April 16, 201740

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. (Jimmy Dean)

‘Um, so I start…tomorrow?’ I asked Farida Karoney, flustered. She had called me while I was on a break at the Coast after hosting 2 seasons of the travel show Out and About, which was now on a sabbatical and later hosted by someone else. I was trying to figure out the new course my life was going to chart. She had just approved my screen tests for the Late Night News on KTN and two days after my first ever rehearsal, she told me I was going to make my debut in just over 24 hours. It was September 2007, I was 23 years old, I was watching MTV and reading Pulse Magazine. I didn’t feel prepared to talk to the nation about pressing current affairs matters. I was busy having fun!

“Yes”, she told me frankly. “I understand you’re nervous but I think you’re ready”, she added gently, but firmly, like she needed me to believe in what I had. So I did. It’s not the direction I thought I’d take, I was a lot more drawn to lifestyle programs and the free will to be me, but was also aware that opportunities like the one I was being presented with were not easy to come by. I accepted that the winds were blowing me in a different direction for a reason, and I not only had to adjust my sails, I had to trust these winds!

I did a last minute run through of everything, learnt how to apply make up in one swift tutorial, bought two suits that would eventually turn out to be oversized so I would use pegs to secure them from behind and hours later, at 11 pm, I was on the air!


After fumbling for a few days I began to find my way and two weeks later, I debuted on the 1 pm news. A week later, KTN Weekend Prime. By this time I had become more savvy, news-wise and all round. I was wearing my suits and not the other way round. Thanks to Beatrice Marshall, who was always so well out together, my hair and make up looked decent! I remember looking in the mirror before one of my Weekend Prime bulletins and it felt like I was staring at someone else. Where had the tomboy gone? What about the causally dressed traveler? I smiled, I was growing up! And I was beginning to enjoy the news and the bulletins in general.

After covering the 2007 elections and subsequent post-election crisis right through to the signing of the 2008 peace accord in Kenya, I settled into the new Sunrise Live segment as the host, and this is where I would hone my adlib skills and inject humor and personality in to my bulletins. Sunrise Live made me alive to my newscasts and I never did bulletins the same after that.

Later that year Esther Arunga would tell me of an opportunity to work in South Africa that we were both asked to apply for, which we both turned down at thay time because KTN had told us to we were going to debut as the main anchors on the coveted 9 pm news! We had both featured on 9 pm as Business Anchor and Features Reporter respectively but had not been the main anchors so that was huge. In early 2009 we joined Lilian Muli and Beatrice Marshall as the other female 9 pm News Anchors during the week. Various newspaper pull outs had a field day seemingly comparing us, the ‘new kids on the block’. I understood that it came with the territory and to be honest it was a great time to be a Broadcast Journalist, but sometimes it just seemed condescending and almost sexist. Ah well, it’s the life you chose, I’d tell myself. But I started wondering if there was something better out there…

My restless feet, eager for a change of scene,  saw me applying for the News Anchor/ Reporter job in Johannesburg that I’d previously turned down. It was still available so I sent them my showreel and CV and I forgot about it. Over Easter, just two months later, they called me back. I’d been shortlisted! I was beside myself. I began to imagine life in another country, the opportunity to start over, to meet new people, learn a new culture, really grow into my own! When they interviewed me on phone a few months later and offered me the job, I went on my knees and promised God I wouldn’t let him down or, you know, do anything silly! I resigned from KTN on the 5th of June 2009 after eNews Africa sent me an offer letter, making my appointment official, bar my securing a work permit. Which is where things took a turn for the worse…


(To be continued…)


You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.C. S. Lewis

Photography: Lyra Aoko
(Instagram: @lyraoko)



  • Esther Wachira

    April 16, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    wow! well said…so inspirational..keep up and never get tired of sharing these wise thoughts.Thanks sana


    • Njoki Ndirangu

      April 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

      Wow! Glued and can’t wait for the next direction the wind blew you to…


  • Lyra Aoko

    April 17, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I have said this before and I will say it again. You have such a way with words Janet! ❤️

    I am absolutely loving these blog posts.


  • muthoni gachoro

    April 17, 2017 at 9:22 am

    The suspense..waiting for next


  • Muthoni shelmith

    April 17, 2017 at 9:29 am

    …the more you continue the wiser it becomes.. Haiya waiting waiting
    You such an inspiration ma’..
    ….And looking good


  • Carol Mburu..

