BY WANJA KIMANI
Former Tahidi High actress Christine Njeri better known as Makena has laid bare her life growing up with a violent father , discovering her mother;s HIV/AIDS status and the post traumatic depression she is battling.
In an interview with NTV weekly talk show Unscripted, with Grace Msalame, Makena who currently works with BBC revealed a childhood life of trauma, stigma from neighbours due to her mother’s HIV status and the constant moving of houses to escape domestic violence from her father.
It is a sad story of how domestic violence and a broken home can impact on children who later in their adult years battle with depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness.
“It was on five birthday when I first experienced my father’s violence, he came home one night drunk and smashed my birthday cake on the wall, I was broken, and that was the beginning of a twenty year long of seeing my father violent, ” Makena tells Ms Msalame.
“We moved over over 15 times, when dad’s violence became too much, but mum would still go back, there are people who stay in relationships because they want the kids to have a better education, that was always my mum’s education, but what is fancy school with trauma.”
“Violence was one dynamic, then cheating came into play and I would bump into my father in town with different women, it became something that was obvious, not hidden anymore,” the former Tahidi High actress narrated.
This led to Makena’s mother going to a silent coma for three months, due to nervous breakdown caused by severe depression.
Then another discovery of ARVs while cleaning her mother’s room would shatter her life, beginning a journey of stigma from neighbours who would whisper behind their backs and discrimination in school.
“You would constantly hear murmurs about our homestead and people knew about my dad behavior, stigma did damage to me, I watched my mum’s health deteriorate, going from using clutches to using a wheelchair.”
Her mother would later pass on in 2013 and Njeri chose not to speak to her father for two years until 2015 when he was on his deathbed.
She never visited her father in the hospital for a longtime until one day when her brother succeeded in convincing her just days before he passed on.
“He couldn’t talk, he was very sick and I told him, ‘Daddy I forgive you for everything you took us through. I set you free.”
Makena is currently planning to support and talk to children who are affected by HIV as well as domestic violence.