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10 things to know about Uhuru’s new spokesperson Kanze Dena

Former Citizen TV anchor Kellen Beatrice Kanze Dena was on Tuesday appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the State House deputy spokesperson after spending close to 16 years in the newsroom.

The 39 year-old journalist has battled depression, chronic low self-esteem and child loss, all which she says made her stronger.

Here are 10 things to know about President Kenyatta’s new deputy spokesperson;

1. Kanze suffered low self-esteem while growing up
As a young girl  studying at Kianjokoma boarding school in Embu, Kanze developed low self-esteem because she matured faster than her age mates, developing breasts and hips at a tender age.

She was also bow legged and had a slouchy tummy all which contributed to her self-esteem.

2. She was a great actress
Kanze had exceptional acting skills while studying at Kyeni Girls High School in Embu. She performed during drama festivals and her prowess in the Swahili language won her praises.

3. She was once a casual labourer
After completing high school, Kanze worked at her grandfather’s Mombasa Road cafeteria where she rose from a potato peeler to dishwasher and later to waitress in a year and a half. The experience shaped her to work hard and respect everyone’s hustle especially waiters.

4. She lost her first child
Kanze got pregnant while working as a waitress at a restaurant on Moi Avenue, near the bomb blast memorial.  She later quit to pursue a course in IT and secretarial courses at Loreto Msongari.

She managed to hide the pregnancy from her mother and aunt by moving to a hostel and wanted to give up the baby for adoption under the Crisis Pregnancy program.

Her plan to give the baby up was cut short when her mother went to pick her from Pumwani Hospital after being informed of the pregnancy by a friend.

The little girl, Natasha Anzani, died aged three months while living with Kanze’s mother at the coast as Kanze sat for her final exams.

5. She fell into depression and became suicidal
She fell into depression for a year and became suicidal after the loss of her child. Part of it was contributed by the stigma she faced for having become pregnant before marriage. She felt like her daughter’s death was a punishment for not wanting to keep her in the first place.

She attempted to commit suicide by slitting her wrists with a knife. At the time, she felt like she was not good enough to be a mother.

6. Kanze studied at Mass Communication at KIMC
After a year of battling depression, she enrolled for a diploma in mass communication at the Kenya Institute for Mass Communication (KIMC). She later became an intern at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) where she started off by doing radio news. One day a TV news anchor failed to turn up for work and she was called to present TV news.

7. She had studio fright
Kanze froze on her first day of anchoring 7pm news at KBC. Her co-anchor at the time Badi Mukhsin encouraged her off air and she slowly gained courage.

8. She has a son and co-parents with baby daddy
While working at KBC, Kanze conceived and gave birth to her son, Nathaniel Amani, who is now 12 years-old. She co-parents with the boy’s father.

In a recent Instagram post, she advised single mums to put their differences with their baby daddies aside and make co-parenting work for their children.

9. She lost her mother and best friend Nasril to cancer
Kanze lost her mother to colon cancer. She also lost her closea friend Nasril who had helped her overcome depression after her mother’s death.

Nasril was diagnosed with breast cancer and later succumbed.

10. Her latest job as an anchor at Citizen TV helped her conquer depression
Kanze and Lulu Hassan became friends way before pairing up at Citizen TV. Their friendship blossomed after viewers started saying they looked alike.

When the two finally joined Citizen TV, a solid friendship developed.

Kanze has had a remarkably successful career as a journalist, the highlight of which, she says, is interviewing President Uhuru Kenyatta – alongside Lulu – at State House in the run up the 2017 general election.