Fame is a dangerous drug. It comes with its own share of consequences, wrote Donna Rockwell, a scholar, and author.
According to online sources, fame comes along with the celebrity status which changes and alters a person’s life completely. In Kenya for instance, there are people who are self-proclaimed celebrities due to what they are recognized for, talent or job. Ideally, there are those who are just famous for one thing or the other, intentionally or unintentional.
Online sensations have in the recent past increased through creating short videos, memes and jokes that leave social media users in stitches. Some of these people have climbed into the ladder of success through such scenarios and made successful careers. However, others’ rise to fame quickly disappeared as fast as they got it.
The 2017 general elections was one of the most historic one, coupled with violence, tribalism and bloodshed.
- Martin Kamotho (Githeri Man)
Martin Kamotho, popularly known as “Githeri Man” became a social media sensation after turning up to vote in the wee hours of the morning armed with a paper bag of Githeri.
He was widely celebrated and even praised for relieving stress at the time when the country was going through a dark time.
— mmnjug™ (@mmnjug) August 9, 2020
For instance, his photos and memes were circulated all over social media thus attracting the attention of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He received offers from different brands with others pledging to dress him in suits and sponsor his business to get him out of poverty.
He even received the Head of State Commendation and a gift of Sh100,000 from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
However, days that followed were a nightmare. Kamotho’s story took a different twist after he was found totally drunk, struggling with alcohol abuse and depression.
His story faded and there is currently very little to remember about him, although there are reports that he is in rehab.
2. Wilson Mutura and Wife Ann Mutura.
The story detailed the couple in Sh100 cheap wedding that made headlines in Nairobi attracting different sponsors and well-wishers.
— falimon Presh (@falimonifeanyi) August 31, 2017
The couple’s story was that of faith, pure, genuine love who wanted to be together but could not afford the cost of a decent wedding. This did not stop their love as they planned and budgeted with Sh100 to solidify their union.
Luck struck from all corners and they received endorsements. They received a honeymoon retreat by Bonfire Adventures, Diamond Properties also invested an eight-acre plot valued at half a million shillings with a Sh320,000 greenhouse and capsicum crop in Isinya, Kajiado County.
Years later, their fairytale came to an end as they were forced to sell items in their shops since they could not sustain their livelihood. The husband, Wilson Mutura went back on the road selling apples to meet their daily needs.
3. Sammie Githae and Virginia Njeri (Street Couple).
The story of Sammy Githae (Blackie) and Virginia Njeri made headlines and they became celebrities overnight after pictures of them were circulated capturing Valentine’s makeover/ transformation shoot.
At their height of their newly acquired stardom, the couple was treated to a holiday in Mombasa and boarded a flight to the coastal region among other endorsements. They rode on their new fame and pledged to stick to each other for the longterm benefits.
However, their fame was shortlived as barely a year after, they were back to their normal lives, living in the streets, jobless and homeless.
According to our sources, Bonfire Adventures had offered Blackie a job in Kericho as a driver after taking him through driving school but he declined stating that he was not ready to leave the Capital yet.
“They said they would get us a car wash (business) and promised us better lives. Our rent was paid for four months but after that our lives changed. We couldn’t raise rent because we didn’t have jobs,” Blackie said in an interview with a local media.
4. Michael Njogo Gitonga (Uhuru’s look-alike).
Anyone that is active on social media has caught a glimpse of Michael Njogu Gitonga’s story. Despite bearing strict resemblance to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Gitonga is very charismatic and has a unique sense of humour.
Kenyans on Twitter were tasked with the role to investigate the details of his resemblance to the President while ideally calling him Wamasharti, a name used for President Uhuru due to his unique dress code.
Pictures circulated online captured Njogu who is now nicknamed ‘Uhunye’ as a left-handed just as the Head of state.
Gitonga’s newfound fame has brought about so much attention that he currently says has become too much.
“I cannot walk out of this estate without people asking me for handouts, I have suffered with this name,” he said.
In one instance, there were claims that he was awarded a car by a motor company although he denied the claims terming them mere propaganda.
Umechoma! Churchill Tells Off Uhuru's Look-Alike Michael Gitonga.
This was after Gitonga came out to refute claims that he had been gifted a car due to his resemblance to the most powerful man in Kenya.
— CHARLIEBEAN VLOGS (@CharliebeanV) August 14, 2020
In yet another instance, Bonfire Adventures opted to treat ‘Uhunye’ and his family to a holiday destination, fully sponsored.
FELLOW KENYANS …….. TODAY WE GOT A SPECIAL GUEST🕴🏾🕴🏾 AND WE DECIDED TO GIFT HIM WITH A HOLIDAY. PLEASE HELP US IN CHOOSING A HOLIDAY DESTINATION FOR HIM AND HIS FAMILY.🥳🌞 #Bonfiredeal #uhunye pic.twitter.com/VnbPLGkHDF
— Bonfire Adventures (@BonfireSafaris) August 14, 2020
The question of the day is” What next? Will this be another story of Grace to grass like the others or will things be done differently?”
There are many other stories detailing the rise to fame of celebrities which end up becoming their doom.
We can all take a few lessons from these cases. For instance, fame usually comes when the minds not fully prepared to deal with it.
According to psychologists and mental health experts, fame takes getting used to. Therefore, when a person gets instantly thrown into the life of fame without lessons, they might end up getting consumed in it.
Therefore, seeking professional help is fundamental in carrying out one’s activities including finances and other sponsors.
For example, there are businesses that take advantage of famous people to market their brands and after that is done, they no longer want to associate with you.
As much as it is important to capitalize on the opportunity and make money, it is also necessary to check the mental health and opt for longterm solutions.