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Being a celebrity in this age of keyboard-happy Twitter trolls and clickbait bloggers is a constant struggle. Just ask our Kenyan celebrities and public figures who are constantly warding off KOT or waking up to controversial headlines. Now step outside that world and take a peek into the other side of being a celebrity, which the media seldom tells you about.

Stori Yangu, the first docu-series of its kind in Kenya, goes beyond the headlines and digs deeper into the lives of well-known Kenyan personalities to bring you the never-heard-before stories that made them the success stories they are today. Don’t miss their inspirational journey; Stori Yangu S1 is now streaming on Showmax.

Watch now »

Created by Chris Sang and his team, who also brought us Our Perfect Wedding (also streaming on Showmax), Stori Yangu reveals everything we didn’t know about our celebrities – from their struggles to heartbreaks to the decisions that shaped them. Let’s take a look at our top 5 from Season 1

1. Caroline Mutoko

The conversations of our time. Without filters 😉 Check out my YouTube channel.

3,169 Likes, 51 Comments – Caroline Mutoko (@caroline.mutoko) on Instagram: “The conversations of our time. Without filters 😉 Check out my YouTube channel….”

Many have tried but no one can dethrone Caroline Mutoko from her title as Queen of Radio. A no-nonsense media personality, Mutoko has ruffled many feathers with her no-holds-barred conversations, refusing to be bullied into silence by Kenya’s high and mighty and Twitter trolls alike. When she’s not being a Youtuber and motivational speaker, Mutoko is one of the judges of local entrepreneurship show BYOB.

A few things you didn’t know about her:
  • Her first salary was Ksh1 700, which she earned working at a shop in Baricho Road, Industrial Area – a job her mum made her go out and get.
  • She got into radio by randomly making a call to Capital FM and leaving a voicemail for radio icon Phil Matthews.

2. Jeff Koinange

Rise & Shine, Rise & Shine…….Gmorming from the Grand Rotana in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt…..Day 2 of the #businessInAfrica2017 High Level Summit…… Twende Kazi Twende Kazi….

5,457 Likes, 45 Comments – Jeff Koinange, MBS (@koinangejeff) on Instagram: “Rise & Shine, Rise & Shine…….Gmorming from the Grand Rotana in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt…..Day 2…”

Jeff Koinange has the voice of the gods, a man so renowned for his voice that he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Breaking News Story for his 2005 coverage of the famine in Niger. When he’s not fighting off haters on Twitter (because team KOT doesn’t sleep), Jeff hosts his show Jeff Koinange Live on Citizen TV and a morning radio show with Jalang’o on HOT 96.

A few things you didn’t know about him:
  • While in high school, he wrote a play – It’s Only a Matter of Time – based on Steve Biko’s life. It won first place at the Kenya Drama Festival.
  • He was the valedictorian at Kingsborough Community College, with a 4.0 GPA, before he was awarded a scholarship to NYU.

3. John Kiarie

John Kj Kiarie on Twitter

With life experiences of a soul that is over 80 and a body that feels not a year older than 26, 40 is indeed amazing!

John Kiarie, popularly known as KJ, is a man of many talents – politician, comedian, advertising guru and cartoonist. Now a Member of Parliament for Dagoretti South constituency, Kiarie (alongside comedians Nyambane and Tony Njuguna) revolutionised the sketch comedy industry in Kenya with their hit comedy Redykulas, which boldly ridiculed the ruling class.

A few things you didn’t know about him:
  • After his mother and brother committed suicide (at different times in his life), he channeled all his pain into art and cartoon drawing, a hobby that earned him his first job and column – Head on Corrishon.
  • He first got his comedy gig (and subsequent standing ovation) by curtain-raising for hip hop group Kalamashaka as a student at Kenyatta University.

4. Size 8

The bible says “Don’t be anxious of anything but in everything in prayer and suplication and thanks giving make you request know to God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will come upon you.” This means never worry or be anxious just take it to the Lord in prayer trust that God will do it. And just relax and be happy. You just start dancing 💃💃💃💃💃💃 Shoes by @emirates_shoes_collection Pic by @sidartmedia

11.7k Likes, 60 Comments – Size 8 Reborn (@size8reborn) on Instagram: “The bible says “Don’t be anxious of anything but in everything in prayer and suplication and thanks…”

Other than being the mother to one of the most famous babies in Kenya, with more Instagram follows than all my friends’ combined, Size 8 is also the most energetic person you’ll ever meet. Size 8 has proven that turning to gospel music could be the best thing to ever happened to a singer. With hits like Mateke and Afadhali Yesu, we are always ready for what she releases next.

A few things you didn’t know about her:
  • When she was at State House Girls, she got a full scholarship to the prestigious Hillcrest School because of her talent in drama.
  • Her first major acting gig was a small scene alongside Lupita Nyong’o in Shuga. You can spot her as one of the candidates fighting for a spot at Maverick ad agency in the first season of Shuga; S1-5 is now streaming on Showmax.

5. Bahati

#Zanzibar💧About to Drop Another One🔥 ….. Simply Dial *811*162#

12.4k Likes, 123 Comments – Bahati (@bahatikenya) on Instagram: “#Zanzibar💧About to Drop Another One🔥 ….. Simply Dial *811*162#”

One of the most celebrated gospel music artists of our generation, Bahati has ruled the airwaves with award-winning hits such as Mama and Barua. The latter earned him three Groove awards in 2015. Often painted by the blogs as one of the most controversial gospel musicians in Kenya, Bahati gets a chance on Stori Yangu to narrate his own story from humble beginnings in Mathare slums to the influential young man he is today, a success he has achieved in just three years.

A few things you didn’t know about him:
  • He was blacklisted by big artists and producers because of his persistent calls before producer R.Kay gave him his first shot to stardom.
  • He is the first gospel artist to ever be featured in Coke Studio Africa.
  • Rather than end up 0n the streets, he joined a children’s home just so he could have access to education and food.

Other notable personalities to catch on Stori Yangu S1 include Idah Odinga (activist and wife to Raila Odinga), gospel artists Daddy Owen and Gloria Muliro, songtress Nyota Ndogo, legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino, veteran genge artist Juacali, media personality Big Ted and actor/comedian Papa Shirandula.

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About the author

Jennifer Ochieng

I'm a Kenyan creative writer with eight years' experience in both the SEO and entertainment industries. I like writing stories about people I've met, but mostly about those I see on TV. Sometimes, when I'm melancholic, I write poetry as well. Visit author's website

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