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Communication graduate refused to let epilepsy tie her down

By | December 2nd 2009

By Harold Ayodo

Since she was in primary school her education was disrupted by bouts of epilepsy but Wangeci Kanyeki recently graduated at the top of her class.

She did not just top her communication class at Daystar University. Kanyeki became the first communication student to clinch the overall Faculty of Arts merit trophy. "As I struggled with epilepsy for 12 years I never thought I would make it to university let alone excel," Kanyeki says.

Following each bout of epilepsy she would spend several days in hospital. "I often suffered an attack while in class. After some time I got the right medication mix that helped me focus on my education," she says.

Wangeci Kanyeki struggled with epilepsy but excelled at Daystar University. [Photo: Evans habil]

Although she passed KCSE Kanyeki delayed joining university because she got married and had a baby. "I had to care for my children when they were young but did not give up hope of advancing my education," says the mother of two.

When her children started school she enrolled for a BA in Communication course at Daystar.

"I first registered for evening classes but changed to full-time lectures," Kanyeki says.

"At first it was difficult to concentrate on lectures because all I could thing about was my children," she recalls. But before long she was taking things in her stride.

She read ahead of and after lectures. "I never forgot that I was out of school for long time and had to work hard to catch up," Kanyeki says.


She would wake up at 3am to read until 6am as she prepared breakfast for the family.

Her husband helped with the household chores.

"It would not have been possible for me to read and do assignments without his support," she says.

But it was not easy balancing being a mother, wife and student.

"My social life was the first casualty as I barely had time for my friends…I used my spare time to study," she says.

Kanyeki turned down five jobs during her four years at Daystar.

But her determination paid off. Maintaining a GPA of about 3.6 of 4.0 points since first year, she always made the dean’s list.

Although she is happy with her achievements, the Moi Avenue Primary School and Parklands Arya Girls High School old girl wishes she had the chance to study her dream course —law.

Kanyeki wants to advance her education. "The two academic awards prove anything is possible if you put your mind to it," she says.

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