Muthoni Mukiri

Media personality Muthoni Mukiri displays a copy of her new book titled "Becoming the Woman" at Garden City Mall in Nairobi.

| Elizabeth Ngigi | Nation Media Group

Muthoni Mukiri on childhood trauma and writing a book

What you need to know:

  • Muthoni Mukiri has transitioned into a role of mentoring and empowering women on their journey to self-discovery and healing.
  • Author says Becoming The Woman has a lot of her personal stories from, where she started to where she is now.

Muthoni Mukiri, renowned for her vernacular eloquence as a Kikuyu news anchor, has come of age. A dream that started in childhood, of one day becoming an influential person, has come to pass. 

“I knew I was going to be someone,” she tells Nation Lifestyle, “but with time, I felt like I still wasn’t satisfied, and I quit the media.”

She then transitioned into a role of mentoring and empowering women on their journey to self-discovery and healing. Now she has launched a book, Becoming The Woman.

She spoke to Nation Lifestyle about her pursuit of a deeper purpose.

You wear so many hats. Which one of those do you want to hold onto in old age?

Motherhood for sure. I will hold it till the end of time. I also aspire to be remembered as a woman who empowered others to discover their true selves and lead their best lives. Oprah Winfrey, a significant mentor of mine, once said, “Your legacy is not measured by the number of followers, likes, or wealth. It's about the lives you impact.” That’s what I aim to be known for.

You speak of childhood trauma. What made you realise that you had childhood trauma and how did that inspire you to seek therapy?

I struggled with anxiety, a fear of the unknown, and a pervasive sense of not being good enough or fitting in. So before I went for therapy, I went through a toxic relationship. This feeling intensified after a particularly challenging breakup period with a narcissist. In therapy, I came to understand that these feelings had deep roots stretching to my early childhood.

People from my past had instilled in me a sense of not belonging and not measuring up. When I sought healing, I realised that I was still carrying the wounds of a young girl who had been made to believe she wasn’t good enough. My older sister's academic success had added to these feelings, and I constantly felt the pressure to measure up. Through therapy, I recognised the need to address and heal this wounded inner child.

Have you healed from the trauma?

I’d say I’ve healed significantly, but it’s an ongoing journey, much like personal development – you’re never truly “there.” I’ve worked on understanding and managing my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), negative coping mechanisms, and the trauma’s aftermath.

Even though I underwent therapy for a relatively short period and received coaching, I've engaged in extensive self-improvement efforts, including reading, watching podcasts, and training. It took about four years to gain the confidence to openly discuss these issues and embrace the role of a coach, helping others without feeling like an impostor or that I'm not enough.

People knew you from TV, could you share your educational background and what career aspirations you had when you were studying?

Growing up, I admired being a doctor, or lawyer, those professions. But it wasn’t until high school that we used to have a journalism club in school. One of the students would go to the parade on a Friday and read news of the week in school. I used to admire that. Then I’d see Julie Gichuru on TV, Lilian Muli and I wanted to be that woman. That's what made me go to school to study journalism, to become a journalist. 

What is your book “Becoming the Woman” all about?

My book delves into my personal story, how I’ve worked through trauma, fears, and shame to become the person I am today. While many know me from my media career as a TV news anchor, I experienced challenges in relationships and underwent an identity crisis that prompted me to seek therapy and embark on a healing journey.

Along the way, I realised the lack of readily-available resources for these issues, and this led me to discover my purpose. I now focus on mentoring and coaching women, helping them heal from trauma, embrace self-love, conquer their fears, and pursue their desired lives.

Muthoni Mukiri

Media personality Muthoni Mukiri displays a copy of her new book titled "Becoming the Woman" at Garden City Mall in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Ngigi | Nation Media Group

The book has a lot of my personal stories from, where I started, where I’m at now, and how I’ve worked on myself. And I believe in every woman there is the woman she aspires to be.

What inspired the choice of the title?

When I started talking to women about healing, about loving themselves, I realised, you know what? This is the woman I've always wanted to become, I want to be. I want to help women in their journey.

I want to hold their hand. And I now feel satisfied. I think this is also who I want to become, even as much as I've arrived here, this is where I am. I want to become a woman who truly believes in herself.

Because as much as I’m a coach, there’s also that element of sometimes you doubt yourself, sometimes you hold yourself back. I want to be completely fearless, and I want to live in my truth and speak what's in my heart without thinking about societal expectations, or how they are going to think.”

Did you personally write the book, or did you collaborate with a ghostwriter?

I wrote the book myself, though I often wished for a ghostwriter. Writing has been a significant part of my professional life as a journalist, but composing a full book is an enormous task, even for someone with experience. My book isn’t just a narrative; it’s also a guide with exercises and more. 

It took me three years to complete. One aspect I appreciated was the perspective it forced me to take on my own life — evaluating it from an outsider's viewpoint. This journey led me to confront my vulnerabilities and accept that it's okay for people to know about my imperfections and mistakes. I want them to see that I’m a work in progress, just like anyone else.

Overcoming self-doubt and concerns about how others would perceive me writing about my own life was a process, but I reached a point of peace with it. Whatever is out there now is beyond my control. I wrote the book intending to show that personal growth and recovery are possible for anyone.

Did you encounter particularly challenging moments while working on this book, where you found certain topics or experiences too emotionally weighty to put into words?

I certainly had challenging moments, especially when delving into my childhood trauma. Writing about it required me to consider both my own experience and emotions and the people involved. For instance, when writing about my relationship with my father, I had to navigate a complex mix of emotions.

While he provided for our family, he struggled with emotional availability, which deeply affected my self-esteem. It was tough writing about someone I love, who did his best, even if it wasn’t ideal. I had to remind myself that my intent wasn’t to tarnish my dad’s reputation but to share my personal journey.

While I know he will read the book, I also understand he acknowledges his own challenges. I don’t believe he owes me an apology. We currently have a strong relationship, and I’m sharing my story to shed light on the fact that parents, despite their best intentions, can inadvertently affect their children.

What aspects of your younger self do you miss, and how has marriage contributed to your personal growth and understanding?

I miss the carefree days when I could be spontaneous and take off to places like Naivasha without many responsibilities. I often encourage single people to enjoy this phase when they have less on their plate.
Marriage has taught me the importance of respecting someone’s opinion even if I don’t always agree.

After nearly a decade of living independently, adjusting to consulting and sharing decisions was challenging. However, I’ve learned to let go and relax. I used to handle bills on my own for many years, but now I’ve learned to trust my partner and let him take his share of responsibilities.

As someone who's always in the limelight is there some things that you keep to yourself?

That would be my child. As someone who has been in the public eye, I do not want to subject my child to haters and trolls. He is a child and he can’t protect himself. I want him to be the one to make that decision for himself and that is why I do not talk too much about him.