At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya’s Elsa Majimbo became a global Instagram star. And so did Azziad Nasenya, who is already one of Kenya’s top TikTokers.
Closer to home, 13-year-old Amani Muthoni became one of Kenya’s youngest authors, a skill she says was spurred during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Amani took the time off during the prolonged school closure to start scribbling what would eventually become her manuscript on her church note book.
“One Sunday as we were coming from church, Amani asked me to listen to a story she had written on her church note book. “her mum, Naomi Gitau told Citizen Digital
“When she read it to me I became so attentive because the story was very interesting and moving,”
“I asked her if she is really the one who had written the story. I was so impressed.”
Her mum would then buy her a notebook, while encouraging her to continue spinning the tale.
“ I told her that I was going to buy her a book where she could write that story and continue writing so that the following Sunday she could read for me more of that story”
“After I bought her a book she wrote 5pages,10pages, 20,30, and now the story turned out to be a book.”
Her book, titled ‘Lia the Overcomer’ is a perfect tale of triumph over life’s basketful of lemons.
The story follows Lia, a pre-teen girl growing up in the city and dealing with a variety of issues, including rekindling a relationship with a father she hasn’t seen in years.
Writing the book was not easy. Amani literally burned the midnight oil, according to her mother, as she filled page after page with thoughtful ink.
“I told a friend of ours called Griffins about how Amani was writing. He encouraged me to let her do her work in soft copy. Amani has been writing especially late night,”
As if living through the character in her book, Lia, Amani’s journey with the pen started slow, from the edges of a note-book, into a fully-fledged children’s book.
Amani, like her fraternal twin, is a budding musician and poet who enjoys reading and carries a large book with her wherever she goes. Including the salon.
“She reads those huge novels. She carries a novel wherever she goes including when she is going to the salon, even after church you’ll find her reading her huge novels. etc. Her love of books is another level,” her mum adds approvingly.
Aside from her love of music and the largest books in any room, Amani is a trailblazer at her school.
According to her mother, the publication of her book was inspired in part by her head teacher, Edward Simani, and her teacher, Eunice Mwihaki, who, after reading her book and becoming enthralled by the writing, begged her mother to have it published.
“I remember when she was in class 5 she would come home and tell me that her English composition teacher would go with her composition to read to the class 8s,” her mum adds.