By Prudence Minayo
Mwanaisha Chidzuga is a Kenyan Swahili journalist with years of experience in the industry. The well-spoken lady grew up in the Coastal region of Kenya. Even with her wealth of experience, the journalist was been shown the door by two media houses within a span of 5 years, first it was The Standard Media Group followed by Mediamax Limited.
She ventured into business and is to own a number of restaurants within Nairobi. The journalist has in the past advised those in employment to avoid being too attached to a company that is not their own but focus on building theirs.
Mwanaisha attended Ziwani Primary School and then joined Kenya High School, becoming the first girl from the area to join a national school.
Later, she joined Moi University, Nairobi campus for a BSc in Communication and Public relations.
After completing high school, she got a job at Pwani FM where she worked as a DJ and also as a news reporter. She got the job by chance after taking a friend for the interview only to be told to try out as well.
The Swahili reporter then got a job at Idhaa ya Kiswahili, a Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Station. Although she was not perfect, she got a chance to be trained by the veteran journalists in the industry, such as Leonard Mambo Mbotela, Khadija Ali, Zainab Azizi and Elizabeth Obege.
The talented reporter then moved to Standard Media Group’s KTN where she continued to blossom as an anchor and had the show ‘Maisha na Isha.’ According to an article by Business Today on 18th August 2015, she was called from the studio as she prepared for the afternoon ‘Maisha na Isha’ show and was given a redundancy later. Apparently, she had applied to get early retirement but instead Standard Media Group fired her and she just took the letter and left.
Later, she joined K24, a Mediamax owned station where she continued on as Swahili news anchor. Unfortunately, she was among the more than 100 employees who were retrenched by Mediamax after being deemed redundant late 2019. On 31st October 2019, she spoke of her departure from K24.
“For me K24 was part-time. I am a full time caterer and I own three restaurants. K24 was a hobby and I used to work like 12 hours the whole month. That was a side hustle, I have my main hustle and that is where my focus is. I am opening a new restaurant soon before the end of the year,” she said.
This was great for the journalist as media houses in Kenya are becoming increasingly unpredictable. There have been massive retrenchment in the media industry and even some very amazing journalists have not been spared.
In the wake of Covid-19, a lot of media houses have shown many journalists the door including Mediamax which fired a good number of its employees. Mwanaisha took to social media with great words of wisdom for those who had been laid off. This advice may not only apply to journalists but to so many out there working so hard to build the dream of other people.
She urged those in employment to use their positions to build themselves. In the long letter she wrote to herself in 2015, the journalist stated that “ Employment should be a #SIDEHUSTLE and your side hustle should be your FULL TIME JOB. Start over, invest in it, build it, take risks for it, lose sleep for it, get angry and furious for it, celebrate its success and failures because it has your DNA in it”, read part of the post.
She went on to nudge those who had been fired to “Go out there plant that seed, let God show you that he is the Almighty. He is in control. Safari ndefu huanza na hatua moja. Congratulations for your Job loss,” the post went on.
The former K24 reporter is married to Danson Mungatana and she revealed in a past interview with Radio Jambo that he had to work hard to get her attention.
“ He worked hard to get me, alitoa kijasho. Alinitafuta. Alitafuta simu yangu mpaka akaipata na kunipata haikua ati ‘ I love you,’ he worked hard to win me, to win my trust.’
Mungatana is a lawyer and a former Member of Parliament for Garsen. The two have four children.
Death of Mwanaisha Chidzuga’s mother
The former news anchor lost her mother Zainab Chidzuga on 12 August at the Nairobi Hospital where she was receiving treatment. The family matriarch served as Kwale Woman Rep between 2013 to 2017. Prior to this, she was served as an official of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO). Until her death, Zainabu was a board member at the National Oil Corporation parastatal.