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From broken marriage to difficult childhood, Tina Nzuki has seen it all

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BY POLYCARP OCHIENG 

Tina Nzuki, a breakfast radio host at Kubamba FM, was born in a family of four (three girls and a boy).

She joked in a recent interview on K24’s Talk Central show that she is the beautiful one.

She confesses having a hard childhood while growing up in Nairobi’s Lang’ata Estate; a childhood one can’t wish to remember.

Domestic violence was rife in her home, making them to be raised with a lot of fear, wondering who was going to be next and what was going to happen next, with her mom suffering the most in the hands of their father.

She Started school in Kilimani Junior Academy and later joined Lang’ata West Primary School. The switch to Lang’ata West hit her hard and she was infested with lice, forcing her mom to shave her long hair short.

She proceeded to Lang’ata High School for one term then to Chogoria Girls in Meru.

Being a mission school, she was happy. She expected to find white nuns and missionaries, only to find something else and had to force herself a transfer to Kangaroo Girls’ School.

She did her degree at Daystar University where she studied communications and majored in PR.

At some point in her university life, all her friends deserted her without any reason, something which made her life even more difficult.

The sultry-voiced host had never thought of being a radio presenter. It was a joke made by Bob Kioko of Family Radio that made her want to show him how to crack a serious joke.

She went ahead and recorded a karaoke performance. She then gave it her to sister to take to Family Radio, only to land her first job with them.

She would move from Family Radio to Hope FM for three years where a call to shift from gospel radio to secular radio came in.

She tore the first letter from Samba Radio and rejected a cheque offer from a station she refuses to mention.

Finally, she landed at Hot 96 under Jimmy Gathu.

However, since she was brought up in a gospel setting, she had to put on blinders on. In addition, she hilariously narrates how she had to pray before playing the song “Get Your Booty Down” by Snoop Dog.

After leaving Hot 96 and struggling for some time, she received a call from Sheila Mwanyiga of Easy FM for a job, which she rejected many times as she thought it was a prank. At last, she got onto Easy FM for 12 months as a swing presenter.

She finally disappeared from air.

Every door was shut. At the same time, her landlord ordered her to move out of her apartment in Ruaka and back to her mom in Langata.

She obliged. She was grounded for four good years: no money, no job. In her whole  life, that was her hardest time. She could not even afford sanitary pads.

During this time, she got deeper into word of God and prayer. At some point, she could hear the voice of God telling her to dress up and go to the bus top and just stand there, doing nothing.

One day she was lucky to get one of her fans from her on-air days. The fan found her standing at a bus stop, hugged her and offered her Sh3,000 for lunch.

To her, that was her first time to see Sh3,000 in a long time. Funny enough, the first thing she did with the money was to buy chips at Jeevanjee Gardens.

She also had an eventful marriage.

She got married on July 7, 2001 to a fellow churchgoer with much rebellion from her inner side.

God told her no but she insisted and proceeded to marry her first love after nine months of their relationship.

Sadly, pain, hurt and disappointment came to her like a storm from her husband.

She got beaten and was motionally hurt. Out of fun, she confessed that even on her wedding day, there was a getaway car from her friends because they knew she would not have gone through with the wedding.

Despite receiving calls not to proceed with the wedding from people including her pastor, she never listened.

She at one point removed the engagement ring from her finger, which made her husband warn her that if she did it again, no one will ever love her. And she believed him. She was scared of scarcity of men in Nairobi.

Things started to go wrong when her husband restricted her from seeing her family members.

It  worsened when she started to sleep with a knife and a pair of scissors under her pillow. She believed she was going to harm her husband and decided to report to the police on what she was about to do.

She could not report to her family because she was embarrassed of talking about it. The first person to talk to was the officer at the station she reported. Not everybody was behind her marriage. She managed to go back home for a while with that thought that things will get back to normal with her husband, something that never came to be.

Instead of her husband going for her, he sent a taxi with her things. Despite all these, she tried to go back with her husband due her status, “a Christian radio presenter.”

It was hard for her accepting what people would say since a Christian marriage is expected to last.

It was unbelievable she tried to make things work eight times.

The last time of her attempt, her husband grabbed her and threw her against the wall promising to kill her if she went back next time. That was it. She later saw him after eight years.

On dating again, she admitted not dating but said she was open to dating once again as to her, marriage is a sweet and good thing. She sounds like she misses one though.

She finally made her way back on air, hosting a breakfast show Kubamba Radio alongside Duncan Atalaku.

Also as at now, she has a production company called Tina Nzuki Media (TNM), where they develop brands, content, and marketing for companies. She also does TV production, mostly for her church.

To the women out there, going through what she went back then, this is the advice she has for you: “Before you step out listen, listen, and obey. God does not do anything without a purpose and when he is telling you No, he is not telling you to hurt you but to protect you. When God says No, trust him even when you cannot see him just trust him.
Marriage is meant to last, that is how God created it but you have to come to a place where I hear you hear me and there is love and that love has to be beyond your flaws and beyond your troubles. If you do not have that and god you got nothing.”

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