Fare Thee Well Leonard Nimoy

The wise Nimoy in character as Spock

I have mourned him like an old friend. This loss feels so tangible, so real, and yet… we have never met. So, it’s really no surprise that I feel sad, at a loss, devastated even, and yet confused as to how his death can mean so much to me.

My childhood icon Spock is dead.

Spock doesn’t exist.

First Officer Spock was a character in the original television series of Star Trek, and the man himself, actor Leonard Nimoy, has passed away at 83 after living a full life… and I have sobbed as though I have lost a close friend.


Now, let’s hit the rewind button… back in the day when KBC was VOK or Voice of Kenya in full, we would rush home after school, keen to watch television. In those days tv started at 5 o’clock and I remember sitting in front of the the big box, the television set as we called it, with a bank screen staring back at me as white sound pierced through the otherwise silent room. At some point vertical colored lines would appear on the screen, this was an indication that it was nearly 5pm and the broadcast was about to start. After that I think we had the VOK logo and some music playing, then at 5pm on the dot the national anthem would play. I would gleefully fling myself on my feet, off the ground where I had lain on my belly, kicking my feet in the air, patiently waiting for ages for this very moment. Like a good citizen I would leap up and in our living room stand to attention, salute dramatically and sing our beautiful anthem…

“Oh God of all creation,
Bless this our land and nation…”

After the anthem a presenter would take us through the evening lineup and shows would then begin. Yes young’uns we have come a long, long, long way..

Well, back to Spock now and one of my most loved shows was Star Trek. The story of the starship Enterprise and its crew. The music would start and the epic voiced introduction would run,

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

For the next hour we were lost in a world of adventure, aliens, danger, friendship, alliances, loyalty, leadership and the First Officer Spock who was half human and half vulcan and always relied on his knowledge and logic to steer the leadership decisions of the gallant but highly spirited Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

I was entranced with the whole idea of Star Trek and now, decades later I genuinely and deeply mourn an iconic character who gave me so much adventure, instruction and joy. I do believe Leonard Nimoy knew just how loved his character was, but reading his poetry I realize that the man himself was a treasure, a special, gifted and spiritual being.

And so, what is it that this man planted in my soul that makes me wail at his passing? What have I taken from Spock and Nimoy that so deeply touches my spirit? I am sure the list is endless but there are three things in particular that I would like to share with you.

3. LLAP The most famous lines uttered by Spock are “Live Long and Prosper.”
Now, I believe that the words we speak have great power. When we wish blessings upon each other there is a positive power carried in these words that translates unconsciously and deeply into our psyche. When we speak ill, abuse or attack each other, it has a similar but deeply negative power. Live long and prosper is a great blessing that Nimoy himself wrote into the character of Spock and the people of Vulcan. This spirit of moral virtue, wishing well upon others, speaks volumes of the man. I can’t help but think it has deeply shaped who I am today.

2. Seek Your Own Destiny
Temperance is a state rarely celebrated and yet so enchanting. It is is a representation of a great virtue, of incredible grace. Temperance is moderation, but more than this it encompasses aspects of self control, discipline, intellect, choice. Like Spock, Nimoy lived an incredible life of accomplishment and yet he did not give himself up to the extremes that so many of his colleagues fell victim to. Nimoy celebrated his artistic gifts as an actor, writer, producer, director, photographer and poet. He lived a life that HE valued, not that others expected of him. Walk your own path, he seemed to say, seek your own destiny.

Nimoy once stated,

“I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.”

What an incredible lesson. What an incredible example.

1. Boldly Go…
As I ponder upon his most dramatic lesson for me, I can’t help but smile. There are so many reasons why this lesson stands out today. The media industry, that has been my home for 15 years now, is going through an intense period transformation. It is unchartered territory, and while we can project some trends we cannot predict the future. It is daunting… But as First Officer Spock would matter-of-factly say,

“Change is the essential process of all existence.”

