Evangelist Lucy Wangunjiri Biography: From Abusive Father, To Hawker, To Radio Star

From being raised by an abusive parent, to hawking clothes, to surviving cancer, Evangelist Lucy Wangunjiri has seen it all.

She is a preacher, gospel musician, author, and celebrated media personality. She currently hosts the Itaha Ria Muoyo program on Kameme FM, one of the most listened gospel shows on Kikuyu radio.

This is her story as told by WoK:


Lucy Wangunjiri, whose full name is Lucy Njeri Mburu, was born and raised in Muthithi, Murang’a County. She is the seventh born of 9 siblings.

According to her, she was born outdoors in her home compound when her mother, a farmer, had just come from her day’s chores at the farm.

Her father was a mason and power saw operator. Despite their humble background, her parents did their best to ensure she was never sent away from school for school fees.

Lucy’s education journey began in 1978 at Muthithi Primary School. At class four, she became the school head girl. This was due to her exemplary academic performance and sound morals.

She was also very prayerful. “I would pray until the teacher asked me to stop,” said the vibrant evangelist in an interview.

Her Christian journey began at Muthithi PCEA Sunday school, where her elder sister was their Sunday school teacher.

At 10 years old, she would mobilize village children for prayer and worship sessions on Saturday evenings. “I had a choir called Lucy choir,” she said.

Lucy, who excelled in English, sat for her KCPE in 1986. Despite her outstanding performance, her father swore that no daughter of his would go to boarding school.

Consequently, she was enrolled at the local Muthithi Secondary School, where she schooled alongside renowned Kikuyu musician Epha Maina. Her leadership streak continued as she was appointed head girl while in form two.

Abusive father

In a recent interview with fellow Kameme FM presenter, Lucy described her father – who passed away a few months ago – as a very abusive man.

“He used to beat my mother, myself, and my siblings for trivial reasons. There was no place to run to,” said the preacher, who broke down while recounting the painful moments.

However, she credits her father’s strict authoritativeness to her sound morals, saying she would not be the powerful evangelist she is today.

At school, her academic performance declined due to frustrations from home. “At home, there was no time for studying. I couldn’t do my homework, my father did not even allow us to invite friends,” she said.

However, her principal understood the situation at home and encouraged her. In form two, her musical talent showed when she bagged the first position in the solo singing category at the National music festivals.

Despite this achievement, things did not improve with her father. She even sat for her KCSE from a neighbor’s house as her father had chased the family away.

Things reached a boiling point when the two had an altercation, with Lucy saying that enough was enough. She took a stone and threatened to bash his head if he ever laid his hands on her or her mother again.  Enraged, her father chased her away with a machete.

Marketing job

Fleeing the hostile situation at home, Lucy and her mother moved to Nairobi. There, the young evangelist was employed as a house help in Buruburu with a monthly salary of sh 600.

Her good manners and upright Christian upbringing curried favor with her employer, who enrolled her at Thika Technical College to pursue a diploma in marketing.

After some time, she got a job in Uthiru advertising Farmers Guide magazines, earning sh 2000 per month. She also sold Nation newspapers, earning a monthly commission. It was at that time that she met her husband, Lameck Ngunjiri. She was 23 at the time.

When she got pregnant, Lucy lost her marketing job. As fate would have it, her husband also lost his prestigious NGO job. Things got so bad that the family was evicted for lack of rent and depended on friends and well-wishers for sustenance.

It was at that time that she started hawking second-hand clothes in Kiambu.

Kameme FM

In 1999, Kameme FM was started. Presenters at the time included current nominated MP Sabina Chege and current Githunguri MP Gathoni Wamuchomba.

Sabina hosted the Sunday morning show Itaha Ria Muoyo.

As things had become very tough, Wangunjiri was encouraged by her husband to seek a marketing job at Kememe FM.

There, she met the station’s boss, Lucy Kimotho. “I introduced myself, and said I would like a marketing or broadcasting job,” said Wangunjiri, even though she had never done a media-related course.

At the interview, she was at first rejected. “ I was asked to do a voice test. When the results were out, I was told I was not radio material,” she said.

In an extraordinary twist of good fortune, she was introduced to presenter Sabina Chege, who volunteered to coach her.

Meanwhile, she was employed at the station as a marketer. In 2001, Sabina quit Kameme Fm.

Her place was taken by the now-qualified Lucy Ngunjiri, who has held the role to date. She became the first radio presenter to introduce intercessory prayers at a radio program.

At one time, she was almost fired when new management at the station announced that all presenters must have a media-related academic qualification. Luckily, Lucy had enrolled in a short course and earned a certificate in mass communication.

She later pursued a degree in Bible and Theology from Pan Africa Christian University and would later found her own church called Prayers Without Boundaries.

Beating cancer

Aside from her career, Lucy’s marriage has had its fair share of ups and downs. After the birth of her firstborn, she spent 9 years without another child.

On visiting the Aga Khan hospital, she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her womb. She was miraculously healed after days of prayer and intercession and lived to bear her secondborn child, Lyne Ngunjiri, who is currently 18 years old.

Wangunjiri’s inspiring life story is captured in her book “Praying Without Boundaries.”