By Prudence Minayo
Wafirethi, real name Hanita Njoki Mwaniki, was a bullish character who played the wife of ‘Njoro’ in the popular Papa Shirandula comedy series that was aired on Citizen TV. The plus size actress reigned terror on her onscreen husband in what looked like a mismatched couple. Apart from acting, Wafirethi is a renowned MC.
She was born in 1985 (36 years as of 2021).
She is the first born in a family of three children, all girls. The actress describes her childhood as fun. In her admission, she was a tomboy growing up.
Her parents separated while they were quite young. She lost her mother at the young age of 9 and went to live with an uncle in Ngong while her siblings went to stay with their grandmother in Kibera. This was a difficult period for the sisters as they could only meet a few times. She then went to live with her aunt in Satellite Riruta where she attended primary school and then moved back to her uncle’s place when she joined high school.
It was not until she joined high school that she started embracing her feminine side. In her childhood, she never liked to put on skirts. To date, she has very few female friends as most of her friends are male.
Losing her sister and first meeting her father for the first time
Her sister, the second born, passed away leaving behind a child. Wafirethi met her father after she began appearing on TV. Although she says she has forgiven him, in a past interview she expressed her longing to ask him where he was when her mother and later her sister passed on. She wonders why he never bothered to look for them during all that time. She found out he remarried, moved to Ndeiya and had four other children.
Talking to eDaily about her relationship with her dad, the actress said:
“…..He lights up when he sees me. I forgave him because parents too can make mistakes. There are things that I have not gathered the courage to ask him. I just wish I’d be bold. The issues are like burning ulcers, I just have to speak out.”
I would want to ask him where was he when my mum passed on; where was he when my younger sister passed on?
Why did he not show up during my mum and sister’s burial? I would want to know what grudge caused such a rift between him and my mum – to an extent he did not even bury his daughter.
Apparently, he remarried and relocated to Ndeiya. He has four other children with my step mum”, she told the Royal Media Services owned blog.
The actress attended Ndararua Primary School in Riruta before proceeding to Masai Girls High School. Unfortunately, she dropped out of school due to lack of school fees. Looking back at her life, she wished she could have studied up to university and become a doctor.
She is a single mother to one daughter and also takes care of her sister’s child. Motherhood has taught her to provide for her children, good values and love.
The mother of one also revealed that before being fired she was helping out orphans. She appealed to Kenyans to help her build a home for them as seeing them suffer hurt her a lot.
The former Papa Shirandula actor developed the acting bug in high school. She received a number of awards in the music and drama competitions and was even appointed head of drama and music clubs.
Hanita was close friends with Kenneth Gichoya (Njoroge of Papa Shirandula) as they used to live in the same area in Ongata Rongai. He challenged her to audition for the show which she successfully did. She acted as the no nonsense wife of Njoroge in the series.
According to her, she was unceremoniously fired from the show, something that caused her to sink into financial difficulties.
“I wasn’t given a notice that as of this day, my services were no longer needed. It was abruptly stopped. It was very unfortunate as I had not planned for such an outcome,” she said on Hiram Maina’s YouTube Channel.
She used to be paid Ksh15,000 per episode and suddenly she was jobless. The 36-year-old said had she been given a notice she would have prepared herself.
Later, she got a role in a vernacular show that helped her with the bills.