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Curse of living in the shadows of famous sibling

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Growing up alongside siblings is tough enough for almost anyone, but

have you ever contemplated what it would be like to forever exist in the shadow of a far more famous brother or sister? It turns out spending an entire life in the covers of a celebrity sibling can give the ‘less-known’ siblings feelings of inferiority complex.

One such sibling is Zawadi Nyong’o who has been quoted wanting to escape the long shadow of her younger sister, Holywood actress Lupita’s reputation.

During an interview with a local magazine in February 2017, Zawadi spoke about the irritation she gets whenever she is only accredited to what her sister or family is rather than her own self and her many achievements.

She disclosed that often times she gets irked when people refer to her as ‘Lupita’s sister’. “I am all about sisterhood, but I am my own person. I cannot live forever being referenced to as someone else’s sister, someone else’s daughter. Then when I get married, someone else’s wife. As a feminist, individuality is important,” she quipped.

Zawadi is just one example of a rarely recognised, but sizable demographic; the adults who feel held back and ignored in favour of famous siblings.

Resentment

Singer Akothee’s baby sister, Elseba Awuor Kokeyo aka Cebbie_Koks_Nyasego has been trolled several times for riding behind her sister’s fame.

Snide comments such as, “We only know you as Akothee’s sister” are some of the common comments on Cebbie’s comment section.

Yet Cebbie is successful in her own right. For instance, she recently graduated with a masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from Daystar University and is currently pursuing a post-graduate diploma in sign language at St Pauls Horizon Sign Language Training Centre. Other admirable feathers on her cap are; she is a communication and PR strategist and a budding entreprenuer running Virtual 21, a public relations, management and consulting firm. “I wouldn’t really complain about my sis ter Akothee overshadowing me. In fact it comes with its own merits since I am able to gain favour by virtue of just being Akothee’s sister as opposed to if I was just Cebbie,” she says, adding,

“The only negative thing I would say, is that you can easily lose your identity as a person.” On the international scene, the script is the same, but different cast. American actress and producer and Pretty Woman star Julia Robberts’ younger sister Nancy Motes in 2017 committed suicide after years of struggling to live under Julia Roberts shadow. In her suicide note, Nancy places the blame for her depression squarely on the shoulders of her superstar step-sister. She expressed how much she resented her sister’s success.

James Middleton, the younger sibling of the Duchess of Cambridge, has also recently admitted that it is “frustrating” living in his royal sister’s shadow. The 27-year-old entrepreneur said his achievements have been overshadowed by Kate since she gained her royal status.

In an interview with with The Young Director (TYD) James said, “Yes, it does get frustrating. I work incredibly hard, just like every other person in business and work. And aside from the fact of, yes, I am the brother of someone very important, I am, at the end of the day, just James,” he ranted.

Artist and executive producer of Naaman music entertainment, D-Rush Naaman does not only come from the oldest and most respected music family in Mombasa (famous professor Naaman family), but his elder brother Musa Babaz is also one of the biggest music promoters in Mombasa and Tanzania. But D-Rush has vowed not to let his late father or elder brother fame distract him.

Own path

“Music has always been in my blood. It has got nothing to do with my father’s fame or what my brother is doing. My father was famous in his own time and I have had my own journey and I work hard to become successful through my own studio and label,” he says. He, however, has encountered fans asking him why he hasn’t taken advantage of his brothers fame to grow himself. “I always tell them ‘ mtegemea cha nduguye hufa halmaskin’. I do not plan to ride on what he has built for himself.” he says.

Grace Olela, a counselling psychologist in Nairobi says just because a sibling is not a household name doesn’t always mean that they don’t live accomplished professional lives.

“Most of the time, siblings tend to develop different interests as though

they don’t want to compete with an older brother or sister,” she says.

She describes the situation as an almost natural pecking order where the older child exercises more authority, so younger children tend to choose different interests because they choose to be treated as individuals.

On the flipside, some celebrities have confessed to grapple with their less famous sibling’s jealousy, insecurity, fear, pressure to the point of guilt for being the famous one in the family.

Like in Julia Roberts case, her sister’s suicide raised worldwide concern on what really should be the role of a successful individual to his or her family members.

Grace explains that when siblings of a famous person have esteem issues and feel less important, it can result in severe family dysfunction and personal issues. At times the star sibling becomes blackmailed for being the reason the whole family is in the spotlight.

