The Late Benga musician Joseph Kamaru’s sister, Catherine Muthoni — who stole the show at the artiste’s funeral service on October 11, 2018 in Murang’a — passed on three months ago.
Muthoni melted Kenyans’ hearts with her playful interaction with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had attended the service.
Until recently when videos of Muthoni, popularly known as Celina, sharing a hearty laugh with President Kenyatta resurfaced on social media, very few people knew that Celina was, actually, no more.
Some, even thought the videos were taken at Kabarak University Grounds, where the Late President Daniel Moi’s funeral service was held.
One of her four children told K24 Digital on Friday, February 14, that Celina died on November 5, 2019 after suffering two consecutive strokes at her Nakuru home in late October and early November 2019.
“She was buried at her Embu farm on November 13,” said the son, who sought anonymity.
“At the time of her death, she was aged 68. As family, we would say her death was peaceful,” added Celina’s son.
In an interview with Citizen Television aired on October 12, 2018, Celina said after briefly meeting President Kenyatta at Muthithi Primary School where Kamaru’s funeral service was held, she wished she could meet the Head of State at State House-Nairobi and enjoy a meat meal with him.
“Nikipata mtu wa kunipeleka, nitaenda na mimi pia nikakule kanyama (When somebody offers to take me to State House, I will go there and have a meat meal with the president),” she said.
Her son tells us that Celina’s wish did not materialise, as she lost her life before she could book a date with President Kenyatta.
“That was one of her biggest wishes that never came to pass,” said the son.
Celina’s friendship with President Kenyatta spanned at least 50 years.
In the 1960s, when Uhuru was hardly 10 years old, Celina, a musician at the time, would go to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s Gatundu home, where he and other artistes would entertain the then-president. It was at Mzee’s home where Celina and the young Uhuru struck a friendship.
In her interview with K24 Television aired on October 12, 2018, Celina said so formidable was her friendship with the young Uhuru that the president’s son would sneak into the house and bring only her bottles of soda drink, and not the other entertainers.
And, when the two met again — over 50 years later at Kamaru’s funeral — Celina and Uhuru reminisced about the old days, and laughed uncontrollably. So indulging was their conversation that President Kenyatta at one point was seen blushing as he covered his face with his hands.
When Celina was asked to divulge details of the conversation that seemed so interesting, she told K24 Television: “There was nothing in particular we were talking about. I only asked him how he was doing, and he too asked about my well-being. Ni yeye aliniongelesha, nikamkumbusha… ni wewe ulikuwa unaenda kuniletea soda… ndiyo akacheka (He called me to where he was seated. I reminded him how he used to give me bottles of soda when I visited his father’s Gatundu home. It was then that he burst out laughing),” said Celina.
Celina said her relationship with the Kenyattas was so strong that she knew nearly everyone in the first president’s immediate family.
“I first knew the Kenyatta’s through Uhuru’s cousin, Ngengi Muigai,” she told K24 television.
Celina is survived by four children (three sons and one daughter). May her soul continue resting in peace.
Her popular brother, Joseph Kamaru, died at the MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi on October 3, 2018, after a short illness. Kamaru died aged 79.