Women Bankrolling Kenyan Media Stations

  • From left: Media owners Rose Kimotho, Kawira Mwangaza and Carole Mandi
    From left: Media owners Rose Kimotho, Kawira Mwangaza and Carole Mandi
    Twitter
  • The media industry, like any other business, requires resilience, hard work, and innovation.

    Although men have traditionally dominated the media business, Kenyan women have not been left behind as the number of women who have established their own media stations increases by the day. 

    Here are some of the women behind some of the leading media houses in the country.  

    Rose Kimotho

    Rose Kimotho is the Managing Director and Founder of Three Stones Limited, the company that operates 3 Stones TV and the first free-to-air digital television channel broadcasting in the Kikuyu-language. 

    Rose Kimotho
    Stones TV Managing director Rose Kimotho
    Twitter

    Prior to launching Three Stones, she founded and was the Managing Director of Regional Reach Limited, a company that launched Kameme FM in 1999 and K24 TV television channel in 2007. 

    She started the first contemporary FM station in Kenya amid tough opposing battles with the then President Moi’s government.

    She was awarded Moran of the Burning Spear (M.B.S.) by President Mwai Kibaki in December 2003.

    Kawira Mwangaza

    Baite TV is a Kenyan free-to-air television channel owned by Meru Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza and her husband Murega Baicu, who is the manager.

    Started in 2014, the station has a full line-up of locally-produced programmes that are broadcast in the Meru/Kiswahili language.

    The couple takes on several roles at the station, and together they host 'Baite Family Sunday Live Service' every Sunday, with Murega, an astute guitar player, delivering music and sermons, and Kawira often preaching as well.

    Meru Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza
    Meru Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza
    Facebook

    Murega also hosts various programs on the show, including a news bulletin covering various happenings in Meru County. On occasion, Mwangaza appears on-air by herself, particularly when she has a point to make.

    Carole Mandi

    In 2010, Carole Mandi, who was then a writer at True Love magazine decided to bid for the magazine franchise as the parent company opted to shut down its operations in Kenya.

    The media personality set up Carole Mandi Media Limited (CMML), and together with her husband raised capital from their savings and literally bought off her employer!

    Months after the magazine was pulled off the market, Carole relaunched True Love and Drum magazines.

    Publisher and owner of Carole Mandi Media Ltd Carole Mandi
    Publisher and owner of Carole Mandi Media Ltd Carole Mandi
    Facebook

    "It was so much more personal because it was my money. I wasn’t gambling with someone else’s money. I had to be a lot more prudent, and became sharper on the business side of things,” she explained. 

    True Love East Africa is distributed in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, and can be purchased at all major supermarkets, other retail outlets, and magazine stands.

    Eunice Mathu - Parents Magazine

    Starting off at Nation Media Group as a features writer after completing university in 1975, Eunice Mathu decided to set up Parents Africa magazine in 1986. 

    More than 35 years later, the magazine is still in production making it the longest-running print magazine in Kenya.

    I take pride in saying that Parents is the one that opened the space for people to talk about relationships and especially about sex matters,” she stated in a previous interview.

    Founder and editor-in-chief of Parents Africa magazine Eunice Mathu
    Founder and editor-in-chief of Parents Africa magazine Eunice Mathu
    Twitter

    Parents magazine has bagged a number of awards including the Superbrand status in 2007/2008 and was nominated again in 2009/2011.

    Mathu has also been awarded the order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW) Presidential Award.

    Purity Ngirici

    Kikuyu radio station Iganjo FM and TV station Mt Kenya TV are jointly owned by Kirinyaga woman representative Purity Ngirici and her husband Andrew Ngirichi.

    Mt Kenya TV, is asserting itself in the industry, offering competition to well-established houses. 

    In September 2018, it poached presenters, producers and editors from Royal Media Services and Mediamax.

    a
    Billionaire Andrew Ngirici and his wife Purity Ngirici, Kirinyaga Women Representative address a gathering on Thursday, October 8, 2020
    File

    Maria Mbeneka

    In addition to serving as the first lady of Laikipia county, Maria Mbekena is also Chair and Director of Ghetto Radio 89.5 FM which broadcasts in sheng station offering news, views and entertainment to an audience mainly based in low-income and informal settlements.

    “I represented two artists in court and one was working for Ghetto radio. The station was under a trustee at the time and they were impressed with the work that I did and I was brought on board to join legal advisory,” she stated in a previous interview.

    First lady of Laikipia County Maria Mbeneka
    First lady of Laikipia County Maria Mbeneka
    Twitter

    Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu 

    The Kitui governor owns Mbaitu FM as well as  Syokimau FM, which is Mbaitu's sister radio station which serves Kitui, Makueni and parts of Machakos counties.

    Kitui governor Charity Ngilu during the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting in Mombasa on January 25, 2020.
    Kitui governor Charity Ngilu during the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting in Mombasa on January 25, 2020.
    Twitter