WInternational marriage isn’t always filled with rolling R’s, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, blossoming roses and “until death do us part.” It also comes with heart-wrenching and, at times, heart-breaking realities that make us question our choices.
Mostly because foreign men don’t easily adapt to the Kenyan way of doing things. Not entirely their fault, mostly junguz want to run things like they do back home hence stepping a toe here and there. Secondly, society isn’t always tolerant. And no matter your status in the society even before the man you will always be remembered either as either Bibi ya mzungu ama bibi ya mnaija ama wherever your spouse comes from.
Ebu let me just share examples of some of the untold challenges through examples…..
Andrew White and Joy Mboya
Andrew White came to Kenya over 20 years ago and in the fullness of time, became one of the best ad men, creating memorable commercials for Trust condoms. In particular, the one of an umbrella being sheathed with a condom during a downpour.
White was at some point the second largest shareholder of Scanad Group until he offloaded a substantial stake and opened his own agency.
He also married famed musician Joy Mboya who runs the GoDown Arts Centre.
White was in the news over allegations of attempts on his life by a hitman hired by politician Betty Tett to eliminate him after he took most of the ad jobs that were done by Betty’s agency.
Weh! Ebu just imagine the heart ache? Knowing that someone might shoot the man of your dreams?
Ruth Konchellah and Michael Ranneberger
Do you guys remember when Former Lurambi MP, then a labour MP, Newton Kulundu spent like 10 minutes lecturing former US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger during some event? Insinuating he was a ‘coloniser’? Eish the heat.
Then after a while he launched some direct deals with Kenyan youths to avoid funds being ‘gobbled’ up by greedy mpigs? He had zero chills for corruption. At one point he even denied corrupt MPs visas to the US. Alafu Moses Wetangula was Foreign affairs minister back then. Wueh!
Anyway, he only served in Kenya for only five years to 2011. But this was enough time for him to find love and get married. The American who was heavily involved in Kenya and Somalia relations, married his long-time Kenyan girlfriend, Ruth Konchellah in a low-key civil ceremony at the Attorney-General’s Chambers in Nairobi four years ago.
The former US diplomat had publicly admitted to being in love with Konchellah, a charity worker he met while on official duty to Trans Mara in the early days of his diplomatic tour.
“While attending a women’s rights event in a small village of Enoosen in Trans Mara, I was impressed by the way she talked on behalf of women. I took notice. At a personal level, I have been fortunate to become a king to a certain lady, and she became a queen to me. That, to me, is a very fulfilling experience…these things happen. Opportunities come by and one can only be grateful when these things happen that way,” Ranneberger is quoted as saying at the time.
Ebu imagine the pressure this woman lived through? Wondering if ozband can be maliswad ‘Father John Kaiser style’!
Joyce and Bill Lay
I write about Joyce, not because her husband was threatened but because she will always be remember as the woman who was/is married to him.
Imagine even after making a name in politics! This world is not fair to women.
What’s confusing is? Are they still married? At some point they got divorced “citing “irreconcilable differences.” Then I saw them at a campaign together. But that is none of our businesses. Relationships are not a walk on the park. Wueh! Hata usijaribu kujudge!
Bob Collymore and Wambui Kamiru
Aki Wambui is a strong woman. Do you guys remember when rumours emerged that she had split from her hubby and was dating Bob? Ati and they had twins with the hubby?
Incase you forgot, Wambui Kamiru is the founder of The Art Space. According to her blog, the woman who studied African history at Cambridge University says The Art Space, is an independent commercial art gallery on Nairobi’s Riverside Drive where works themed along colonialism, identity and uhuru in Africa find a home (and buyers). But no, people don\t even care about such achievements. Ni mucene medire!
Yet she is the first local woman who’s an artist and gallery owner the others like the late Ruth Schaffner of the defunct Gallery Watatu, having been a foreigners while the likes of Elimo Njau of Paa Ya Paa Art Gallery and Shine Tani of Banana Hill Art Gallery, are men.
I first wrote this article when I worked for the Nairobian. Totally re written but it’s worth mentioning.