“At other times the other siblings become depressed, angry, drug dependent, or destructive in order to gain attention and sabotage the fame of the star sibling,” she offers.

Family counsellor, Raymond Mwaura notes that family as a system is a unit meant to maintain functionality and controls. Therefore, one family member’s success is often given more value compared to the rest of the family members.

“Any malfunction of an individual in the family set-up affects all; this is the same with success. So, if one person in a family is a celebrity everyone identifies with them so as to gain approval and acceptability and favour,” he says.

He says being a celebrity sibling also comes with its own responsibilities.

Some people use their sibling’s famous status to grow and promote themselves like former United States President Barrack Obama’s sister Auma Obama did, while others use it to communicate their grievances like Malik Obama did to handle his famous brother’s fame,” explains Mwaura.

By PD


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Man’s burial inside his house baffles Kirinyaga residents

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Residents of Mucagara Village in Kirinyaga County were on Wednesday evening treated to a rare funeral after a man was buried inside his house.

They watched in astonishment as the coffin containing the remains of the 65-year-old retired coffee factory manager, Simon Muriithi Mwaniki, was lowered into the grave that had been dug in the living room.

Some whispered to each other during the dramatic send-off which left many in awe.

According to the man’s relative, prior to his death, he had expressed his wish to be buried in the house.

Emotions ran high as the funeral ceremony went on in the village in Gichugu Constituency.

“We had to act according to his wishes to avoid a curse and being haunted by his spirits,” said Mr James Njuki, the man’s eldest son.

Mwaniki was hurriedly buried in a brief ceremony conducted by an African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa priest, Jackson Muchiri.

Committed suicide

When Mwaniki committed suicide, no one mourned his death as he had asked family members not to do so when he was alive.

“Before he took his life he had told us that there should be no mourning when he dies. Therefore, we ensured that we never gathered at any time within the homestead to mourn him,” added Mr Njuki.

Mr Njuki recalled how on November 18 they found their father dangling from the roof of his house with a rope around his neck.

It was then that the matter was reported to the local police officers who drove to the scene and took the body to Kibugi Funeral Home.

His children suspected that their father took his life due to the depression he suffered after his wife, Juliana Muthoni, died.

“My father started drinking heavily after his wife died. He loved my mother so much and we think he was so much affected by her death and became depressed,” said Mr Njuki.

Rev Muchiri described the funeral as unique.

“For the 38 years that I have been conducting funerals, this is the first time to bury someone inside a house,” he said.

The residents said they were taken aback when they arrived at the homestead and saw the grave inside Mwaniki’s house.

“We were baffled. We have never witnessed such a funeral in this village. This is a funeral of its own kind which shocked all of us,” Mr Eliud Muriithi said.

by nation.africa


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Where were the authorities? residents ask as Kenyan man is buried inside his living room

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Residents of Mucagara Village in Kirinyaga County were on Wednesday evening treated to a rare funeral after a man was buried inside his house.

They watched in astonishment as the coffin containing the remains of the 65-year-old retired coffee factory manager, Simon Muriithi Mwaniki, was lowered into the grave that had been dug in the living room.

Some whispered to each other during the dramatic send-off which left many in awe.

According to the man’s relative, prior to his death, he had expressed his wish to be buried in the house.

Emotions ran high as the funeral ceremony went on in the village in Gichugu Constituency.

“We had to act according to his wishes to avoid a curse and being haunted by his spirits,” said Mr James Njuki, the man’s eldest son.

Mwaniki was hurriedly buried in a brief ceremony conducted by an African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa priest, Jackson Muchiri.

Committed suicide

When Mwaniki committed suicide, no one mourned his death as he had asked family members not to do so when he was alive.

“Before he took his life he had told us that there should be no mourning when he dies. Therefore, we ensured that we never gathered at any time within the homestead to mourn him,” added Mr Njuki.

Mr Njuki recalled how on November 18 they found their father dangling from the roof of his house with a rope around his neck.

It was then that the matter was reported to the local police officers who drove to the scene and took the body to Kibugi Funeral Home.

His children suspected that their father took his life due to the depression he suffered after his wife, Juliana Muthoni, died.

“My father started drinking heavily after his wife died. He loved my mother so much and we think he was so much affected by her death and became depressed,” said Mr Njuki.

Rev Muchiri described the funeral as unique.

“For the 38 years that I have been conducting funerals, this is the first time to bury someone inside a house,” he said.

