file picture of the late Catherine Kasavuli

Catherine Kasavuli (17 June 1962– 29 December 2022) was a Kenyan news presenter. Kasavuli was the first female news anchor in the country and had previously worked in other leading television stations including The Kenya Broadcasting Coporation (KBC) Citizen Television and Kenya Television Network (KTN).

Kasavuli started her career as a radio continuity announcer in 1980 at the Voice of Kenya, which was renamed to KBC in later years. Her uncle, who had listened to her reading the Bible and praying for dinner, advised her to apply for the job. She was barely 18 years at the time. Kasavuli would later transition to television at the company in 1985. Kasavuli had no prior professional training and two years into her job, she went to the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

In March 1990, Catherine became part of the founding team of KTN as the country’s first privately owned television station. She became the station’s first anchor to go on live broadcast, a shift from the previous pre-recorded format. Other than being a TV presenter, Kasavuli would voice commercials to supplement her earnings.

After being at KTN for 17 years, Kasavuli left the station in 2007 to join Citizen TV, owned by Royal Media Services. She was part of the mass exodus that saw a number of high-profile news anchors such as Swaleh Mdoe and Louis Otieno leave the Standard Group owned TV Station for Citizen TV. She later held the position of corporate affairs manager at Royal Media Services, the parent company of Citizen TV. In 2015, Kasavuli retired from the limelight to work behind the screens.

However, towards the end of July 2021, eight years after leaving television, Kasavuli made a grand comeback and graced the Kenyan TV screens after signing a deal with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) where she anchored weekend news. In an interview after her comeback, she stated, “I wanted to come to KBC to train anchors to hone their skills but never expected an offer of this magnitude.” Despite her famous public personality and unlike her successors in the Kenyan media space, the soft-spoken and ever-smiling anchor preferred to keep her personal life private.

Personal life

Kasavuli has one son, Martin, who was born in 1981. Catherine has reportedly stated that she had to leave him home to attend to her demanding career and regrets missing the early moments of his childhood. After retiring from television, she founded Kasavuli Media Group Limited, which owns several subsidiaries, including a training school for broadcasters. She died on 29 December 2022 at the age of 60 while battling cervical cancer at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi, Kenya, where she had been admitted and undergoing treatment since October 2022. source WK


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