Nairobi News


Happy birthday, Emma! Meet one of Kenya’s oldest women

Ms Emma Wangechi, who was born at Gikondi village in Nyeri County, is not your ordinary centenarian.

The 100-year-old woman is a staunch Catholic and believes her faith is one of the reasons she has lived that long.

Nation could not independently verify Ms Wangechi’s age, but if her family is to be believed, that would make her one of the oldest women not just in Ichuga village in Nanyuki, where she currently lives, but also in Kenya.

According to family records, she was born on January 3, 1920. But that is not all.

The elderly woman’s memory has not deserted her because she can still recall events from her past.

One of the most vivid memories is that of Blessed Irene Stefani Nyaatha, whose history had a lot of significance to Catholic faithful in Gikondi village, Mukurwe-ini.

It’s in Gikondi where Sr Irene dedicated her life to serve the poor and the sick.


Ms Wangechi fluently recites prayers and songs she learnt from Sister Nyaatha in Latin language in Gikondi, where the nun frequented.

Before cutting her birthday cake last Friday, the centenarian narrated how Sr Nyaatha loved to tie her horse at an ancient croton tree at their homestead before starting her mission of spreading the gospel.

Ms Wangechi’s second-born, Annah Wahitu, 72, recalls how she used to wake them very early every Sunday to pray before proceeding for Mass. “You can joke with mum on anything but not her religious belief,” she said.

Father Peter Githinji, the postulator in charge of causes of saints, beatification and canonisation at the Archdiocese of Nyeri, said the old Wangechi has been a key pillar for the Catholic Church.

But the celebrations’ climax was attained when Ms Wangechi wrote a brief letter to President Kenyatta, urging him to continue entrenching peace in the country.