    April 17, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I am super inspired..keep doing it and not stopping at anything no matter what is what I learn from you…This is uplifting…I can’t wait for the rest of it…Thank you Janet…


  • nancy

    April 17, 2017 at 10:12 am

    awesome piece


  • Chef Peter

    April 17, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Waaaah really great piece waiting for more…


  • Florence Kinyua

    April 17, 2017 at 11:36 am

    What an inspiration am Eagerly waiting………..,,,……Janet ahsante sana


  • Suzie

    April 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks Janet for sharing. I have been a consultant traveling and living in sutecases at a young age … and am in the process of discovering myself. So I can relate to your previous post as well as this. Keep up the good work!


  • Damaris

    April 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    So hungry for the next read, becoming one of my best blogs….you’re truly talented


  • Mercy

    April 17, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Can’ wait for the next…so moving


  • Betty Githiu

    April 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Very inspiring,am glued to every word…Wow!!!
    Can’t wait for more


  • Dee dee

    April 17, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Am waiting, make it sooner


  • Mercie

    April 17, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Eagerly waiting for the continuation.
    Keep well!


  • Kanini Janet

    April 17, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    woow this is beautiful… I just never
    wanna stop reading your story Janet it is awesome


  • Mwihia Paul

    April 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm



  • Karo

    April 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Awesome read…waiting


  • Chelsea

    April 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Just when I thought I was getting more spice, she decides she’s not giving it all today. Can’t wait for the continuation!
    As always, nice read Janet!


  • Jane

    April 17, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Waiting for the next piece eagerly!


  • Monicah

    April 18, 2017 at 1:51 am

    This is so inspiring as I’m in the process of discovering myself.Travelling to different countries and trying to find what I’m made of.Its always inspiring to read your blogs.


  • Izoo

    April 18, 2017 at 6:58 am



  • janet nzilani

    April 18, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Amazing journey


  • Sally

    April 18, 2017 at 8:52 am

    After reading your dare to be different , do one thing at a time and what’s really wrong, I felt a shift. As I mentioned those posts caused me to shake off the exasperating appendage of comfort that while I had bemoaned the last year had indeed become my security blanket. I felt a shift, a need to reset my sails as the quote you shared did. Your bravery in this new journey is commendable . So not only did bravely write about it but you went ahead and took the big step! You were not content to bask in the glow of the sometimes fading attention, you took the risk and I applaud you for it. God’s blessings on this new journey and count me as one of your cheerleaders! Be blessed


  • Wanjiru Mwangi

    April 18, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Serendipity. Let’s see how the dots later joined.


  • Kate kamotho

    April 18, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Awesome Janet… Following


  • Faith Muoki

    April 18, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    can’t wait for the rest so inspiring. started following you when you become a mum and since then you have been my inspiration. may God bless you and your family.


  • brenda andayi

    April 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    so inspirational….


  • Philomena Kinya

    April 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    That left me hanging.. The one thing I love about all your blogs is how they inspire me and many others in this platform… I’m proud of you ma, you have taught me persistence in my journey and career. For all the times i self -doubt myself your words keep coming to me. Thanks Janet and may God give you energy to touch many more lives.


  • Christine

    April 18, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    such awesome posts :-).. we are waiting for more


  • maggie

    April 18, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Nice one.Continue Janet..waiting


  • Jane

    April 18, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Awesome Janet.


  • Grace ndungu

    April 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Can’t wait for the next episode. The direction of wind


  • DP

    April 18, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    The wind. Doesn’t it lead us all? No man has power over his own destiny, ye everyone does have that power. Oh, I know… It’s a perfect dance of the wind and the willows, or if you like, the wind and the tree rows. I like mulberry trees, I just don’t know if you feel the same. But if you yield where the wind blows, and make your move by the rushing sound over the bulrushes, you might just hit the jack pot! I didn’t mention that there is a jack pot, did I? Ah… This is where every man’s dream lies, just where the birds fly, taking the wind in their wings to soar even higher. In the direction of the wind. Stop staring out of the window, open the lachets and go dance in the wind. Dances in the wind. That is where you belong. Free as a bird, carefree as a nerd. In the wind.


  • chris

    April 19, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Great stuff!()


  • mama Tamara

    April 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Everyday i visit this site because I know I will be inspired and challenged at the same time…i love you Janet thanks for Sharing your journey with us….


  • eunice wanjema

    April 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    awesome..cant wait for the next..thanks sana


  • Judith Mutunga

    April 25, 2017 at 11:11 am

    so inspiring


  • Judith Mutunga

    April 25, 2017 at 11:13 am

    inspirational…waiting for the next.


  • Teresa

    April 27, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Soo feeling this one Janet and following ??


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