Looking back at the difficult moments of the year 2023

Bwire Ndubi and Dan Sonko

Bwire Ndubi and Dan Sonko had planned to have a daughter this year and name her Diamond, but that did not happen.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Dan Sonko remembers how 2023 kicked off with positive energy, but his dream to spend the rest of his life with Ms Bwire Ndubi hit a snag along way.
  • Sonko acknowledges the challenges of being a caregiver and the toll it took on him, both physically and mentally.  

The year 2023 has been a mixed bag of trials and fortunes and as it draws to a close, echoes of unfulfilled expectations resonate in the hearts of many who had been eagerly anticipating significant life moments before the year’s end. 

Mombasa-based actor Dan Sonko and his now ex-lover Bwire Ndubi planned to welcome a baby girl and name her Diamond. But that dream did not come to fruition this year.

“We are dreamers. We even knew how we wanted our dream house to look like. We had designed it already,” he says. 

Dan Sonko remembers how 2023 kicked off with exciting prospects and positive energy, but as fate would have it, his dream to spend the rest of his life with Ms Bwire hit a snag along way when she was diagnosed with cancer.

This cast a shadow over Sonko and Ndubi’s aspirations and in a heartfelt conversation with Satmag, Sonko recounts the heart-wrenching discovery of his ex-lover’s diagnosis with Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a rare form of breast cancer.

“I ended the relationship, first for Bwire (his wife), but also for my children. We did not want a scenario where we would get so far trying to fight this thing and everyone knows where the cancer journey ends,” he candidly explained. 

Dan’s first wife Dru died in 2017, days after giving birth to their second-born child. Faced with the prospect of losing a second wife, Sonko made the difficult decision to call off their relationship, prioritising the well-being of his children and his mental health.

“Children have a different way of understanding death. I didn’t want them to go that direction. We are not saying that she is dying, but there’s just that risk factor.”

The couple treated the separation as a break, a period for self-discovery and personal growth. 

“She was going through something and I was also going through something. I had some personal struggles because for me, I was seeing death in her journey. I had questions and I was asking God, ‘This is [wife] number two and you want to take her away from me, what is going on? It affected me physically and mentally. It was a strain.”

Dan Sonko and Bwire Ndubi.

Photo credit: Dan Sonko and Bwire Ndubi

Sonko acknowledges the challenges of being a caregiver and the toll it took on him, both physically and mentally. 

“Being a caregiver is not easy. I gave everything I could but at the same time, I was losing myself yet she needed a strong person by her side. The only strong people who were there apart from me who was trying, were her friends and family. My family was very supportive but the central caregiver at that point was me, and I was breaking.”

Despite parting ways romantically, he says the two remain on good terms and share a deep friendship.

“I extended part of that fear to my children. I was constantly thinking about them. I have gone through the journey of grief and they have gone through the same and I did not want them to go through a second one,” he shared. 

The couple has channeled their experiences into a documentary titled Scare the Scar which aims to address real-life challenges and spark difficult conversations.

Grace Makhisa, 32, is an accountant by profession. She says she wants to silently quit her three-year relationship because her man has shown no interest in starting a family with her. 

She says her 48-year-old boyfriend has not engaged her or even talked about marriage.

“I am in a complicated relationship right now. I can’t call it a serious relationship, it’s off balance. I call it complicated because he has not asked anything about marriage. The only thing we have is the relationship. We talk about what we do and about our businesses but we have never talked about marriage and family. Initially, I expected that within a year or two we would have settled down but then it has come to nothing so far.

“This has been the second year and it is becoming complicated on my side because I feel the relationship is dragging and it’s getting too late for me.

Grace says at the beginning of the year, when she was setting her goals, she knew it was her year of becoming a mother and a wife.

“The relationship was blossoming. I was like, this is going to be the year where we have children and establish a family, but none of that has happened,” she says.

Grace Makhisa

Grace Makhisa, 32, wants to silently quit her three-year relationship because her man has shown no interest in starting a family with her. 

Photo credit: Pool

Earlier, when their relationship was young, the man mentioned he wanted children before marriage, but that is yet to happen as they have unsuccessfully tried to have a child.

“It is like he is just not into marriage. I have had a child before so I don’t think I have a health issue, although we have not gone to the hospital yet.

Grace calmly says she does not want to push her boyfriend to marry her because it might not work. She plans to silently end the relationship come 2024.

