Disability is frowned upon in the African setting but these celebrities have broken the stigmatization by talking about it in public.
Hard as it may be, they have opened about having disabled children or siblings some even parents, narrating how the journey has been.
Media personality Anne Ngugi has a daughter who is battling hydrocephalus. Speaking about it she says
“She understands she is different from other kids. When we go out to mentor people, she is able to express herself very well. As a mother, my dream is to see her stand strong on her own, even when I am not there, and never allow anyone to point fingers at her, telling her she is different. Raising a child with special needs has not been easy for Anne, but she does not complain about it.”
“Sometimes you go to places with her and that is when I feel the weight that she is different from others but for her, Angel has developed a thick skin and, therefore, she copes. I have always accepted because I know there is always a reason.
You have to accept the fact that your child is special and start looking for solutions, as well as try so hard to love that child because no one will love your child more than you.”
Yvonne recently lost her brother who was deafblind almost all his life. In a previous interview she opened up about it saying that
“In the 60s, while expectant, my mother contracted German Measles. It has no symptoms. By the time she was giving birth to her first born son, there were complications. Mental retardation, and deafblindness started to set in.
She tried everything, no door was unknocked, multiple surgeries, consultations. She talked to every doctor in the country. All of them, including, the professors, told her they had travelled far and wide and had NEVER seen anyone like my brother.
That he would not live beyond his 5th birthday. Or his 10th. Nor his 12th. Albert Okwara is still here! 50 years later! What a journey it has been.”
“Friends have fallen along the way, those that could make the choice did so and exited our lives. Called it a curse. To the entire community! I won’t name names but he knows himself!
The world of disability is a lonely one! The road has been lined with tears, pain, dashed hopes. But it has also had wonderful lessons that have made me who I am today! Let me explain, Albert is deafblind. He does not see, speak or hear.”
3. Emmy Kosgei
Female artiste Emmy Kosgei is another Kenyan celebrity who has openly talked about having a family member battling disability.
Emmy’s dad is bound to a wheel chair after his limbs were affected by polio years ago.In an earlier post the artiste expressed her amazement at the fact that her mum over looked her dad’s disability .
She says that
“My mum is my inspiration, I have grown to see my mum achieve much having brought us up having been married to my dad who is physically challenged.
I am still amazed at how she was able to overlook my dad’s physical disabilities , and marry him even with the pressure from the society and his family on what she had seen in such a man.”
“She married him and she has stood by him even as he studied at the university, we were also in school but she has been there through it all”
That was the beginning of his ordeal. One day, Henry woke up to his mother’s loud shouts. She was wondering why he had overslept, forgetting to milk the cows. Henry remembers:
“We argued with mum. I tried to tell her it was still dark while she insisted that the sun was up. I reached for the light switch but couldn’t see anything and concluded there was a power blackout. Mum thought I was just being lazy.”
Soon, his mother realized that her son was not putting on a show and they went back to Thogoto Hospital.
Several tests revealed that he had lost his sight and that nothing could be done to reverse the condition. At 21, Henry had become blind.
“I got into a depression,” says Henry.
5 .DJ Pinye
In Daddy Owen’s music video ‘Mbona’ in collabo with Denno, Pinye talks about having a brother who is epileptic.
The next time you want to give up just think about what the people above and a million others go through everyday, and be encouraged.
BBC presenter Anne Ngugi became a mother in 2004, but her experience was complicated by the fact her daughter Angel had a birth defect called congenital hydrocephalus.
Angel is now a teenager. Besides being a pupil, she is a talented singer and recently released a song called Tuko Sawa, meaning we are all the same before the eyes of God.
It is a collaboration with a girl who became blind while growing up. “They teamed up to tell the world what they go through and remind them that ‘wako sawa’. It is a song I am sure every youth is gonna embrace and love,” Anne told Word Is.
The mother of four, currently working at BBC, said it has been amazing raising her teenage daughter.
“Raising a teenager is amazing, especially because my daughter can now make her decisions. We have always been friends apart from the mother-daughter relationship, so she understands me even when I am quiet and I, too, understand her so well,” Anne said.
She is working with her daughter to ensure she becomes independent.
“I have learnt to respect her space and the kind of girl she is growing to be, and I have allowed her to talk and express herself. I don’t want to be this kind of a mother who always assigns. It has been great because she understands she is different from other kids. When we go out to mentor people, she is able to express herself very well. As a mother, my dream is to see her stand strong on her own, even when I am not there, and never allow anyone to point fingers at her, telling her she is different.” Raising a child with special needs has not been easy for Anne, but she does not complain about it.
“Sometimes you go to places with her and that is when I feel the weight that she is different from others but for her, Angel has developed a thick skin and, therefore, she copes. I have always accepted because I know there is always a reason. It fell on me so I decided instead of complaining and weeping about it, I’d rather start mentoring people with her story because people outside here have children with special needs and do not know what to do. So we stand in that gap and remind them that we are making it, despite her condition.”
Anne’s message to parents with special kids is, “You have to accept the fact that your child is special and start looking for solutions, as well as try so hard to love that child because no one will love your child more than you.”