The residents said they were taken aback when they arrived at the homestead and saw the grave inside Mwaniki’s house.

“We were baffled. We have never witnessed such a funeral in this village. This is a funeral of its own kind which shocked all of us,” Mr Eliud Muriithi said.

-Nation.co.ke


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Tales of old widows of Dundori raped by ‘grandchildren’

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It was only 9pm, a relatively safe hour or so, the 60-year-old thought. She was home alone when a man forced his way in, tore her clothes and repeatedly raped her.

She did not recognize him through a glance on his face, but from how he hankered, he was tall.

That was on July 5, this year, and the memories of that night are still fresh in the mind of the victim – whose name we have concealed to protect her privacy.

Before the ordeal, the victim had only heard rumours of widows being raped in her Dundori neighbourhood in Nakuru County – a place now well known for the crimes.

Here, sunset years are a traumatising period for women – especially widows. In the dead of the night, they live in constant fear that young men will pounce on them and rape them.

“I live with my granddaughter in a two bedroomed house. On the fateful day, I heard a commotion outside and thought my two cows had fled the pen and I stepped out to check what was happening,” she says.

She tells the Nation that the attacker covered her mouth, dragged her into a dark sidewalk within the compound and raped her.

By the time her assailant left, the victim was short of breath and she had to take a series of deep breaths before screaming.

“I was rushed to Dundori Health Centre. I was treated and obtained a P3 form. Thereafter, I recorded a statement at Dundori Police Post, but the offender is yet to be arrested to date,” she says, adding that her self-esteem is fading away at the thought of not knowing who did that to her and why.

Living in fear

“I live in fear, because my attacker can strike again,” says the mother of five adult children.

Kilometres away in a neighbouring village, 62-year-old Wambui, (not her real name) also a widow, is living in fear months after she went through a similar ordeal.

“I was attacked at home by a gang of three men who raped me in turns in the presence of my granddaughter. They are yet to be arrested,” she says.

Wambui reveals that the assailants stormed her home where she lives with her granddaughter and tied them up before committing the heinous act.

“We had just taken supper around 8pm when they pushed their way into the compound. I reported the matter to the police, but they are yet to act,” she notes.

Another victim, a 90-year-old granny, says she lives alone after her husband died decades ago.

“At my age, I cannot follow up the case, but the police should help me get justice. I just leave it all to God,” she says amid tears.

The Nation encountered at least 16 elderly women claiming to have been raped in Dundori in the past three months. Among them is a 90-year-old granny, whom a Nyumba Kumi official reveals has been raped five times.

Residents who spoke to the Nation point a finger at young men who indulge in drugs in the area.

“They peddle drugs and commit all sorts of crime including house break-ins, without interference of the police,” says the resident of Kaburini Village.

He claims that police from Dundori Police Post collude with the criminals to defeat justice.

“We do not even have police patrols in Dundori and criminals enjoy a field day. Peddling of drugs like bhang, sale of illicit brews, house break-ins, rapes and defilements are the order of the day here,” he adds.

Rape survivors suffer trauma, headaches and memory lapses. Worse is the constant fear they live with, that the attackers might strike again.

The most affected villages include Juacali, Kaburini and Tia Wera, where an account of the victims paint a similar pattern in timing and manner.

The perpetrators

Assistant County Commissioner Henry Kirwa, however, says most victims are yet to report the incidents.

“Locals need awareness of how the justice system works. Most who claim to have been raped have never reported. Recently when we pushed them, about eight women recorded statements. They need to be educated on how rape and defilement cases are handled,” states Mr Kirwa.

He adds: “To help police track down suspects, they must report the incidents promptly.”

Interestingly, only eight victims have reported incidents of rape at the Dundori Police Post.

When reached for comment, Bahati Sub-county police boss Jacinta Mwarania promised to investigate the matter.

A Nyumba Kumi elder who sought anonymity reveals that rape cases among elderly women in the area have become rampant but police officers are doing little to save the situation.

“These cases are on the rise and every time they are reported to the police, victims are asked to produce more evidence to nail the suspects,” the elder says.

Another Nyumba Kumi official says the incidents happen at night between 8pm and 3am and that the perpetrators are sometimes known people.

In a recent incident, a Class Eight pupil was defiled at her home at about 7pm. Sources say the matter was reported to the police, but the assailant is still walking free days after his brief arrest.

by nation.africa


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