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Saturday, 8 April 2017


It was another office party, those that get triggered by the slightest indication that management was in the mood to recognize team effort. I was tasked with ensuring everyone has plenty of enjoyment. But one colleague seemed to be getting the most fun. She danced her heart out, radiating some form of inner joy. That is the Janet Kanini Ikua I was honoured to have interacted with.

She could burst some well coordinated moves, much to my amazement, momentarily unable to reconcile this display of vivacity with the disciplined and exceptional dedication to duty, when Janet was then a news anchor.

As the Weekends Editor, I tried to make the bulletins devoid of as much toxic Kenyan politics as possible, and instead ensured there was more time accorded to human interest stories, in line with the brief outlined by my seniors.

And Janet beautifully helped to deliver these soft stories in a powerful way.

I once crafted a challenging Intro for her, on a piece on poetry, admittedly thinking she would stumble on the rhyming scheme.

She cast my doubts away, as if dancing through the lines, and well aware of the need to retain the musicality, while saying:
Lynette was sent to the gent of the tent for the rent
But the gent of the tent had no rent for the tent for which Lynette was sent
Even as she battled her illness, she was gracious enough to respond to my call, when I was giving a lecture to some young students, and needed her input.

As I spoke to her,  the attentive class listened in, on our conversation.

There was a mixture of heartfelt empathy and admiration, when I revealed to the class what Janet had told me...

...That she was was at the hospital as we chatted, having just finished one of her cancer treatment sessions.

Every time I replay this talk in my mind, feelings of guilt engulf me.

But that was Janet for you, eager to be of service, no matter what she was going through personally.

So I choose to celebrate her life and the many lives she managed to touch, plus of course her dancing prowess.

Dance with the angels Janet Kanini Ikua!!!

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