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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Inspiration: How stay-at-home mum inspired anthem-based devotional

Joyce Mwangi signs one of her self-authored devotional books for a buyer during the launch in July at Daystar University, Nairobi
Joyce Mwangi signs one of her self-authored devotional books for a buyer during the launch in July at Daystar University, Nairobi

Joyce Mwangi, a 33-year-old wife and stay-at-home mum, has done something every Kenyan needs to read about. She has used words from the national anthem to write a prayer book or devotional that Kenyans can use to pray for their nation.

Joyce is not your usual mother, as she is also a blogger, something she started quite by default.

"I would write on social issues on my Facebook page, and many comments would come forth. At some point, my friends, Babatomiwa Moses Owojaiye and Santina Bii, my campus mates in graduate school, thought to give me more than comment. They told me to start a blog, and tell my story to a more consistent audience." That is how Joyce, a graduate of Africa International University, began to blog on

She then became a blogger, starting January. Her aim at the time was to address social issues in the country, which included her dedicating time to pray for Kenya.

"I was praying for the nation and thinking about the Kenya I want. Then God gave me an idea. I decided to break down the 18 lines of the National Anthem, which I faithfully did for 18 days plus two Sundays in between. Every day I would write a devotional based on God’s word for each line of the anthem and then conclude with a prayer. This project began in April."

Impressively, within two months, the 18-day devotional for Kenya was ready. Joyce chooses to call it the #18DayChallenge. There was a lot of feedback from readers, some asking if it could be put in a compact form and published. That is how Joyce did an e-book in May on Amazon Kindle. But she knew that not every Kenyan would get their hands on a soft copy, hence the journey to publish hard copies began.

She says our national anthem is a heritage that we have not paid close attention to, other than just sing it. "It is a symbol of unity for our 44 tribes."

It is also a prayer, where even churches are now adopting it as part of their study. The fine line "O God of all creation" really is a rally to pray, she says.

She then puts a call to action to all Kenyans, using the same anthem. Joyce says this song, which a number of Kenyans are yet to learn, is a dream, a blueprint, an aspiration for Kenya.

"This is a key identity but one that has not been emphasised as it should. What with us only singing one stanza of the anthem; scratch that, playing the tune to one stanza during national events, to the fact that many Kenyans cannot sing the national anthem from memory. Too embarrassing, I can say!" Her call is for the blueprint to be actualised. But how?

"We must begin by learning the anthem by heart, singing all the three stanzas during national and local events, then action will follow," says the self-published mother of two. So far, some 300 hard copies of the devotional have been sold, and a copy retails at Sh700. For a copy, visit the blog and join in the prayer for Kenya.

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