“I don’t think I should begin next year with this baggage. Maybe I should just call it off, which I normally don’t do. I might just disappear and he won’t be able to find me anywhere.

“I also don’t want to be lonely and most men out here are married, but then again I am wasting precious time. I don’t know how to get myself out of that situation. I am submissive and ready for marriage yet he is wasting my time.”

Mercy, not her real name, is a teacher by profession. She met someone in 2021 and decided to start a relationship after he said he was separated from his wife. She was 30 years old and wanted a long-lasting marriage.

After one year, she got pregnant, hoping he would marry her in 2023.

“Just when I was hoping things would work out for me, the wife called me to inform me that her husband had several other women and I was just one of them. She was friendly so I asked her more about him. I am currently raising the child alone after threats from the wife kept me away. 

Dorothy Awuor from Kitale says that after her nasty break up, she stepped back and took some time to heal and rejuvenate, for almost nine months. 

After attending several therapy sessions, she was ready to move on and find love again, but that did not happen. 

She started 2023 as a single woman and reality started hitting during April. She felt so lonely. 

She took herself out on solo dates, attended social gatherings, and joined travel groups but only met married men. She says her hopes of getting engaged by age 30 are dwindling.

“I’ll be turning 30 soon and I feel like giving up on my quest to find love.”

Businesswoman Sofia shares a disheartening tale of misplaced trust and financial betrayal that shattered her dreams of a blissful future. She met a man at her workplace who she believed would be her life partner.

Initially, Sofia found joy in their relationship. However, as their romantic and business interests deepened, deception entered. Sofia’s partner swindled substantial amounts of money under the guise of settling pre-existing debts. 

The facade unraveled in 2022 when Sofia discovered the truth about his marital status and financial discrepancies in their projects. 

Shockingly, he casually admitted to Sofia that she was married.

“He had told me he had gotten divorced like 15 years ago only for me to find out that it was not true. When I asked, he asked me what difference it would have made if I knew he was married,” he said.

Revelations continued to unfold as Sofia realised that he had been paid in full for two projects without her knowledge. 

When she confronted him and demanded her money, he vanished without a trace, leaving Sofia with a loss of approximately Sh3.5 million. 

Despite involving the police, the man remained elusive, leaving Sofia to grapple with the aftermath of a failed relationship and a significant financial setback.

“I have never seen him or heard from him. He switched off his phones. That is how my hopes of getting married in 2023 died.”

Sofia asks other women to be cautious and avoid ignoring red flags just because they are desperate for a man’s love.

“He hired an Airbnb and lied to me that it was his house. I later realised that the vehicles he was using were hired!”

Tashline*, a business administrator, says after dating for one year and even visiting both parents as they journeyed towards their marriage life, life happened and the man ended up not proposing. He said he did not have money.

They even paused traditional wedding plans temporarily and it was during that time that she came to know that the man was also in another relationship.

“I decided to call off the plans, informed my parents, and that was it. I am happy we did not get there.”

25-year-old, Mercy K, a media personality, harboured a strong desire to settle down with her life partner.

The turning point came in 2022 when her daughter was just four months old, and she crossed paths with a man who eventually became a significant part of her life. 

“Our connection began as friends, and soon after, we embarked on a romantic journey. I was honest about my daughter, a disclosure that didn’t faze him in the slightest. Everything seemed to be progressing smoothly. He integrated me into his family, and I established genuine connections with them, especially his doting mother,” she shared.

Before the close of 2022, he visited Mercy’s family, who approved of him after hearing the delightful tales of his love for both Mercy and her daughter. 

“During a challenging period when I grappled with financial difficulties, he stepped in remarkably. His support extended beyond purchasing essential supplies. He also provided diapers and clothing for my daughter.”

Fast forward to 2023, and the dynamics of their relationship underwent a drastic transformation. 

The sweet and caring partner she once cherished vanished into thin air. 

The romantic gestures, dinner dates, and tender moments were replaced by constant complaints about work-related stress and a desire for solitude. 

“One Wednesday evening in August 2023, he visited and dropped the bombshell – he wanted to end the relationship. Stunned and heartbroken, I initially thought it was a cruel joke. Reality sunk in, though, as he reiterated his decision, leaving me feeling betrayed and deceived.”

Mercy says the experience has deeply affected her trust in men, and made her decide to take a hiatus from dating.