By Faith Nyambeki
Kenyans of Asian origin are generally well mannered if not conservative. This extends to those we consider celebrities like Smriti Vidyarthi Mohindra. Unlike her counterparts in the media, the NTV prime time news anchor has shied away from controversy and continues to maintain high standards of professionalism. She has been reading news for the past 14 years with Mark Masai, before he was fired.
Smriti’s family has been in the media world long before she was born and Kenya gained her independence. Here is her story as told by WoK.
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Age And Meaning of her name
She was born on 2nd, January but her year of birth remains unclear. The news anchor was miffed in 2018 when her name became the butt of jokes on the Churchill Show. She went on to clarify the meaning of her name “Smriti” (that which will be remembered) and Vidyarthi (means scholar). She warned Kenyans not to mock her name.
Smriti’s father Anil Vidyarthi is the director at Colourprint that printed the Finance, The Nairobi Law Monthly, The People and Society-publications that were deemed anti-establishment- during the politically charged 90s. Like his father before him, Anil was detained and charged with sedation in 1998 but later acquitted.
Sedition laws were also squashed. Smriti’s grandfather Girdhari L. Vidyarthi was a co-founder of Colonial Times-an English and Gujarati newspaper. In 1935, he launched Habari za Dunia, the first privately owned newspaper in Kenya.
His freedom of thought put him in trouble with the colonial masters when he highlighted the plight of Africans soldiers returning from World War 2. For this, Girdhari was charged with sedition earning him a place in history as the first publisher in Kenya to face such charges.
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The news anchor has chewed books in some of the best universities in the world. Vidyarthi holds a BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick (UK) and a Masters Degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University (UK).
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Like her father, a more moderate Smirthi joined the media with her first station of work being K24 where she was a Business News Anchor. In 2008, she joined NTV as a prime time news anchor and host of NTV Wild Talk, a program on wildlife and conservation. She has moderated for the International Press Institute. Smirti was announced the winner in the 2015 Media Council of Kenya’s 4th Annual Journalism Excellence Awards [AJEA] News Bulletin Category beating Ali Khamis Manzu who was 1st Runners Up and Annette Akisa Wandera who was the 2nd Runners Up [Ebru TV].
The CNN Journalism Fellow is married to Aman Mohindra. The two tied the knot in 2009 and welcomed their first child in 2018.
Partnered with Mark Masai
She read the prime time news with Mark Masai for the past 14 years. She took to twitter to share this message a day after her colleague was fired.
— Smriti Vidyarthi (@SmritiVidyarthi) December 5, 2022