If there is one Kenyan woman in the public stratosphere that I hold in the highest regard, other than Wangari Maathai of course, it is Esther Akoth. My reverence for this woman cannot be put into words, but I will try.
I love this woman. I love everything she embodies. She is all of the things we women have been conditioned to not be in order for the system to keep us ‘in our place’. She is confident, she is aggressive, she is a provider, and she is a dream chaser. She makes her own path. No one can tell Akothee no, and it is such a shame that more women like these are missing within the public domain especially in our entertainment industry.
She is unaffected by all the hateful and condescending criticisms that Kenyans throw at her on an almost every day basis. We do this because we want to break her spirit. We realize she is a force and we want to put her back in her ‘rightful’ place. She is shaking our patriarchal establishment to its core and most of us, including many of us women, were never ready for this change.
We ridicule her, her lifestyle, her music, her life choices, and we label her as a Kenyan laughing stock. But, as has become the norm for us Kenyans, we are living in denial. Akothee is not a laughing stock. The only laughing stock here is us Kenyans for not realizing the true magnitude of Akothee’s influence. She is a freaking revolution! And she is changing the narrative on a whole list of societal issues, the most important one being how single mothers, and women, in general, should view themselves.
One of the many things I have learned from her and her lifestyle is to embrace womanhood and be unapologetic about it. She is a sexual being and she is not ashamed of her body. She embraces her sexuality, and she flaunts it. She works on her body, and flaunts it some more. All those pictures of her in skimpy clothing, is for me, an appreciation of who she is and where she has come from. She looooves her body! She works hard for it. That body has given her five amazing kids, and she is literally paying tribute to the miracle that is the female body in each of those posts.
Multiple kids later, coupled with the stress of raising them on her own seemingly has not deterred her from fulfilling her idea of a healthy, sexy body. She has worked hard for that body and no one, not even a vast number of self-loathing Kenyan women, will stop her from flaunting it at every opportunity. That is more than inspirational for me as well as for the other countless women who know deep down they are not working hard enough to keep their bodies healthy and fit.
Another thing that completely blows my mind is her love life. She has had 5 kids, and her love life is still going strong. 5 kids and she still has some time to develop a sexual relationship with someone. She is a single mother of 5 kids, a musician, and a businesswoman, and she still has time to develop a serious relationship. Where does she find the energy?
This brings me to my next point. This woman is the mother of fresh starts. She has not given up on love even after her baby daddies left, one after the other. This woman has a backbone and a half. I am sure she has gone through a host of heartbreaks with the men that she has been involved with in the past, and yet, she does not let that phase her. From my armchair observations, it has actually helped her figure out the kind of man she really wants, and she is not willing to settle for less.
She is also the queen in my book for chastising the majority of women on their inability to stop relying on men for their upkeep. She has children with different fathers, yes. All these men are expected to pay child support, which is the law. However, child support or not, she hustles seriously in order to give her and her kids the best.
How many women in this country are using their children as meal tickets? How many?
You cannot put this woman down, regardless of what we and life throw at her. She should be lauded for her tenacity, her courage, and her perseverance. She deserves it.
She has risen above her circumstances countless of times, and this is something worth celebrating and idolizing.
She’s a real-life heroine and we better recognize.