questioned as to when he would go on his honey moon.

Kenyans on twitter were on his case after he posted a news tweet a day after he got married and wondered when he would be off work to enjoy his honey moon with his wife.

 

 

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