7 Media Shy Wives of Kenyan Billionaires

From left to right: Zahra Moi, Manda Shah and Jane Wangui
From left to right: Zahra Moi, Manda Shah and Jane Wangui

In life, most people aspire to work hard and bask in the glory of their success. However, only a few make it to the upper class, perceived as a section reserved for the top one percent. 

Some Kenyan tycoons have, over the years, exhibited grit and determination as a testament to their sheer effort and grind. While others bask in the limelight, the majority tend to keep their families, and in particular their wives, of the public limelight. 

As they say, behind the success of every man there is a woman but in retrospect, the likes of Royal Media Services (RMS) boss Samuel Kamau Macharia, KANU party leader Gideon Moi have managed to keep their wives off the media.

However, on a number of occasions, they have stepped into the limelight. Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at seven media-shy wives who operate behind the scenes. 

Manu Chandaria and his wife during their wedding at the AG's Sheria House Office in 2019
Manu Chandaria and his wife Aruna during their wedding at the AG's Sheria House Office in June 2019.
Manu Chandaria

Aruna Chandaria

Billionaire and philanthropist Manu Chandaria, and his partner, Aruna Chandaria, have lived together for over 64 years - after the duo got married in 1955 in Mombasa County. 

Over the years, the pair has risen to become one of Kenya's power couples setting the standards in terms of business as well as relationships. 

Aruna is a trustee of the Chandaria Foundation as well as a recipient of the 2012 Philanthropist Award alongside her husband for their humanitarian efforts. She also engages in social work with the Red Cross and Indian Women's Association. 

During a past media interview, Manu detailed that at one time, he had to import a Rolls Royce from South Africa for his wife upon request. 

Jane Wangui

Jane Wangui, the wife to business mogul James Mwangi, has managed to keep a low profile over the years. She was placed among the wealthiest women with a net worth of over Ksh3 billion. 

Wangui is reported to have Ksh3.7 billion worth of shares at the bank where her husband serves as CEO. She also runs an investment company called Filimbi Limited. 

She has also invested in other sectors such as real estate and hospitality.

Sadhna Thakrar

Thakrar is the wife of former WPP Scan group CEO Bharat Thakrar. She is the owner of Naiya Indian fashions - a one-stop shop for women's clothing. 

Reports indicated that Bharat made his wife a co-owner in the blue-chip company valued at over Ksh2 billion. The pair held a 13.8 percent stake in the firm. 

Zahra Moi

KANU party leader Gideon Moi's wife, Zahra Moi, has managed to steer away from the limelight in the recent past. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the United States of International University (USIU) with a Degree in Business Administration. 

In 2016, she was appointed to the Tourism Research Institute board and re-appointed to the same position in 2019. She is the Chief Executive of the award-winning Lord Erroll Gourmet Restaurant.

She is also the vice-chairman of the Lelgoi Group- which deals in various sectors ranging from Agriculture, Property development, aviation, hospitality and renewable energy. 

Manda Shah

Described as the force behind Bidco Oil refineries chairman, Vimal Shah, Manda is no stranger to success herself. She has rubbed shoulders with the who's who in the country. Her husband has amassed a fortune estimated at Ksh182 billion according to Forbes Magazine.

In 2013, he was declared the 18th richest man in Africa- a tremendous feat achieved by a Kenyan. During a past media interview, she entailed how she had to quit her job at an insurance company in order to support her husband who resigned as the company's CEO in 2017 in order to serve as its chairman.  

Zarin Merali

She is the widow of the late tycoon, Naushad Merali who had interests in various sectors of the Kenyan company. It is reported that Zarin gained Ksh214 million after she took over Naushad's stake at a bank where the Kenyatta family has interests. 

The rise in share price was attributed to investors seeking a stake in the company after the release of the firm's financial results in the first half of 2021. 

Purity Gathoni Macharia

Gathoni, as she is popularly known, managed to shy off the limelight unlike her husband, RMS boss SK Macharia. The businesswoman has only been spotted on a few occasions at gatherings and events alongside her husband. 

Last year, she surprised her husband with a birthday celebration as he turned 79 years old. Notable personalities such as Lands Cabinet Secretary, Farida Karoney, RMS Managing Director Wachira Waruru as well as family and close friends gathered around their Runda mansion showering the business mogul with praise.

She gifted SK Macharia a brand new black Range Rover Vogue that is estimated to cost Ksh18 million exclusive of taxes. 

Gathoni works at RMS where she deputizes her husband as RMS Vice-Chairperson. 

Citizen TV owner SK Macharia (left) and his wife Purity Gathoni
Citizen TV owner SK Macharia (left) and his wife Purity Gathoni