While my true nature resents change, and seeks the comfort of familiarity, I have trained myself to live by the mantra ‘evolution is life’. I understand it is sometimes critical to let go, to transform, to adjust, in order to survive, to succeed and to thrive. This lesson is critical now as we seek to redefine television broadcast in Kenya and globally. Indeed, the power of content is incredible and this is a critical moment to take stock and boldly go into a new era. Thank you Nimoy for helping to mould me into a better and bolder person.

As I end my long and rambling thoughts on this man who I mourn and yet celebrate, I am determined to spread a spirit of positivity (Live Long and Prosper), embrace temperance and to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before, and in doing so to blaze a trail for others.

And to quote Nimoy’s beautiful poem ‘You and I Have Learned’,

You and I
have learned
the song of love…

The miracle is this
The more we share..
The more
We have


Dear Leonard, I hear the angels sing as they receive you, my soul looks forward to meeting yours in the afterlife. You lived a great life. LLAP.

Love, light & blessings :D

Ludicrous Ridicule aka Heavens Kiss


Ludicrous Ridicule aka Heavens Kiss

By Julie Gichuru

They thought they could abuse you,
They thought they’d take you down,
They didn’t realize each insult,
Was a thorn for a blessed crown.

He was despised and rejected;
Forsaken, and in grief,
Yet He’s the Lord and Saviour
Who washed His followers feet.

Humility & virtue,
And deep enduring love-
For God held him together;
From the fray, kept Him above.

Your pain is therefore treasure,
You walk the very same path
That He endured and never
Turned to the state of wrath.

They’ve called me many things
Some of which my heart embraced,
They hissed ‘Grandma’ and I was stunned,
For tis such a blessed state!

Did they think I’d be offended,
At the thought that I could be…
A grandmother of many,
With a blessed progeny?

It is in fact a blessing
To live so many years,
That you sit with your progeny,
And share their hopes & fears.

They called me a tribalist; me?
Really, such a cheek!
I’ve no time for human boxes,
Tis character I seek.

They attacked my Asian heritage
‘Pakistani woman’ they hissed at me!
I’m the child of an Afr-Asian marriage,
This blood runs deep, indeed!

My soul, like the African Savanah
Roams far and wild and free;
My blood’s like the Asian tiger
Fiery & passionate for all to see…

Like Malala – strong in grace;
Strengthened by her scars;
Beautiful, focused & clear,
As she reaches for the stars.

So don’t let them get you down,
You were created for big things!
In His image you were carved,
Your must fly on those great wings!

Embrace productive thinking,
Stare your mirror in the face,
Pledge with each whip to do great good;
He walked your path, He’s got your case!

And so do think on this,
When they try to steal your bliss,
What they call you is your blessing,
Each stone they fling is Heavens kiss!

Love, light & blessings :D

Assassins & Online Terror


Thursday morning 4.45am, the alarm is set for 5am but my body clock gets me up, pre-empting the alarm. So tired. The sleep is so sweet. I close my eyes for another 10 minutes and with great effort I pull my body up. Tony is waking too and I whisper ‘Good morning love…’ then rush into the bathroom, first. I have an early start and can’t afford any delays.

Half an hour later and I am on the road, heading to Safari Park Hotel for an one day conference that I am moderating. Arrival at Safari Park, 7am, I meet the team, introductions, pleasantries, a cup of coffee. Mmmm, smells so good! Kenyan coffee makes me so proud. Smiling to myself, I try to focus on the conversation, the brief on the conference. Next panelists are being introduced to me. I engage with them trying to get a sense of who they are and what their experience has been, ahead of the sessions. A short while later we are congregating in the main hall and I am still meeting panelists – already familiar and comfortable with 8 so far, just 3 more to go. Shortly before we begin the conference another panelist sits beside me and we exchange introductions. He works for a European supermarket chain as a buyer of agricultural produce in the East African region, but I detect a slight accent. “South African?” I ask, “Yes!” He replies and we have a laugh.

The organizer joins us, “It’s time to start Julie.” Great, but I still haven’t met two panelists! No worries, I will work it out as we go along. I head to the stage and take to the podium. Hundreds of faces are staring back at me, expectant. I breathe and smile… here we go… “Good morning and welcome ladies and gentlemen!”

