• She has changed lives by reaching out to depressed and alcoholic stars
Vocal and bold are words that could describe comedienne Zeddy, real name Zainabu Zeddy, who has this year managed to help many people through charity.
Zeddy, who hails from Korogocho, spoke to the Star on the highs and lows of her busy life. She is this year's entertainment Star of the Year.
The former Churchill Show comedian has come to the rescue of many different people, both celebrities and ordinary people, including Njambi, Mwikali and Michael.
“Njambi is a former classmate whom I found on the streets. Their house had collapsed. My fans sent money and we built her a house,” she said.
“Michael had depression. He had burnt himself and wanted to commit suicide and we organised for him to get counselling.”
As for Mwikali, she had many children and was on the streets with them. "They were crying because of hunger. At the time, she hadn't eaten for a day and she was breastfeeding. It is something that I had personality experienced," Zeddy said.
"We settled her rent areas and she was bought a double decker bed and food that would last for three months."
Mid this year, Zeddy travelled to Nakuru, where she aired the struggles of her colleague, comedian Njoro.
“He had tried to take his life three times. His mother then fetched him from Nairobi. When most people get into depression, they start being alcoholic. I spoke to Njoro and he agreed to go to rehab, but the rehab people would come and he would run away. But finally, he went for three months. He cried a lot before his departure.”
Njoro is now out of rehab and he has a job.
Another comedian, Wakimani, was helped after Zeddy aired his struggles with alcohol.
“He was also depressed and would drink a lot. I spoke to Jalang'o about him and he came through for him. He went to therapy. He's back to school and he is doing well,” she said.
She also mentioned Mama Najib, whose son had gone blind unexpectedly.
“Her son was watching TV. He started seeing blackout and that’s how he became blind," she said.
The comedienne credits her fans for helping each person whom she has touched.
Zeddy first made headlines in the famous comedy show Churchill Show. She was working in Ruaraka when colleagues advised her to audition
“When I first watched the show, I didn't see any woman on stage and I got interested,” she said.
Zeddy took the challenge but it was not as glamorous as it looked, as her first day painted the struggles she was about to face.
From then she auditioned for four months and even resigned her job as she had been given so many warning letters by her employer at the time.
“I went back again and again. I noticed that the jokes you tell your friends are not the jokes that will make the panel at Churchill Show laugh. I am a go-getter. I would sit with the other comedians and know how they come up with their jokes and how they later tell them. For those four months, I'd go to Carnivore three times in a week to perfect my craft.”
She was first chosen by fans to perform after a segment called 'You Think You Are Funny.'
“To date, I still feel nervous before getting on stage. Everyone has a way of handling their nerves before they get on stage.”
She has since moved on but credits Daniel Ndambuki for her success in the industry and the platform.
“It wasn't an easy decision to quit because the platform helped me, thanks to Churchill. I felt like it was time to let other people grow and so I quit.”
As a devoted Muslim, Zeddy says she doesn't do club shows and is among the few celebrities who don't take alcohol.
She is currently in the hospitality business. “I make cookies, cakes, doughnuts and other things. If someone wants the delicacies, I usually deliver in town. I thank God my fans really support me. If you buy my food, I use that money for charity,” she said.
Zeddy has experienced depression three times, first when she lost one of her children and then later when she was trolled after advertising a product at the comedy show with a man who was part of the audience.
“The advertisement was so good, but how it was edited, it didn't come out well to people who were watching from home,” she said.
“I was being insulted. People said I had been left by my husband. When you get to social media, everyone is tagging you and I was trolled.
“It became so bad that my in-laws started believing in it. My husband would go to work and people would make fun of him,” she said.
She was also hit again by depression when her husband left her and she later lost two of her income-generating businesses.
“My husband left me with a two-month pregnancy. He didn't want to know how kids would eat and sleep. I got depressed and stopped going to oversee my hotel business in Umoja, and so it made losses,” she said.
“Another thing was my 14-seater matatu. I was told it was involved in an accident at Matuu. Life was bad. I failed to pay rent and so I spoke to my landlord to give me time. I didn't want to tell my family since I am the breadwinner and my mother's health wasn't good.
“I reached out to friends. There is one, Sia Anyango, who catered for my clinic and maternity. And Eunice Waithera and Farida Khan helped me get a house and supported me.”
The mother of three, Shamim, Jibril and Malkia, says things are better now. She is on speaking terms with her ex-husband and they are now co-parenting
“ I taught myself forgiveness. He was the very first person to come see me after I gave birth. I was in shock,” she said. “The kids would ask about him and speculate that we had parted ways.”
So, is she going to remarry?
“No one hates loves and so, I'd love to be loved,” she said. “I was married to a Central man, now I'd prefer a Lakeside man.”
Zeddy also made headlines this year after hanging the dirty linen in the comedy industry in public.
“I spoke my truth and I felt like I have lost weight. I feel like I have helped those who are upcoming in the industry so they don't pass through what we went through. People were happy that I spoke on their behalf, my fellow comedians were also behind me,” she said.
She admitted that she had received a lawsuit against her after the exposé, noting that she didn't expect her social media post to have such a big impact.
Talking about her late friend comedian Othuol Othuol, Zeddy remembered the good times they had together.
“He used to call me Jaber or Atoti. The last time to see him we met in town, I had been given money by fans to deliver to him,” she said.
Her advice to young girls is “Don't rush into marriage. Take time and grow yourself.”
She has been labelled 'Mother Teresa' by her fans and wants to be remembered as the voice of people.
“I want to be remembered as a person who has mentored and helped people through Fungua Roho na Zeddy, a foundation for sharing awareness on depression.”
Edited by T Jalio