I learnt with great sadness, the passing of Catherine Kasavuli on the night of Thursday, December 29 and on behalf of KTN and the Standard Group we offer our sincere condolences to her son Martin, her family, and her friends.
Catherine was a public figure, gracing our TV screens since the 1990s. She started off with a stint at KBC, but it was at KTN that her star really shone through, and she became a constant companion to many Kenyan households, as she read the daily TV news bulletins.
Though she would later leave KTN, it was her years at KTN that thoroughly cemented her name and legacy as an icon in Kenya broadcast news. She was a dedicated professional, graceful in her speech and mien and a true representation of a dignified African woman.
After leaving KTN, she went on to work with Citizen TV and in recent years re-joined Kenya’s Public broadcaster KBC where she was working until she fell ill. It was perhaps an orchestration of fate that her career in media should be capped off where it all started, at KBC.
I worked with Kasavuli at KTN in the early years specifically the period 1998 -2003 and she was always affable and confident not just on TV, but in person as well.
In later years when I re-joined the Standard Group, we met several times in 2017 when she conducted a media training programme for our news presenters.
When I think about Catherine, there is the public persona – the media professional who dominated our TV screens over the years. On a personal level, there are moments in time that I cherish and that I will remember her by.
One evening many years ago, when my wife was pregnant with our firstborn, she needed to rush to the hospital and Catherine offered to drop her at the hospital.
I never got to know about it until much later and even when my wife mentioned it, the passage of time relegated that act of kindness to the recesses of my memory.
Recently, my wife and I reconnected with Catherine when one Sunday morning after a church service, I turned around and there she was, Catherine Kasavuli.
She looked somewhat frail, but she had a smile and her signature dignified mien. We had a great time catching up and had the opportunity to laugh, share and reminisce. We spoke several times thereafter, on phone.
And then sometime in early November, we learnt that she had been taken ill and had been admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital. She was not accessible on her phone but I managed to get in touch with her son Martin, who updated me on her health condition.
The next day I went to check on her and walked into the labyrinth that is Kenyatta National hospital looking for her room. Asking some of the hospital nurses and attendants where Catherine Kasavuli was, it was strange that the name didn’t seem to register with them as I had anticipated. I finally tracked her but found her asleep having just gone through a dialysis session.
Later, together with my wife, we visited her again and this time she was awake, but looking like a pale shadow of her true self. She was genuinely excited to see my wife and me.
“Come here my baby girl” she called to my wife. As they hugged, the recesses of my memory opened and the act of kindness she had shown my wife so many years ago – driving her to the hospital – came back to me.
And at that moment it dawned on me that the most meaningful things in life are the innocuous, innocent gestures – of love, of friendship, of kindness – that we give to others. I got to thank her - finally. Twenty years later!
In those moments at the hospital, watching her holding strong in her faith in God despite the ravages of sickness, I realised she was going to be okay. Victorious. No matter what.
Catherine’s contribution to Kenya’s broadcast news and the media industry, in general, was immense and well-acknowledged.
At KTN and the Standard Group, we celebrate her for the positive impact and mentorship of so many young professionals who came after her.
Thank you Catherine. We celebrate your life.
- Joe Munene, MD Broadcast Standard Group