The opening session rushes by, panel one starts and rolls along at good pace, we are discussing agriculture in Kenya and there are so many stakeholders present, I love the discussions and engagement. No break and we move straight into session 2, it’s is even faster paced than the first session, and before we know it it’s 1.45pm, time for the lunch break. I am hungry but I don’t like moderating on a full stomach, I realize I actually haven’t eaten since last night but I also haven’t looked at my email all day. “Aren’t you coming for lunch Julie?” a lady asks as I get seated at my table close to the stage, “No, thank you, I have too much to do, but I will have a coffee while I’m here.”

Just thinking of a hot, sweet black coffee makes me salivate. I smile at the thought as I open my mail box and start going through my emails, responding as swiftly and efficiently as I can. Then I see a colleagues email titled, In Case You Haven’t Seen This. What follows after I open it is shock, horror, disbelief and then, complete disgust.
I call Tony… “Honey, how are you? Have you seen this disgusting blog?” He hadn’t. He was mortified. We discussed it; legal recourse is the only way forward. The level of malice, mischief and irresponsibility is unbelievable. I only have half an hour for this break before we go into the third session, these discussions are critical towards empowering farmers. I think to myself, ‘Julie, you can’t be distracted.’

I go back to my notes for the afternoon session, but on second thought I open up my iPad again and tweet my feelings…

Just raised my head from a productive & busy day to find utter nonsense on a certain blog! This time we shall meet in court! #Disgusted

(Responding to tweets)
@JulieGichuru: utter lies! Shocked and disgusted!

(Responding to tweets)
@JulieGichuru: lol! Now I’m also on leave… Jeez… This is why we need serious laws on libel. Lord give me strength.

Praying for strength to forgive the clueless. Pls pray for me.
Back to work now, no time to be deviated… Have a blessed day :D

I look at my last tweet, no it is wrong, I must correct myself. These people are not simply clueless they have the clear intent to damage and destroy, to assassinate and terrorize. They are effectively online terrorists. I correct myself in the next tweet…

Praying for strength to forgive the malicious & clueless.
Pls pray for me.
Back to work now, no time to be deviated… Have a blessed day :D

People are trickling back into the room, “Hi Julie, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Two ladies are at my table and I stand to greet them… “ummm, do you mind if we take a selfie?” “Of course I don’t mind!” I laugh. Soon others follow. Selfies galore, it’s fun, though I need to get back to my notes. Someone is on the podium, “Please take your seats, it’s time to start the afternoon session. Julie, over to you!” Here we go again. No time to think of online terrorists and assassins! Time to work! I get my head back into the game and it’s farming, technology, financing, innovation, education, training, new curriculums, science and research. An incredibly productive day at the conference, but sadly a great fail for humanity on social media. Yet, I believe every challenge presents an opportunity.

So I have taken you through my day this past Thursday. Let me bring you into my intimate perspectives… For a short while on Thursday evening I tried to understand what on earth could motivate such minds. It takes serious depravity to stoop so low. To create and propagate lies about people you don’t know!

The optimist in me has a bit of a laugh, ‘Julie, someone needs to tell these guys they would make a much better living out of writing telenovelas’. The pragmatist in me recognizes the seriousness of the issue, they accuse my husband of owning a company that was registered when he was in high school and I was in primary school, a company we had never heard of till this Langata land saga came to the fore, owned by people we have never met. Even more heinous and despicable, are claims on the teargassing of children, which is utterly unacceptable and disgusting. As a champion for children’s empowerment through various platforms, which we personally fund, I have no words to express my disgust. Through the Natembea Campaign we have distributed thousands of pairs of shoes to children in Kyaume, Ahero, Kayole, Kasarani and Kitengela. In addition we personally have supported the growth of the Great Debaters Contest, to nurture a new generation of informed and civilized leaders and citizenry. We would never seek to hurt children. NEVER. Only to grow and empower them. Period. We pay for children to have a meal daily through the Hope Alive Feeding Campaign in Nyatwere School, Oyugis. On top of all this we sponsor school fees for a number of children across the country. But they accuse us of attacking children then post pictures of our own… Mens rea?

