Julie Gichuru: First African Woman to Receive the Martin Luther King Salute to Greatness

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Julie Gichuru is an entrepreneur, a media personality and a producer. She is one of the influential and inspirational women in the African continent who has made tremendous marks and success in a variety of fields, particularly in the media which appears to be her main passion as well as several empowerment and humanitarian endeavors.

Julie Gichuru is of mixed origin with an Indian father and mother a Kikuyu from the Kiambu region of Kenya. Her father’s family is originally from Kashmir and migrated to Kenya in the early 1900s to work on the railway line being built by the British.

Julie was born on February 2, 1965. She  started off her education at St Christophers School in Nairobi and at the age of eight attended the Green Herald in Bangladesh where her father was posted for military training. On returning to Kenya Julie spent a term at Karen C school based in Karen before transferring to Loreto Convent Msongari in Standard Four. In Form 2 Julie convinced her parents to transfer her from the local 8-4-4 system to a GCE boarding school and she joined Imani School in Thika for Form 3 and 4. After this she spent two Semesters at USIU before transferring to UK where she did a one year pre-University Course at Warwick University. Julie then accepted a place at the University of Wales, Cardiff for her Law Degree. After that she worked for a year to help finance her Masters degree in Business Administration at the same University. For a brief period Julie did her pupillage at Hamilton, Harrison & Matthews Advocates in Nairobi before pursuing a different career path in the media.

After Julie did her masters in Law, she didn’t want to join the bar because that meant that she would go a year without any pay and she needed to support herself and her grandmother. She preferred trying her luck in the media. She went to KTN and fortunately she passed the interview and was supposed to be in the business and legal section. While at  KTN she got a better offer at Capital FM before moving to television as a reporter and News Anchor at Kenya Television Network, part of The Standard Group. During her time there, she launched investigative series The Inside Story, focused on corruption, crime injustices and inequity in Kenya. She later worked to NTV before moving to Royal Media Services.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arimus Media Limited, a production house focused on quality AFRICAN content, and MIMI HOLDINGS LTD, a fashion retail business, Julie conceptualized and hosts the Africa Leadership Dialogues, a syndicated current affairs program with a focus on African development and growth. She is also a TV Host with East Africa’s leading broadcaster Citizen TV. Her prime time news and current affairs show Sunday Live with Julie Gichuru airs weekly.

Julie has had an illustrious career in the media which spans over the past 15 years across the fields of broadcast, print and digital media. She ran lifestyle magazine Quest between 2000 and 2002. She worked as a news presenter and hosted a hard hitting radio talk show at Capital FM before transiting to television where she has created and hosted a record number of highly successful news and current affairs shows across a number of media houses.

In 2008 Julie launched Citizen TV, host of the groundbreaking news show Sunday Live with Julie Gichuru; a news and current affairs show which redefined the style and delivery of news in Kenya.

To facilitator reconciliation and healing for victims and perpetrators of post-election violence in Kenya, Julie in 2009 conceived the peace initiative, Fist to Five for Change, which she also hosted. From the first Kenyan investigative TV series, The Inside Story, to various current affairs shows including the celebrated post-election peace specials Voices of Reason, Gichuru has remained a pioneer of a number of remarkable TV shows.

Julie and her husband, an entrepreneur Anthony Gichuru, established The Footprints Africa Foundation which  has been involved in several forms and dimensions been a pillar of empowerment for the Kenyan people;  empowering and growing healthy, dignified and informed societies in the region,  supporting the Great Debaters Contest and the Africa Leadership Dialogues; both platforms dedicated to discussion and exchange of ideas on African challenges and opportunities,  televised for impact across millions of households across Kenya. Apart from these, the foundation also supports the Natembea Campaign launched by a youth group called the Gisma Group which empowers people with health and hygiene information and delivers shoes to schools in highly disadvantaged areas.

FAF has a philosophy of giving people a chance to make a mark in life, and thus imprint its name in the sands of time. Consequently, thousands of children across Kenya have been positively affected the Natembea Campaign.

Julie also runs an initiative Arimus Media, an interactive production group consisting of creatives, developers, digital producers, film producers, directors and crew. They create unique productions of full-fledged features, documentaries, commercials, community service responsibility (CSR) coverage, events, music, plays and soaps and corporate video profiles for various companies and organizations.

Anthony Gichuru, Julie Gichuru’s husband is a practicing pilot. Anthony Gichuru comes from a wealthy family and his family is amongst one of the richest families in Kenya. Little is known about Anthony as Julie Gichuru usually goes out of her way to shield her family from the public limelight

On the other hand, Julie Gichuru does not come from a wealthy family. Her father worked in the military and had some businesses on the side. Going for her college education put a financial strain on the family and her father had to struggle to see her through college.

Passionate about family, Julie and Anthony have had 5 children. She is also passionate about maternal healthcare and is an ambassador of the AMREF Stand Up for African Mothers campaign which seeks to train over 15,000 midwives across East Africa as well as a UNICEF Ambassador for breast feeding.

She says, “We have a responsibility to nurture and grow the younger generation and our primary role is vested in the family unit.”

Julie’s string of awards in recognition of her impactful strides on society and humanity include the following:

  • She is the first African woman to receive the Martin Luther King Salute to Greatness for advocacy of non-violence following the 2007 election in Kenya.
  • Julie was declared a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010.
  • She was awarded the Order of the Golden Warrior for her contribution towards nation building by President Mwai Kibaki in 2011.
  • Julie has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 20 Young Power Women in Africa.
  • Recently Julie was recognized in the WIE list of 60 most influential African women in the world.

 

Africh Royale

Africh Royale

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