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Top Kenyan Celebrities With Malawian Roots

Africa should ideally be one of its not for the borders that separate a people with so much in common. Kenyan President William Ruto has been on the forefront of abolishing visa requirements for Africans. 

Interestingly, Kenya has a good number of celebrities and other high profile individuals who have roots in other African countries. 

WoK takes a look at the two celebrities with Malawian roots.

Leonard Mambo Mbotela 

It goes without saying that this was the greatest voice on radio for a long time until age would not allow him to continue. The 83 year old was born in Mombasa and went on to work at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) then known as Voice of Kenya (VoK) from 1964 until his retirement. 

Mambo Mbotela‘s great-grandfather hailed from a clan known as Yao in Central Malawi. Mbotela Senior, born around 1865, found himself in Kenya after he was captured by slave traders and put on a ship to be sold in Europe. 

According to Mbotela, the ship with human cargo was intercepted in Zanzibar by the anti-slavery team and re-routed to Freretown in Mombasa. 

His grandfather and other slaves were freed and given a place to call home. He had the option of going back to his motherland but it was risky to take the voyage back to Malawi. 

Mbotela was named ‘Mambo’ by his parents because he was very talkative.

Victoria Rubadiri

The Citizen TV news anchor grandfather, James David Rubadiri, was the vice Chancellor of Malawi University. He was a celebrated Malawian poet whose literary works included Poems from East Africa, No bride price, come to tea and An African Thunderstorm.

Victoria shared how her grandfather assumed the name Rubadiri

“ what happened is that my grandfather was taken as a slave to Omani. When he came back to Malawi of course he had converted to Islam and would pray five times a day, very staunch Muslim so his fellow villagers wondered what he was saying because he was praying in Arabic. So they would imitate him make fun of him and say aaaam rubadiri am rubadiri. So he liked it and noted that he would take up that name” Said Victoria.