Celebs who have openly talked about having parents/siblings with disability

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.

  1. Anne Ngugi

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.”

Anne Ngugi with her daughter and Lulu Hassan
Anne Ngugi with her daughter and Lulu Hassan

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She adds that

“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.”

2. Yvonne Okwara

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.”

yvonne-okwara

Adding that

“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.”

Adding that

“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”

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4. Henry Wanyoike

He is known for his love for athletics, having ran in so many races but it has not been easy for him.

Speaking about the day he lost his sight, Henry recollects how in March 1995 while he was having breakfast, numbness struck him.

One day in March 1995, Henry was having breakfast when a piece of ugali he was holding suddenly fell off his left hand, followed by crippling numbness on the same hand.

“I was confused and could only manage a stammer. I was scared.”

At the nearby Thogoto Mission Hospital, doctors could not find anything wrong with Henry. Doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital later discovered that Henry had suffered a stroke.
henry-wanyoike-650x350
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.

KTN News Anchor Yvonne Okwara Reveals The Struggle Of Growing Up With A Deafblind Big Brother

KTN news anchor Yvonne Okwara has revealed a very intimate part of her life that many people did not know about.

Yvonne has narrated about growing up with a deafblind big brother, Albert Okwara.

The moving story was posted on her Facebook.

Read what Yvonne wrote,

“2 years ago, True Love magazine asked me to be on their cover. Because, I tend keep my life private, I was a bit hesitant but went ahead anyway. Judith Mwobobia was quite the interviewer. It was her questions on my background, however, that I was not ready to deal with. Not that it has ever been a big secret, but everytime I have talked about it, I have earned pity, shame, endless questions about religion and traditional curses, and finally isolation. You see, my brother has a disability. Allow me to introduce you to him. Albert Okwara was born close to 50 years ago. He is deafblind. And yes, it is one word. Not deaf and blind! I talked to the True Love writer about this with no hesitation at all. It was refreshing and scary to say this on such a public platform. Had never been this open about it. What followed was great support from readers and also lots of people just thankful that someone else was living with this in the family and was speaking up about it. However, I wasn’t ready. Perhaps, selfishly so, based on past experience. I have grown a lot since then and appreciate the platform I have to speak up, share my (and my family’s) journey, if only to give someone hope. Let me start at the beginning.”

She continued, “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. His perception of the world has been through his primary caregiver, his mother. My mother! We have cared for him, fed him, clothed him and bathed him for close to 5 decades now. Today the round-the-clock care continues. Many times I have asked myself how different life would be if he had just one of the senses. What would he say to me? About my work? Life choices?

Wish he could have been the big brother to shield me from the bullies. Stand behind him when those people in my neighbourhood where I grew up said nasty things (you know who you are). Wished he could have walked me down the aisle. Instead, it was the other way around. I had to grow up fast. Be the ‘big sister’. I bathed him, clothed him and fed him and protected him from the world that has such high levels of ‘perfection’ that it shuns anyone who seems ‘less than perfect’. Sometimes I mourn my lost childhood but it was for a good cause. For a man who is a pure. For that is what Albert is. He has seen no evil, heard no evil and uttered no evil. Literally! His soul is pure. No ill will. No malice. And that is why I will fight to the death for him. Sacrifice everything for him.

It is my mother to whom I am forever grateful. She could have abandoned him. As some have done. She stayed with him. Nurtured him. Paid the price, sacrificed good jobs in the private sector, opting for a job in the civil service that had flexible hours to allow her care for ‘my son’ That is how she lovingly refers to him. She put all relationships aside because she did not want distractions from the job she believes was given to her by God! Through her I have seen the true meaning of unconditional love. You see it is hard to love someone who can’t show you the love in return. Hard to care for someone who can’t say thank you. But it is a most rewarding experience. My mother has done it without ever tiring! Ever complaining. So why am I speaking now? Because I hope my story will help someone. I don’t have a plan yet for how I am going to use my voice to speak for those who can’t but I am finally brave enough to start with this one step. To parents, siblings of persons with disability, stay the course. We have done it for 50 years. You can too. For those that judge mothers, walk a mile in their shoes first. To fathers who stand by their children with disability, I applaud you! For anyone who just wants to talk, I am here, if for nothing else, just to listen to you. I have been there, I know! For a start, in this new phase of my outreach, I have reached out to friends to help me. One such person is Daddy Owen. So join us on Saturday for the Malaika Awards that celebrates and honours those who are making a difference inspite of their challenges. It will be a celebration! Not a pity party!”