April 12, 201732

I was 17 years old when my Business Studies teacher in High school suggested I pursue a career in Media. I remember looking at her blankly because I’d just poured my heart out to her about my desire to ‘fix’ criminals by delving into their mindset in my chosen career of Criminal Psychology. She didn’t buy it. In the end she managed to convince me; but I was still held hostage by the insecurities that I had harbored since I was this little girl who was teased about her unusually deep voice, peculiar interests and habits and extreme tomboy tendencies…

I was still somewhat awkward in my teens; going between flirting with boys to locking myself in the music room of my high school, getting lost in Alternative Rock and studying Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for my exams. Saturday mornings were my favourite; myself, a huge stereo and Rick Dees on Capital FM. I listened to Capital…a lot. We didn’t have the frequency in Mombasa so when I got the chance to, I would indulge in Patricia Amira’s husky laugh, Zain Verjee’s wit, Phil Matthews’ epic music taste and Eve D’Souza’s swag. I felt like I belonged there and eventually…I did. I was relentless when looking for a job at Capital; I called everyday, same time, same out-of-breath desperation to be a part of that world. Eventually I was put through to Phil Matthews, and after hyperventilating for a few seconds, he would politely say if anything opened up they would consider me. They had my demo. They had my pride. So I waited. In the meantime I continued lending my voice to the mid-morning show on Mombasa’s Pulse FM, which, though it was my first ever radio gig, was frustrating and just not…Capital! A month later, I was in the car with my mother and sister, stuck in traffic in town as we looked for outfits and gifts for my cousins wedding. I got a call, and it was Phil Matthews baritone on the other line, asking how soon I could come in for an interview. I almost stopped breathing! Plus the timing was freakish, since I was already in Nairobi. A few weeks later, 2003, at 19 and I was on the air. I was at Capital FM!

I would do that for 8 months before pursuing further studies and then returning home in 2007 to try my luck at radio again, but there were no openings. I wore out my heels looking for work in radio until a friend suggested TV. I laughed it off initially until she pointed out that I still needed to pay the bills. She was right. My parents, though loving, were the tough-love kind; find a job, period. That was January and in February, through a series of very fortunate events and God’s perfect timing, I was the second host of the popular travel show, Out And About on KTN. I took over from the incomparable Janet Kanini-Ikua; God rest her soul ??

I was in a happy place; travel, good food, wildlife, nature and finally adulting on my own terms; living with my sister, helping with the bills, growing out of my tomboy phase and embracing womanhood. Until the contract for the travel show ended two seasons in and there I was, back to square one.

At that time Njoroge Mwaura and Beatrice Marshall had started courting me to become a News Anchor, but my 23 year old self just didn’t feel good enough, ready enough, pretty enough. I giggled and pretended I was entertaining the idea and went off to Mombasa to figure out my life, fast! It was while I was out shopping for lessos in Old Town that I got a phone call from Farida Karoney that would change my life…

(To be continued…)

Photography: Lyra Aoko
(Instagram: @lyraoko)

Body Art: Lindsay Dawn Adhiambo
(Instagram: ah_this)





  • Esther Wachira

    April 12, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    I love your determination. Keep up Janet…love u big


  • Joy

    April 13, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Wah! This side of you, that we never saw for years, is a joy to see coming out. I’m even lost for words Janet. Your words in this blog drip of boldness, passion, purpose…All these must feel like a breath of fresh air to you? I do not know you, I’ve never met you but I’m actually happy for you. It must be refreshing to find renewed purpose in life.

    I’m now job hunting and I’m dying to work with a specific organization. I keep applying and making follow up phone calls. And sometimes I feel like I’m just pushing my luck too far. But look at you! You did the same and got your dream job at Capital. I’ll keep trying:-)

    You did well to start this blog. Such encouraging words you write! Sometimes when I’m just discouraged I visit your blog and read my favourite blog posts for the 100th time. Thanks for being such a blessing ma!

