It is almost as though ‘character development’ has been a major theme this year if all the break-ups we have witnessed are anything to go by.
The Kenyan slang statement is used to playfully poke humour at the heart-wrenching feeling of a bitter split.
Locally, we often joke that after you have been hit with a proper period of 'character development', it is time “ya kuoga na kurudi soko”, roughly translated to taking a shower and getting back into the dating scene.
Locally, we have witnessed break-ups that have made headlines month on month this year. We take a look at some high-profile splits of 2023.
Tyler Mbaya and Georgina Njenga
The former Machachari actor Tyler and his influencer ex Georgina looked picture-perfect when they were together, but it all came crashing down for the young couple this year.
The 23-year-old actor and his beau shocked fans when they announced that they were going their separate ways in July, with Georgina opening up further about the split in August. It all started with Georgina’s matter-of-factly Instagram Stories response to a fan who had asked if she and Tyler were still together.
“No, we broke up,” she wrote. In August, Georgina said in an interview that the break-up was mutual.
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Speaking about her decision to tell fans that they had broken up, she said: “Tulikuwa tumewachana for long, and anything I did, people were still confused. We decided, let’s just announce so that it's clear to everyone because when we started dating, we announced it too.”
She said that when the relationship started, she was 18 years old, and by the time of the split, she and Tyler had been living together. The former couple share a one-year-old daughter.
Jackie Matubia and Blessing Lung’aho
Another pair that was hit with 'character development' were the actors Jackie Matubia and Blessing Lung’aho.
Jackie Matubia, known for her acting roles in local productions like Tahidi High and Zora met Blessing in 2020, and the two went public with their relationship the next year. The former lovebirds share a one-year-old daughter and were engaged before their split. Blessing went down on bended knee to pop the question in April 2022.
The two once thrilled fans with loved-up photoshoots uploaded online, as well as by documenting parts of their life together on YouTube vlogs. After months of speculation about a split by fans, Jackie seemingly confirmed the reports that she and Blessing had called it quits in a cryptic post in July this year.
The actress took to her Instagram account where she announced that she is a “proud single mother of two.” She then revealed that she had not spoken to her ex-fiancé in months while on an interview with radio personality Ankali Ray.
"I am so tired...Things happen... Do I look like I can wrong someone? Me? People who are wronged do not keep quiet those who wrong others on the contrary are the ones who keep quiet on things... mapenzi si mchezo... Me and him it has been months since we talked," she said.
Blessing on the other hand has remained mum about the split, and has instead taken to his socials to post images with different ‘female friends’, some for brand endorsements, leaving his 323,000 Instagram followers perplexed.
Kate Actress and Philip Karanja
The celebrated actress Catherine Kamau and her super-director beau Philip Karanja were by all definitions a power couple. Fans may miss their enviable red-carpet appearances and snippets of beautiful family moments shared on social media, now that the two are no longer together.
In a September 19 statement seen by The Standard Entertainment and uploaded on Kate’s Instagram Stories, the two revealed that they had already been split up for a while. The news hit major headlines immediately and was a confirmation of speculation that there had been trouble in paradise for some time.
“We concluded to end our marriage a long while ago and are separated. We sincerely request everyone to honour our wishes for privacy for us and our children,” the statement, signed by Kate and Phil read.
This marked the end of their union after six years, with the celebrity couple having tied the knot in 2017. When Kate and Phil met on the set of the TV series Mother-In-Law between 2012- 2013, Kate was already a mum to a young son and after getting together, they welcomed a daughter in 2019.
She opened up about finding love as a single mum in a 2021 interview with the YouTuber Fashionable Stepmum.
“People don’t understand out there- that there are so many reasons why women are single mothers… You are incredible and just by overcoming what you have managed to as a single mother, no one is doing you a favour by being with you,” she said of the stigma that surrounds single mums in our society.
She added: “When Phil and I started dating, he told me, ‘You know why I took you seriously? It’s because of the way you love your son.’”
The actress then spoke about Phil’s support as she took her son home from his grandmother’s house when she was finally financially stable, as she dove deeper into qualities that drew her to her film director beau early on.
“Phil is one in a million,” she gushed. The pair have not disclosed the reason for their split, with Phil taking to his Instagram Stories to write that he and Kate “remain as friends, co-parents and business partners.”
Vera Sidika and Brown Mauzo
When socialite Vera Sidika makes an announcement, fans often find themselves double-checking and being sceptical. That’s because we never know whether it is a gimmick, or whether it is real.
But as the year draws to a close, it is becoming clear that the influencer and the father of her children, singer Brown Mauzo, may be truly broken up after all. News of the split hit tabloids and entertainment sites in August when Brown Mauzo revealed the information through his Instagram page.
The Moyo Wangu singer wrote: “Dear friends and supporters, I wanted to take a moment to share some personal news. After much consideration, Vera Sidika and I have decided to part ways. Our journey together has been filled with unforgettable moments, but we have reached a point where it's best for both of us and our babies, Asia Brown and Ice Brown, to move forward separately.”
He then thanked fans for their support, before adding, “We will always cherish the moments we’ve created together.” But this former pair truly embodies kuoga na kurudi soko, as Vera immediately threw herself into travel and work, before being spotted with different ‘friends’ that sparked dating rumours.
Brown has now been seen spending time with a fast-rising influencer and video vixen, known on Instagram as Kabinga Juniour.
“I love you like I have never loved in my life, so love me like you never loved in your life,” he captioned a November 3 post of himself and Kabinga, as fans in the comments pondered over whether this is a real budding relationship, or clout-chasing ahead of a song release.
Trouble in Vera and Brown’s marriage may have been brewing since June when Vera shared cryptic sentiments on social media.
At the time, she held firmly that she would not use a break-up for clout, writing: “Break-up clouts are lame, overused and retired. I have never done a break-up clout in over five years. I always have unique ideas if I want to chase clout and you all know it, not this. Please just stop forcing it. Not everything in life revolves around clout. I can never do a break-up clout, anything else but that. Whatever happens, happens in real life.”
Akothee and Dennis Schweizer
Singer and socialite Esther Akoth shook up the internet this year, when, in true Akothee fashion, she shared that she had been struggling mentally barely two months after her fairytale wedding.
Her April wedding to Dennis Schweizer, who is nicknamed ‘Omosh’ by fans, was one of the biggest moments in the local entertainment scene this year, but the marriage didn’t last long.
The outspoken socialite revealed on a TikTok live session that she and Omosh had split up in June. “We had to pack our bags out of that relationship because it was not a relationship. I'm one person who doesn't force issues. When it is not working for me, it is not just working,” Akothee said.
She added: "I normally walk out of my relationships when am still in the relationship. When I was on honeymoon I found out some things that I could not keep up with. In July he asked me if I would leave him, but I told him, no baby, I love you but I had already left,” she said.
Lupita Nyongó and Selema Masekela
The Oscar-winning Lupita Nyongó was not spared of 'character development' this year, as her relationship with TV host Selema Masekela came to an end.
Actress Lupita announced that they had called it quits after a year together in an emotional Instagram post in October. It was a difficult split for Lupita, who cited deception and expressed the heartache she had gone through.
She wrote: “I am reminded that the magnitude of the pain I am feeling is equal to the measure of my capacity for love. And so, I am choosing to face the pain, cultivating the courage to meet my life exactly as it is, and trusting that this too shall pass. The promise, they say, is that a tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. I hope it’s true…” she wrote.”