Makena Njeri, real name Christine Njeri, is many things in one-a producer, actor and director. She became a household name in Kenya when played ‘Makena’ in the then popular Citizen TV high school drama series Tahidi High. Makena was among actors who portrayed what life was in high school and they did a pretty good job at it. She went on to work with Nation Media Group and BBC after the show came to an end.
Njeri is a bold lady who came out to proclaim to the world that she a member of the Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender (LGBTIQ) community. To get where she is today, it has taken a lot of grace and courage. She has battled so much including depression which she successfully overcame.
Life was not always easy for the actress. She struggled with depression after finding out that her father had infected her mother with HIV/AIDS. In a candid interview with Grace Msalame on NTV’s Unscripted with Grace, she revealed how she would bump into her father in town with different women and that he was also abusive to the mother. Her mother did not tell them that she was infected and went through severe depression without any help.
“She (mother) went into severe depression and got a nervous breakdown. So those are the things to date I still think about, she didn’t have to go through that. She would take medicine (ARVs) and say it was for the nervous breakdown. That’s what we knew,” she revealed.
It was not until she came across the medicine while cleaning her mother’s room that she discovered they were ARVs. Her mother passed away in 2013 and she did not speak to her father until 2015 when he was dying. It was at his deathbed that she told him she had forgiven him for all he had put them through.
Christine Njeri came into the limelight after getting the role of Makena in Tahidi High, a name that has stuck like glue over the years. She effortlessly executed this character and was just amazing on the screen, thus, it opened a lot of doors for her.
After leaving Tahidi High, she went on to become a producer as well as director. She was the producer of a famous NTV show known as Teen Republic. She then left to join BBC where she worked as a producer for 3 years.
“Every beautiful story has a beginning and a powerful ending. This has been my journey working at the Beeb for the last three years! I have been built as a journalist in a way I never imagined. Challenged to think different and talk to a global audience in every story I reported on,” she shared on Gram when she exited the station.
After leaving BBC, she is now running the Bold Network Africa, an organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. This organization aims to educate the society in Africa about the LGBTQ community through films, documentaries and training in a bid to end the constant discrimination of the queer community.
For a while, some social media users had been speculating about her sexuality and at one point even questioned her relationship with Michelle Ntalami.
Well, all those who were speculating can now relax as she has come out to proclaim that indeed she is gay.
“I remember for the first time in my life after very many years, I looked in a mirror and said to myself ‘I am gay, I am unique, and this is my truth,” she said.
In July 2019, an incident of her fighting with her gay partner was widely discussed on social media and she recounted almost sinking into depression. Valentine Nyokabi vandalised Makena’s Mercedes Benz with spray paint after finding out she was cheating on her with Ntalami. However, she decided to put on her smile and go on with life.
“Being a producer in the film and TV industry, I was constantly ridiculed for picking jobs that were supposed to be men producing jobs but yet as a woman, I wanted to do them,” she said. Next