Ruto, Uhuru, national leaders and journalists mourn Catherine Kasavuli

Veteran news anchor Catherine Kasavuli.

Veteran news anchor Catherine Kasavuli.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

National leaders and journalists have come out to mourn veteran journalist and prime-time news anchor Catherine Kasavuli who died on Friday morning at the Kenyatta National Hospital following a long battle with cancer. 

Among the leaders who mourned the fallen news anchor include President William Ruto who hailed Ms Kasavuli’s good mastery and articulation that entranced the nation. 

“Countless Kenyans watched her with great admiration and many children grew to emulate her. Today, Kasavuli's legacy endures, most notably in a distinctively crisp, fluent and articulate elocution we are all accustomed to in broadcast anchoring,” Dr Ruto said. 

Former president Uhuru Kenyatta indicated Ms Kasavuli made several achievements in the broadcasting industry that made her a role model and mentor to women journalists in the country. 

“Catherine Kasavuli became a household name because of her immense achievement as a broadcaster. Indeed she was a great role model and mentor to many women journalists in the country,” Mr Kenyatta posted. 

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula also comforted the family, friends and relatives over the demise of the legendary journalist. 

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua also praised Ms Kasavuli for breaking the glass ceiling in news anchoring in the country. 

“She will forever be revered as a pioneer female TV news anchor in Kenya credited with breaking the glass ceiling for other female TV journalists as well as setting high standards in news anchoring. She was a passionate & astute professional who graced our TV screens for decades,” Dr Mutua said. 

Other leaders who also mourned her include First Lady Rachel Ruto, ICT CS Eliud Owalo, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Kanu National Chairman Gideon Moi among others. 

Fellow journalists also hailed Ms Kasavuli for setting the bar of journalism standards in the country.

According to veteran journalist Kathleen Openda who worked with her in the 1990s at KTN, Ms Kasavuli- besides anchoring news- was a great mentor who helped bring out the best in her colleagues.

“Working with her was joyous. She would always support you and she had such a wonderful spirit that endeared her to people.” Ms Openda said. 

According to Wachira Waruru, the Managing Director of Royal Media services, she was a joyful colleague who was resourceful whenever called upon. 

“Catherine will be remembered as an outstanding trailblazer in the broadcast media industry in Kenya. From the early 90s she graced our television screens with her eloquent and authoritative presentation of news, rising to become one of the most compelling prime-time TV personalities,” Mr Waruru said. 

Dr Nancy Booker of the Aga Khan University said she drew her inspiration to join the field of journalism after watching her present news. 

“As a young girl, I was drawn to journalism because of how you gracefully delivered the day’s news. It was therefore an honour for me to present this award to you earlier this year, in honour of your dedicated service to the media industry,” she posted. 

Nation Media Group Podcast Editor James Smart remembered Ms Kasavuli as the one who taught her humility.

“Catherine Kasavuli was unbelievably pleasant, humble and warm. She said to me when I joined TV to always choose to be humble because I have been invited into people’s homes.” Mr Smart said. 

BBC Journalist Ferdinand Omondi also hailed her as a good teacher and mentor. 

“I had the honour of sharing the studio with Catherine Kasavuli in my early years as a sports news anchor at Citizen TV. She was a graceful senior colleague, a calm teacher, and a respectful mentor,” Mr Omondi posted. 

Ms Kasavuli who rocked the Kenya TV screens for a long time was the first female Kenyan news anchor. She began her career in 1980 at the Voice of Kenya (now KBC) before quickly transitioning to KTN where she served as its first live broadcast TV anchor after shifting from pre-recorded TV formats. She left KTN in 2007 and joined Citizen TV as an anchor and served in a managerial role before taking a break in 2015. In 2021, she once again signed a deal with the KBC as a weekend time news anchor

Throughout her career, she was recognised for her performance in the media industry. In 2008, she was awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya during Jamhuri Day Celebrations. In 2022, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award during the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards organized by the Media Council of Kenya. 

Until her demise, she was working as a weekend time news anchor at KBC as well as a founder at Kasavuli Media Group Limited a company that owns several subsidiaries specializing in communication and the training of broadcasters. She died aged 60.