There are so many other shocking claims and allegations but possibly the most deranged is the one that refers to our mother, Salome. I am not even sure where to begin… Let me say this, my mother-in-law was a woman of incredible principle, loved and adored by her son, my husband, all her children and so many others. She was a sponsor of so many children, for whom she had such a great love. She herself had the spirit of a child, happy, playful, energetic! She died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and we pray for God to send her our kisses every night. May God forgive these online terrorists for even casting her name into this sea of of filth that they call a blog. A woman of grace, purpose, principle and integrity. We took a lot from Mum, yes, we did. Her work ethic, her energy, her entrepreneurial zeal and her philanthropic spirit of grace, her love. Worldly things, no… Nothing worldly at all, actually. But what we got was invaluable. Precious. Priceless.

Not a single Kenyan should have to endure this kind of affront. We are exploring every legal opportunity towards recourse. Whether it takes days, weeks, months or years we shall work patiently with our lawyers to ensure that those responsible for this online terrorism are held accountable for their actions and will not do this to anyone ever again. Precedent in this area has already been set. We shall seek to entrench it.

Enough time spent on their negativity. Let us move from the darkness into the light…

Lol! Just thinking, my line was blocked because I hadn’t paid my Safaricom Bill. Only cleared it last week after 3 months… Now if I knew we apparently had Safaricom shares… Loool! No! No! No! Stop it Julie! It’s not funny!
Yes… Truth be told, it isn’t funny at all.

Yet, as they have said throughout the ages, every cloud has a silver lining; We did not realize how much love and support exists out there and we want to take time to recognize, appreciate and thank you all. We can’t express in words the feeling of warmth and goodness that so many of you have shared with us. The calls, sms messages, the tweets and posts on various platforms. The concern, sympathy, support, love and appreciation is overwhelming and we cannot express our gratitude enough. Perhaps the best way to put this would be to say this prayer for you;

~May the good and great Lord cradle you in His arms through your good times and challenges.
May you always feel His warmth and love through the congregation of support from His followers.
May He keep His angels at your side protecting you, may He carry you on His wings.
This is what you have given us, through Him.
This is what we pray for you.~

We are grateful, thankful and humbled.
In ever challenge there is a blessing.
Never let the darkness pull you in.

As the wise and great Martin Luther King Jr said,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Love, light & blessings :D


The Actual Nation Lifestyle Interview


1. If given a chance to ask God only one question, what will it be?
That’s a tough one. I am very spiritual. As a follower of Christ I connect very closely with my Lord and Saviour. Honestly, I ask him numerous questions every day and seek his guidance through prayer and the living word. I don’t think I could single out one question that would be more important than all the others… Perhaps it would simple be a request for His grace for our family, all the days of our lives.

2. Share your journey and struggles as a news anchor.
It’s been close to 15 years now in media and its been an exciting journey. There have been challenges but I am not one to focus on the negative. In this industry hard work, passion and knowledge reap rewards in career. However rewards in career come with their own challenges and most importantly with increased responsibility. For me the journey in media has just started. There is much more to come God-willing.

3. What keeps you awake at night?
I’m a bit of an insomniac so many things keep me awake at night. Most of my creative thinking happens late at night so I often spend time writing my thoughts and ideas and working on short and long term plans.

4. What is it like, sitting there and interviewing prominent people on your shows Sunday Live and Africa Leadership Dialogues?
Prominent people are just people. I love having conversations with all kinds of people so I do enjoy my work. Having said that i also enjoy conversing with many people whom i meet on a daily basis. I love to seek new perspectives and to understand what drives our thinking. My greatest interest is to understand what makes people tick, their motivations and value systems… I am blessed to be able to take these conversations to wider audiences through my shows. As such I try to focus on positive and transformational thinking for Africa, an area that is sadly overlooked by most media platforms.

5. How do you prepare for your interviews?
I research the thematic area and the guest. I will usually have a brief chat with the guest just to relax them. You get a lot more out of an interview when your guest is comfortable and relaxed. I don’t like to create a confrontational environment as guests simply close up or revert to scripted answers. Finally, its important to keep your team in the loop so I will usually brief the Editors and Directors on the interview and get their feedback.

