Little-Known Producer Behind Citizen TV's Mother in Law, Tahidi High Shows

  • Photo collage between Mother-in-law actress and Tahidi High actors
    Photo collage between Mother-in-law actress and Tahidi High actors
    Citizen TV
  • Tahidi High and Mother-in-law are arguably some of the most entertaining TV shows produced in Kenya. The two shows, which aired on Citizen TV for over ten years combined, kept Kenyans entertained and intrigued.

    However, little information is known about the woman behind the two programmes, having founded and pitched them to Citizen TV. The brain behind the shows is Catherine Wamuyu.

    Before joining Citizen TV, Wamuyu had a stint at the government-owned broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) , having joined it in 1991 after completing her studies.

    Wamuyu, who went to Gatondo Secondary School in Nyeri for her O-levels and Mugoiri High School for her A-levels, left KBC in October 2005 for Citizen TV.

    File Photo of Catherine Wamuyu while still working for KBC
    File Photo of Catherine Wamuyu while still working for KBC
    File

    Wamuyu was trained as a producer at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC). She narrated that her admission to the institution was due to her honesty during the interview.

    "I told them that I had asked all through the village for someone to tell me but no one had ever encountered a TV producer and therefore, I did not know that such people existed and what they were doing," she stated during a past media interview.

    At KBC, she produced a programme that focused on highlighting social issues.

    "I ran a programme on KBC, In Search of an Answer, which dealt with social issues. Over time, however, I felt that it was not doing enough to enable the public to engage with problems around us. I thought drama would be more effective," Wamuyu stated.

    Wamuyu's first drama series hit the screens in 2003 and went on till she left KBC in 2005. 

    At Citizen TV, Wamuyu pitched for a new programme, Tahidi High. The SK Macharia-owned station gave her a nod to produce the show. She started with just one cameraman and with a budget of less than Ksh40,000.

    "When we began, I was doing almost everything; lighting, makeup, editing scripts, casting, labelling tapes, directing, and even producing," she stated.

    At first, during Tahidi High production, she would go to the lengths of asking the crew to contribute Ksh250 monthly for miscellaneous expenses.

    "I used to carry curtains from home to use for blacking out and would ask crew members to come with things we needed for the set. Another person would come with a duvet, chair and cutlery," she stated in a past interview.

    She received support from the station which eventually saw her production quality go up.

    Her exemplary performance in production has seen her feted by several organisations. In 2009, she won the Kalasha Award as the best producer for both Tahidi High and Mother in Law.

    On Thursday, March 10, she bagged an award during the Women in Film gala.

    However, despite all her wins, she has also had moments of controversy. In 2008 Tahidi High featured devil worshipping in school attracting uproar from the public and even landing in Parliament where it was discussed by the Legislators. The lawmakers even threatened to ban the programme.

    In a past interview, Wamuyu also added that some parents called in complaining that Tahidi High was misleading.

    "We do not mislead children, we actually open the eyes of parents to the real life issues their children are dealing with in school," she remarked.

    Her stellar career at Royal Media Services has earned her the supervising producer role at Inooro TV.  

    The holder of Masters Degree in Film Studies from Kenyatta University and Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Nairobi, believes that local programming is far from achieving its full potential as compared to other countries.

    File photo of Catherine Wamuyu producer for Tahidi High and Mother-in-law of Citizen TV
    File photo of Catherine Wamuyu producer for Tahidi High and Mother-in-law of Citizen TV
    File