Today, I am going to answer my readers’ most pressing questions about City Girl. This comes from a barrage of questions I get when I meet them in conferences, meetings and even in weddings.
Oh my God! You are Njoki Chege? You seem nicer in person! You are not the mean ‘Girl’ from whom we read in the papers! How come?
Of course I am nicer in person! I am also very shy, which really surprises a lot of people because shy and nice are hardly the words you could use to describe City Girl.
Generally, writers tend to be withdrawn. I think I could also qualify as an introvert given that I like to keep to myself. Some people also say that I am a loner.
Writing has been my only outlet since I discovered I could write, which was many years ago, perhaps when I was around eight years old. So yes, I could take on a ‘mean’ and ‘nasty’ persona as City Girl, but in real life I am just a shy girl who struggles with eye contact.
You have said some mean and nasty things in your column. Do you mean them?
(Laughs). I mean some and for the rest, I am just pushing boundaries. That is what writers do. They make you think and act.
I hear you are teaching at a local private university. Do your students even take you seriously? I am sure the classes must be brimming with curious students.
Oh. Teaching is a small gig I do on the side. I am a graduate student there and they thought that I had some interesting things to share with the students so they gave me a chance.
No, my classes are not brimming with students. The last time I taught, I had 12 graduate students. So far, I have not had issues with students not taking me seriously. They were very respectful.
Also, it helps that I set the rules for the class and the first rule is that I do not talk about my column in class.
Is this why you have been changing the tone of your column? Because you are now a lecturer and you want to change your image?
No! My side gig has nothing to do with my column. But I’m glad you have noticed I have been changing the tone of my column. To be honest, the answer to that is I simply grew up.
Now that you brought it up, and being a believer in the Bible, I would like to direct you to a verse that will shed more light on this: 1st Corinthians 13:11:
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
If you replace the ‘man’ with ‘woman’, the rest is quite self-explanatory.
Tell me about a column you wrote two months ago. It sounded like a goodbye to me…
I know! And I hate that it was misunderstood. I was neither saying goodbye nor leaving the company. It was a philosophical moment for me. I was reflecting on the past and thinking about the future.
I am still writing, but I do not promise to be as controversial as I used to be. There is a time for everything and now is the time for the next phase of my life.
So you work full time for NMG? I thought you do other things and then write on Saturday. What’s your real job?
Yes, I work full time for the group. My day job is generally to write news stories and features for the newspaper. You may not notice my other boring stories because you don’t read the by-lines.
Where do you get your ideas from and how do you handle ALL THAT hate?
Good question. I am writer, so I observe. I use all my senses, six of them, to understand my environment. Then I write about everyday issues that affect my readers and I try to keep it as real and honest as possible. As for the hate and criticism, I take it in stride. I also try to be practical, I mean, if I earn a living from poking and insulting people, then it is only fair that I take the heat with the stoicism of a gladiator.
Last one, are you married, dating…?
I am afraid that is all we have time for. Plus, my space is running out and I have a deadline to meet. Next time?