6. What goes on in your mind when driving to work?
Most recently I have been struck by the incredible transformation of our roads networks. I get quite nostalgic about the simple days of yore but I am also excited and inspired about the massive improvements In our infrastructure. These improvements offer new opportunities to so many, lower costs of transportation for traders, hopefully they will herald less hassle in getting around… Very exciting!

7. What is your comment on arguments that we have more glamour than brain on TV?
How does one evaluate this?
Is one in competition with the other?
We have an incredibly dynamic media, and looking at the quality of stakeholders across the board I would not agree with that statement.

10. What drives you?
My love for God, my passion for life, my devotion to family and responsibility to society.

11. What do you consider as the biggest career decision you ever have made?
I have made several big career decisions and each of them proved to be a huge factor in my growth both in career and also on knowledge.
The first was to move from my initial career path… I studied Law and then did an MBA with a focus on World Trade Law and International Business, but I ended up in media.
I have moved from television to radio, back to television. Across television platforms I made some key decisions, the first was to move from KTN to Nation TV where I played a key role in the launch of the NTV brand under the leadership of Ian Fernandes, working with a great team including Emmanuel Juma and Joe Ageyo. In 2008 I left NTV for Citizen TV in a very strategic move seeking growth, creative space and an increased understanding of local production. My tutelage with Wachira Waruru at Royal Media Services and the support of Chairman and Vice Chair Mr SK Macharia and Mrs Gathoni Macharia has been invaluable. Sometimes you have to take risks to succeed. However, risk must be calculated.

12. Figure this, you woke up left with only 10 minutes to interview prominent persons in the studio and you can’t trace your make up kit, what would you do?
That’s funny! I would wash my face, pull my hair back and tie it in a ponytail or pigtail and roll with the flow, au naturel.

Can you survive in a world without make ups?
Yes. When I am not working I don’t usually bother with it. It feels great to have my face ‘free’.

13. What is your average work day?
I don’t have an average workday. As a television host and entrepreneur my schedule is different from day to day. I host both Sunday Live and Africa Leadership Dialogues, on top of this I am working on growing 2 businesses, the fashion retail company MIMI.co.ke and production company Arimus Media Limited. On top of all this I engage in numerous development efforts. Each day is therefore very diverse. This works well for me as I would struggle with the tedium of a 9-5 work schedule.

14. Do you carry a book in your bag? Which book would you recommend to every woman?
I don’t carry a book in my bag as I read more on my ipad. I store lots of classic books on in my bookshelf. The works of Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain are like old friends. The Bible is also a must have close by. Again, I access is easily on my iPad.

15. What one woman leader/professional do you look up to and why?
There are many women I look up to. The grace and intelligence of Graca Machel inspires me. The passion and dedication of Wangari Maathai set a great example for me. In terms of faith and family I look to Mary the mother of Jesus, an incredible woman with such strength and grace of spirit.

16. How did you meet your spouse Anthony Gichuru?
By the grace of God Tony and I met through our circle of friends. He is close friends with the elder brother of my best friend of many years. We met in Nairobi shortly after I completed my studies in the UK.

17. Tell us something about your marriage proposal and subsequently wedding?
Haha! It’s interesting that we focus on events rather than the journey of life itself. We ask about proposals and weddings rather than love and marriage. We have been married close to eleven years now and together for fifteen. I thank God for his friendship and love and am utterly devoted to my family. I wish society could invest more time and focus on family, this is the key to growing a good society.

18. What is this thing that you love most about your partner?
There are so many things I love about my husband, it is hard to settle on just one. I love his intelligence and wit, his strength and resilience, his hard work and determination and most of all his faith in God and focus on family.

19. What expensive gift have you ever received/given to someone?
I think the greatest gifts are free. The greatest gift I ever received is the gift of children. The greatest gift I ever gave is the gift of children.

20. Would you adapt to a man’s world for you to succeed in life?
We live in a patriarchal society, adaptation is important for survival. I think it is important to adapt but to live true to your value systems. So while recognizing most of our cultures are patriarchal we must still ensure that we maintain and uphold all the values that are dear to us.