    Blessings upon blessings to you and your family:-)


  • Muthoni shelmith

    April 13, 2017 at 8:31 am

    At 19!!congrats
    You such an inspiration dear!?
    Waiting for you to continue


  • Nyambura Mwangi

    April 13, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I heart you Janet,there is something in you that i admire .Again, it ain’t something but almost everything. I stop there !

    God bless Janet , guide and guard her paths!


  • Sherry mungai

    April 13, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Dear Janet your an inspiration to many young girls. And a damn good story writter. Hope in future you plan to write a book. All the best love. Keep discovering and inspiring.


  • Caroline Odhiambo

    April 13, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Determination coupled with perserverance is the key, I admire that.Most of us gave up once we were told “no”.All the best


  • Monicah

    April 13, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I love your personality Janet!
    Your determination is amazingly beautiful.


  • Grace

    April 13, 2017 at 11:15 am

    @19!!!!!Love your zeal and determination in life. May God bless you as you journey into the next phase. You are such an inspiration and a beautiful soul.


  • mama Pendo

    April 13, 2017 at 11:24 am

    God’s Time is always The Best.


  • Nzilani Janet

    April 13, 2017 at 11:31 am

    A purposeful life I must say! ooh Janet you are bold and ambitious. I admire you. The beginning of beginnings!!!



    April 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

    U looked so composed on CITIZEN,one wud think u went there directly from college,its gud to know some of these things since they encourage any person who myt be wearing off their”high heels’ walking from to office to offie looking for a job,tell then gal….it shall b ok…u r such a gud writer,ur suspense is breathtaking..


  • Doris Tabu

    April 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    glorious.. you going far Mami.. you inspire me…


  • Doris Tabu

    April 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    glorious.. you going far Mami.
    . you inspire me.


  • Janette

    April 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I love it


  • Nyakato

    April 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Just seen that you have left Citizen……….best wishes on your next move!!


  • Carol

    April 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Humble beginnings & inspiring, the story continues loved it


  • Ramadhan Juma Kipati

    April 13, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I am inspired by the venture you have made in this period of your life.Great respect


  • kelly

    April 13, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Wow!! Very inspiring


  • Terry

    April 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Great inspiration your life stories are.. I never want to miss out on any of these,it gives me hope and I am able to understand that one has to accept the end of something in order to pave way for the beginning of another.
    God bless you Janet. And may He give you strength to continue with the marvellous work.


  • Mary N

    April 13, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Very nice piece


  • Kanini Janet

    April 13, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Wooow this is so beautiful am waiting for the next part..
    big up Janet


  • Kanini Janet

    April 13, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    woow so beautiful and amazing looking forward for the next part…
    big up Janet


  • Lorna

    April 14, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I love you Janet.keep up with the good work it’s an encouragement to most of us


  • Wairimu Kiruku

    April 14, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I love the Confidence!!! Woow i am really inspired and mostly on how diverse you are… Tv was meant for you and vulaaah you are a voice of the women, mothers, children and the youth!! Keep up Janet!
    Completely inspired 🙂


  • Lucy muthua

    April 14, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Waoh very inspiring keep up the spirit Janet


  • Davie

    April 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    You had me at Rick Dees and Alternative Rock. 2007-09 era. Dark, confusing and exciting. Honestly, your story relates quite much to mine, only that am a guy. I’m awed and intrigued.


  • Loise

    April 15, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    This is just a beginning as you say… Looking forward to pick up from your story


  • Loise

    April 15, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    What an inspiration!! Cheers swt Janet


  • Nelly Sam

    April 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    so inspiring. i think i should also start writing


  • Sam Njeru

    April 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Your writings are the best in inspiring and rekindling fire on a dimming candle



    April 23, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    You keep inspiring me day after day.
    Waiting patiently for the next part


  • Florence

    April 26, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    I admire you period!


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