Citizen TV news anchor Yvonne Okwara is one of Kenya’s preeminent journalists – having distinguished herself over the years with bold commentary on the most important social, economic and political issues.
Unknown to many, the 39-year old anchor was making waves on television years before hitting legal age. Aged only 8, she started hosting a weekly children’s show known as Children’s Variety on the state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
Okwara disclosed in a past interview that she was making what was then a princely sum of Ksh500 per episode – with her pay eventually increasing to Ksh1,000 per episode as a result of a Presidential directive raising the minimum wage. She hosted Children’s Variety for several years before exiting right before she joined high school, as she was then considered too old to host the kids’ show.
“At the time we were earning 500 shillings per episode which was a hell of a lot of money back then. And then I distinctly remember during one of the Labour Day celebrations the late President Moi increased the minimum wage and suddenly we were earning Ksh1,000 per episode and that was huge. It was very exciting,” she recounted.
Okwara has previously stated that her experience at KBC, working alongside legendary media personalities, helped shape her future career in journalism.
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After high school, Okwara went on to the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and graduated in 2006 with a Bachelors’ degree in Microbiology, Zoology, Botany and Chemistry.
She would, however, find her way back to the media in 2008 when she joined QFM, the now defunct station owned by Nation Media Group (NMG), as a content producer. In her four year stint at NMG, she also began taking on production roles at NTV.
Okwara moved on to Standard Group-owned KTN in 2012 after landing a news anchor role. It was here that she became a recognizable face, delivering news bulletins. She held various roles at KTN and was Head of News Strategy when KTN News – Kenya’s first 24-hour news station – was launched in 2015.
In 2018, Okwara took her talents to Royal Media Services (RMS)-owned Citizen TV as a news anchor and business editor. She has won various accolades for her social commentary segment, Yvonne’s Take, in which she doesn’t hold back while addressing various deeply-rooted challenges affecting Kenyans today.
Looking back on her 2022, the anchor disclosed in a social media post that moderating the Presidential debate was one of the big moments of her career – highlighting the team effort among rival media houses which came together for the production.
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