WILL HE COME HOME?

Wife opposed Boniface Mwangi joining politics

Family has three children and lastborn was very young when he eyed MP seat

In Summary

• Whenever there is a problem, she finds herself worrying where he is

Boniface Mwangi, his wife and their children
Boniface Mwangi, his wife and their children
Image: Courtesy

Award-winning photographer and activist Boniface Mwangi had to overcome his wife's opposition to his shot at politics in 2017.

His unsuccessful stab at Starehe MP seat worried Hellen Njeri, with threats forcing her to flee the country with their children.

"The first time he told me he is vying for a political seat, I refused because our lastborn child was very young," she said.

The couple spoke in an interview with Jalang'o. They narrated their journey in creating 'Softie', a film that documents the turmoil around that time. 

 
 
 
 

The film is about love, and family, and the extraordinary personal sacrifice that it takes to fight a system that is designed to crush you. 

 

"Softie is like a movement and the struggles we face," Boniface said.

"Like there is so much that happens behind the scene when you do a protest after the cameras are off. People go through so much when they go back home to be a father, a husband and all that."

Njeri said there is no acting in the film. Being an activist wife, she said there have been ups and downs.

She and the children had gone into exile in the US for eight months, only returning days before the vote.

"I sometimes hope this guy comes home. Kwanza nikiona githaa, I am like, where is he?" she said.

 
 

"With the threats we've had before, it is not always easy. Before I got used, I would keep calling him like a 16-year-old girl, but with time, we learnt to communicate.

"So he always tells me who he is with and in case I need him, here is the person to reach out to."

 

The couple is blessed with three children: Simphiwe, Sifa and Mboya.

Njeri said her family questioned them for naming their lastborn son with a Luo name.

"We fought in the hospital but Bonnie sneaked up and said he had already gotten the names for our child," she said.

Boniface said he never thought he would ever marry a Kikuyu. 

"I had decided before that our kids would never have Kikuyu names because we want our kids to have names that represent other cultures," he said. "I did not want my kids to be judged by their names and tribes."

To watch the 96min film, follow @Softiethefilm on Instagram to learn how you can get tickets today. 

Edited by T Jalio