If you wanted to katia Wanjiku Mburu, better known as Mama Baha on Machachari, in high school-you had your work cut out for you.
In an exclusive interview with Citizen Digital, the soft-spoken artist recounts how she gave teenage suitors a hard time when she attended Loreto Kiambu High School.
“Men got tired of hitting on me (in high school). I wasn’t into dating; I just wanted friends; niliwaona tu kama maboi,” revealed the self-proclaimed tomboy.
Those who were smitten by her would write romantic missives, sending them by Posta.
“When they sent me the letters, I would stock them until school holiday (sic). I’d get home and report (the boys) to my brother. He would advise me to reply; I surely got disappointed at his suggestion.”
Looking back, Wanjiku laughs at herself.
“I still have some of the letters, when I read through them, I burst into laughter – I just wonder how foolish I was.”
The actress recalls young men getting used to her tomboy nature, and even welcoming her to sit among them for a chat.
“I had no problem sitting in the bus with close to 79 boys just storytelling. The good thing about being where boys were many (sic) is that one hardly hit on me. Even if he started, I’d get offended and tell him: “wewe ni nini tena hizi unaniambia? Hatuwezi ishi na amani (What are you telling me, can’t we just have a chat in peace?”
Though she could not make heads or tails of her own love life, the Ongata Rongai-born actress would play ‘Dr. Love’ for her friends.
“Love wasn’t making any sense to me at that time. However, I used to write letters for other girls because I had a fairly good handwriting and good experience with boys – so I knew how to flatter them (men). Our brother school was Kiambu High School,” she added.
Besides her tomboy nature which she says was cultivated by her brothers, her mum’s advice also played a big role in influencing how she behaved in presence of men.
“Madhee alikuwa ameweka the fear of the Lord mbele – aliniambia nikishika mwanaume mkono nitashika mimba… (Mum had told me if I happen to hold a man’s hand, I’d get pregnant) So, I was scared. I could only greet them using a fist,” she joked.
She wasn’t bullied
Bullying was rampant in secondary schools, with Form One students being the main victims of ‘monolisation’.
Attending secondary school at a time bullying was the order of the day was a terrifying experience for ‘monos’. However, that was not the case for Wanjiku.
“I was tall and huge, hence wasn’t bullied. Actually, my fellow students looked up to me. I would keep to myself a lot; and only be out there for drama, music, dance…,” she recounts.
Despite Wanjiku having physical advantage over her colleagues, she respected and treated them well.
“We were easy. If they needed something – for example, advice – I would be there for them. I was also very close to the teachers and very mature for my age. I thus ended up being a counselor,” she said.