Growing up in slum hurt my esteem, says Awinja

Crime, single mums and poverty were a depressing reality

In Summary

• Awinja was raised in Majengo, Nairobi, where girls were expected to date thugs

Image: Courtesy

Actress Jacky Vike, popularly known as Awinja, says she grew up with self-esteem issues due to growing up in poverty.

Speaking in an interview with Engage Talk on YouTube channel, she shared her life story on how she beat her struggles to get to the top.

"When you have confidence, there is nothing you cannot do. And that is something I never had based on the neighbourhood I was brought up in," Awinja said.

The actress was raised in Majengo, Nairobi, and her father worked as a City Council officer and a part-time shoe cobbler.

"That area crushed my self-esteem. But it was mostly contributed to by the lifestyle people had," she said.

"If you led a straight life, you looked abnormal. If you were a girl and had no thug for a boyfriend, you were considered a fool," she said.

"What hurt me the most was that I saw how young girls I grew up with were left as single mothers because they were dating thugs who were killed, and I would wonder what kind of a place that is."

She said she could not blame her parents as they would go for three months even without getting pay despite working for the City Council. Nonetheless, they never lacked food any day.

That made her vow to herself that she will only get a child when she has her own money and can take care of them.

Awinja said bad company cost her younger brother his life. She lost him to a shooting incident with the police.

"My brother was drinking heavily and he was in and out of work. He got involved in a toxic relationship and they got a baby," she said.

"My mother used to talk to him till she decided to leave him to God.

"One day my brother went drinking. As usual, they got drunk till they slept at the bar. Something happened and the culprits were able to run away."

Awinja says on different occasions, he was arrested by police and this worried her family.

Some of his friends were robbers and he ended up being shot with his friends.

"A friend of his told me that my brother had been killed. He said my brother had gone to eat lunch with friends when they came face to face with some officers, who shot all the five guys."

Awinja said what hurts her most is that he was 20 years old and his life was just beginning.

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