My mother, my mirror: The untold story of Sheila Mwanyigha

To know who you are, you need to have some idea of where you have been. Even though times have changed for women – better opportunities, more pressure – some things, like the journey of self-discovery remain the same.

Caroline Nyanga speaks to two women from different generations; media personality and MD of Rembesha Kenya, Sheila Mwanyigha and her mother, retired Senior Superintendent of Police, Agnes Wanjiru Mwanyigha

Sheila:

Having taken a break from her radio and music career, Sheila started ‘SheilaLivesLoudOut’, a weekly chat show on YouTube on which guests share lessons from real life experiences

Early years:

“I was born and raised in Nairobi’s South C estate where my childhood was a happy one. My parents, Agnes Wanjiru and Gideon Mwanyigah (who were police officers and members of the Kenya Police Band) got along well.

It helped my younger brother Mark and I embrace good social skills, self-esteem and emotional security.

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My parents were strict and ensured that good behaviour was maintained. Their careers kept them quite busy but I appreciate that whenever they were off duty, they made up for lost time.

My mother, in particular, kept track of our academic performance and ensured we did our house chores. I also had a strict regime to follow that had specified time for homework, prayers and Bible study.

To show her gratitude, she would occasionally suggest that we take time out to bond.

Growing up, I was known to be a jolly but shy, responsible and reserved person. We didn’t have much in terms of luxuries – I remember mum warning us not to go to the neighboring houses to watch colour TV.

But being the children we were, we would occasionally find ourselves breaking the rules having been influenced by our friends, only to end up paying the price. Not a very pleasant experience. I picked up the art of discipline really quick!

Having two parents who were musicians was fun. There was always music in the house – from Beethoven to Osibisa. I recall sitting next to my dad as we sang along to the lyrics of Elvis Presley and Fela Kuti.

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There were times when my father accompanied my brother and I to various recording studios where we worked on several radio jingles.

With the money from the adverts, he would buy us text books and chips. This aside, it was a big deal hearing ourselves on radio and this made my dad proud.

Teen years:

After attending Highridge Primary School, I joined Pangani Girls High School. Unlike fellow day scholars, I benefitted greatly from different areas, among them time-management, self-sufficiency and being able to adjust to people from diverse backgrounds which made me a better, independent person.

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