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Lydia Manyasi: The art teacher who became a screen siren

Achieving Woman
 Lydia Manyasi during the peak of her career at KTN

From the early days of television (and radio) up to the present, female broadcasters have fought for a place in Kenyan broadcasting.

In the early 1990’s journalism in Kenya was a man’s domain and it is women like Lydia Manyasi who changed all of that by paving the way for female broadcast journalists in the country.

In 1991, Manyasi, a fine art teacher at the Jamhuri High school got wind of a continuity announcer position at KTN Channel 62 and it was here that Manyasi made her television debut.

While reading the teleprompter she mispronounced the word ‘corruption’ causing her to smile before continuing with the screen test.

The smile according to her interviewers is what set her apart from the rest and that very afternoon she was called to take up the job at the station.

At the time when she started her career in television it was a field dominated by men however the fact that she did not fit in the boys’ club is what pushed her to excel in her career.

Every detail about Manyasi was natural from the cornrows she wore on screen to the lovely way she would brush her hair which made men fall in love with her and women want to be her.

Not only was she making a statement in her as a career woman but she also set the pace in creating a timeless sense of style.

Manyasi’s position as a continuity announcer is now antiquated since she had to talk about forthcoming programmes when KTN was spearheading its way into the private television market.

 Lydia Manyasi during the peak of her career at KTN

Her work involved appearing on screen to inform viewers what to expect next, besides creating hype for forthcoming programmes and that she did with so much ease.

She was a trendsetter, a beautiful and charismatic woman who spoke eloquently with most people thinking she has pursued a degree in English which was not the case.

Manyasi graduated from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art and her ability to crotchet, weave, sculpt and even draw is perhaps the reason why she easily mastered the art of entertaining

She later started the Kiboko club at KTN which was known as Kids Club at the time which still runs to date.

Sunday was a busy day for Manyasi who also starred in the weekly current affairs program known as Panorama and the cartoon chunk show.

Manyasi would also from time to time anchor the news and sports until her exit in 2002.

 She was the Program Acquisition Manager at KTN before she left her career in the media and her job included participating in program acquisition by recommending suitable programs for purchase.

It is all thanks to her that shows such as 7th Heaven, LA Law, Family Matters, Mexican Soap operas like Esmeralda and Ally McBeal aired for millions of Kenyans to watch.

After acquiring her Master’s Degree from University of Nairobi, she has led a quiet life away from our television screen to work for the Red Cross briefly before moving to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

The Assistant Director of Education Training and Public Awareness at EACC still interacts with the media from time to time in her career since her job entails educating the public.

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