Esther Wanjiru Munyi

Q: In a few words, tell us a little bit about who you are and “what you do”? 

A: My name is Esther Wanjiru Munyi. My friends and family call me Ciirü (Pronounced shiro). I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya but I now reside in Johannesburg. 

I am a free spirit, always curious, adventurous and looking for something new to learn or discover. A lot of people would say that I am full of energy. 

Professionally, I am a business intelligence developer, working in the field of IT, specialising in the banking and retail industries. 

I also have a passion for fashion, photography and kizomba. 

Q: How long have you been involved in “what you do”? Did you start out wanting to do this career or was there something else you had in mind?

A: I have been in IT for the past seven years. 

I always knew that I would end up in a field where I work with technology. My dad is a flight engineer and has a great passion for technology and gadgets which influenced me a lot growing up. As a child we had a home computer called Spectrum Sinclair which we used to play games on. I was fascinated with how my dad had to program the whole gaming software before we could actually play any games on it.

My mother modelled when she was younger and was once a data programmer that worked with one of the first mainframe computers in Kenya. She had a great taste in style and instilled in my sisters and me the importance of self-improvement. She showed us how to strive to be women of elegance and excellence. She also encouraged us to get involved in various things and not focus on only one thing.

Q: What pushes you to wake up every day and do what you do? What’s your source of strength? 

A: Knowing that God has blessed me to do what I love and my appreciation of this gets me going every day. My parents sacrificed a lot to provide for my sisters and myself, so I also wake up every day trying to show my gratitude.

Q: What are the most and least rewarding aspects of what you do?

A: I find myself constantly trying to prove my worth and expertise as a woman and as a person of foreign origin. I never let this deter or discourage me; in fact it fuels my desire to keep doing better. 

Knowing that I helped solve a problem and improved people’s lives makes what I do very rewarding.

Q: Besides your career, are there other things you’re involved in?

A: I have been fortunate to model part time, which has enabled be to be in a number of TV commercials, print adverts and fashion shoots for a couple of Pan-African countries.

Q: What do you think has stayed the same about you throughout life? What do you think has changed?

A: I’m always smiling, that will never change. 

Over the years my attitude has changed. I set my own limits, I am my own biggest critic and I try not to judge others. 

Q: What do you feel have been the important successes in your life? The frustrations?

A: Successes

Standing on my own two feet without depending on anybody financially or emotionally. 

Hearing my dad say that he is proud of me and having him come to me for advice or support is a real success in my books. 

Having friends and family tell me that I have inspired them in one way or another. 

Completing two degrees, a number of IT professional certifications and being invited to be a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Losing 16kgs in 8months was also a big accomplishment for me.

Q: What’s the most difficult thing that ever happened to you? How did you deal with it? Was it a turning point in your life?

A: Dealing with the loss of my mother was heart breaking and life changing. Support from family and friends, was paramount to how I managed coped. 

Q: Do you have any hobbies or special interests? Do you enjoy any particular sports? What do you do on Weekends?

A: 

I love socialising meeting new people, listening to their stories and learning new things. 

I love listening and dancing to Kizomba and Tarraxhinha. I meet with friends and people with the same common interest twice a month to dance and enjoy the music. 

I love to travel, so a bunch of friends and I make a point to travel out of town every two to three months. We always find hidden gems across South Africa or across the border. 

Being presentable and expressing myself through fashion is one thing I love to do. I’m quite tall and due to my height restriction, I find it hard to find clothes that fit well. Therefore, I dabble in designing clothes for myself which are made by an amazing Ghanaian seamstress. I love African print which is an influence from my good friend Lutho Vuso who designs clothes using west African fabric. 

Q: What things are most important to you now? Why?

A: 

God

Loved ones

Spiritual/physical/emotional wellbeing

Living with no regrets

Enjoying what life has to offer

Q: Who are three people in history you admire most and why?

A: 

Helen Nyambura Munyi: My mother was a real life super woman. She had no fear whatsoever. She was a wife, a mother, a student, a business woman, philanthropist, friend and the most sophisticated woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. 

Wangari Mathaai: She was the founder of the green belt movement and won a noble prize for her work as an environmentalist and political activist. She endured name calling, ridicule and rejection. Yet she persevered and followed through with her cause.

Q: What’s the one thing you've always wanted but still don’t have?

A: A flat tummy!! 

Q: What do you think are your three best qualities? Your three worst?

A: I think I’m kind, loving and great at solving problems. 

I’m very impatient, too trusting and I often procrastinate.

Q: Any “words of advice” to the youth of today? What platform of communication would you prefer for them to reach out to you? Facebook, twitter, Email?

A: I always get nervous when someone asks me the question “Who are you” or “what do you do”. I think it implies that one has to be affiliated with something or someone in order to be deemed as a person of importance. 

These labels give us a sense of legitimacy, belonging and accomplishment. This can be quite daunting especially if one does not have a connection to anything. 

I believe a lot of young people get lost in the journey of finding themselves.

I encourage the youth to firstly accept and love the body and mind they have been given. Understand their limits, set their own standards and not be afraid to explore and discover new things. 

Q: Lastly, If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why? 

A: Preservation of the dignity of oppressed and vulnerable people. Rape, violence and abuse rob people of their 

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