21. Do you drink? Which is your favourite drink?
Black coffee. Kenyan coffee.

22. What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to be a journalist?
Know your stuff, work hard, think deep, be unrelenting in your passion for growth and knowledge.

23. What makes you frown? What makes you smile?
Anything that hurts children affects me deeply.
Family, friends and children make me smile and happy.
God delights me.

24. Tell us about the one thing you would give up in your life?
We are told not to be attached to worldly things. I could give up material things, they mean very little.

25. From the records, at a tender age of 10, you wanted to be a criminal lawyer, what happened?
I studied law and found that in principle I disagreed with most of the laws on Evidence. I felt they were skewed and inequitable. I had a greater love and passion for commercial law. It was unexpected but I adapted.

26. Why do you love watching cartoons?
Haha, I don’t know why I love watching cartoons. I just do. Perhaps I am still very connected with my inner child. I would hate to ever lose touch with that inner spirit that embraces the simple things in life.

27. What’s the saddest moment in your life?
The loss of our son. It was devastating. The grace of The Lord has carried us through.

28. You are one of the top women in media, what has been the secret behind your success?
I think it is the grace of God and simple authenticity. I have a passion for what I do and I think it is evident. That passion reflects in the mood and spirit of our audiences and so we are able to connect. It is a blessing and a responsibility and I am thankful for it.

29. Most of the women in the industry have fallen by the way side, what has kept you going all this while?
I don’t think that is a correct assertion. There are many women in the industry who are doing incredible things, perhaps in different spaces. I have many role models to look up to from Muthoni Likimani to the kate Anne Wafula of KBC; from Catherine Kasavuli and Zain Verjee to Farida Karoney, Mercy Oburu and Caroline Mutoko. Kenyan women in media are doing great things!

30. What are the challenges of being a mother and at the same time a career woman of your level?
Every working woman faces challenges in achieving balance between work and career, irrespective of industry, title and job description. I always say its impossible to achieve balance, we must therefore set our our priorities and ensure that all around us understand these priorities. We must make ourselves invaluable by doing the best job possible in the workplace. Then use the good relationship with your employer to ensure you are ale to vest time and effort in family even as you do your job and grow your career.

31. Why did you leave Nation TV, now NTV, where you seemed to be thriving?
The season had come for increased knowledge and growth. It was time to do something different. The market needed it and I did to. I will always remember NTV with great fondness.

32. What is this one thing that you will never forget about?
Like an elephant (and I love elephants) there are many things that I don’t forget. But throughout my life I will always remember that an awesome God created me and chooses to love me. What an empowering thought! I hope you can remember that all the days of your life too!

Greater Understanding.


It was escalating and there was no way I was going to back down – it was a matter of principle! I stood my ground with a crowd of students jeering around me and wondered if anyone would have my back. On that sunny and pleasant afternoon, under the clear blue Thika sky, the mood at the Imani School dorms was explosive. A terrible emotional storm was brewing and I was right in the centre of it. It needed to happen though. It had been a long time coming, and this was my chance to handle the issue once and for all, God-willing. Continue reading →

Madiba is Gone…


Does the grass whisper…
“He is gone, He is gone…”
Do the clouds mourn his passing?
#RIPTataMandela Continue reading →

If— By Rudyard Kipling


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: Continue reading →

Ugali Beans & Bullets & the Fail Fast Doctrine

blog julie

“Ugali, Beans and Bullets!” he said.

Wow! It was profound!

“Ugali, Beans and Bullets!” I thought… Hmmmm. Continue reading →

Meeting Mandela

photo (28)

“He is in the conference hall right now and the plenary session is just about to end!”

As the words of the smart middle aged lady echoed in the hushed hotel lobby my heart started to beat rapidly and I broke into a sweat. Suddenly I felt quite weak, just the thought of seeing him in person was too much for me to bear! Continue reading →

Talk is Cheap


First they said,

“She is married to a very old man,

A veritable sugar daddy,
What a terrible plan!” Continue reading →