We dedicate this week’s series to Lorna Irungu- Macharia, who passed away earlier in the week.

We join the media fraternity, her family and friends during this difficult time.

Lorna was on our list of women to be interviewed and profiled under the #KenyaWomenSeries and we are sad that we never got a chance to do this.

However, that will not stop us from celebrating the exceptional and courageous woman she was and her contribution to the Kenyan Media industry.

With all humility, dear reader, please take a moment of silence for all our fallen colleagues within the media and communications sector in Kenya.

In the last two weeks alone, we lost a number of our colleagues to Covid-19; Robin Njogu of Royal Media Services, former NTV news anchor Winnie Mukami, Reuben Githinji of The Star newspaper and Lorna Irungu.

We have been shaken to the core by the pandemic. Let’s all stay safe.

Lorna Irungu is a woman who many of us remember because of her TV days in the early 1990s when she hosted the famous TV game show OMO Pick a Box on KBC, and later children’s show Club Kiboko that aired every Saturday morning on KTN.


She later made her way to radio, hosting the State of The Nation at then-Nation FM before she joined Carnivore Simba Saloon restaurant as an entertainment manager.

Lorna spearheaded some of the biggest themed nights, including the famous New Jack Swing, and elevated Carnivore as Nairobi’s premier event location.

She had a passion in telling, shaping and sharing stories, this she did through her work as a communication strategist helping businesses, campaigns and even individuals in her communications firm-Siwa Communications which she ran for a number of years.

Her strength would then be defined by her struggles with Lupus, a long-term autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue.

The disease saw her undergo three kidney transplants and she survived each affliction with the utmost courage and resilience for the past two decades.

In her 2012 TED Talk, Lorna said, “I live my life every day with passion, doing the things I love.”

She lived her life each day to the fullest and never played a victim but was a victor in life and inspired so many people locally and internationally in the process.

In the Ted Talk, she emphasised on the importance of surrounding yourself with the right kind of people, who believe in you and support you in all ways.

“My family is my greatest support system. They have always been present.”

You can watch the Ted Talk HERE.


Lorna was the first East African in 30 years to participate in the World Transplant Games, which took place in 2013.

She was a 2010 Archbishop Tutu Fellow under the African Leadership Institute, and also served as a member of the Board and an Eisenhower International Fellow, in the Class of 2016.

Lorna over the years became a Gender Equity advocate and created awareness around gender-based violence and promoting women’s voices in politics.

She also played a leading role in the Vijana Tugutuke campaign that encouraged the youth to take part in the 2007 General Election.

Her long-time battle with Lupus was published far and wide, making her the source of encouragement for those experiencing similar challenges in life.

“My life has been tough, surviving life with Lupus, but every time I think of how far Lorna has come, I am encouraged. I live to fight for another chance in life. I keep telling myself if Lorna is alive, then I too will live to tell about the goodness of the Lord,” typed Slyvia on Facebook.

Many Kenyans describe Lorna as a strong fighter and warrior who fought her life battles with compassion and passion and used the media to encourage us all to keep fighting, no matter what our circumstances were.

“She had always remained resilient and hopeful. Seeing how she courageously fought lupus for years, then Covid-19 takes her this fast, is completely unfathomable. It is hard processing this,” Posted Polly.

We have buried people since the pandemic was first reported in Kenya in March 2020, and these names have now become people we know, those close to us, with the reality hitting home with each passing day.

It is no longer business as usual. Even as we bury our pain to allow us to move on, we are hurting and we are feeling immobilised and drained.

‘It is well, till we meet again, rest in eternal peace’ no longer make sense to us. As long as we live, each of us will at some point in time experience grief.

Richard Carlson, in his book What About the Big Stuff, tackles the topic of grief in a way that makes us appreciate that, though our loved ones have physically left us, we must find a way to celebrate their existence and grieve freely.

“Grieving is a natural process that extends far beyond the topic of death. We live in a world of constant change where nothing stays the same. Every experience has an end, and so is every thought. It is natural to try to hang on and even cling to things, especially those things, experiences and people we love. There will be a loss then another and another, such is life.”

Family, friends, relatives and other Kenyans have poured their moving tributes to Lorna Irungu, who is forever etched in our hearts and minds.

In this piece, we share some tributes from Lorna’s close friends and those who interacted with her at a personal level to celebrate the woman she was.

The Kenya High Commissioner to the UK, Ambassador Manoah Esipisu, shared his memories about Lorna:

“I remember meeting Lorna when she was in Form three at Moi Nairobi Girls. She was in her school play at the national finals of the annual drama festival. A ‘tour de force’, immensely popular and the obvious leader among her peers whose respect she clearly commanded. She was very warm, very genuine and very outspoken on the issues important to her, very inquisitive and very creative mind.”

“She was also a beautiful soul weaved in humility. Tenacious. Unyielding in the face of diversity. Best of all, despite her well-chronicled challenges wrought by lupus that she fought and defeated, she was committed to living life to the fullest.”

“For three decades, I have witnessed her great warm personality as she’s grown from the teenage leader at High School, to blossoming actress at Phoenix Players and other stages, and on to a vibrant media personality at KTN and Nation, and then Corporate Communications Executive from whence her journey was abruptly halted. ‘Always a call away’, she’d say. I will miss you.”

Gina Din and Lorna Irungu. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kenyans took to social media to send their condolences and share their tributes of Lorna with many describing her as a remarkable individual.

Musician Jua Cali posted;

“I am really, really saddened to hear the passing of Lorna Irungu. She is the one who opened the corporate doors for me. Lorna Irungu gave me my 1st ever endorsement, Motorolla Brand Ambassador. Very Sad day today. Rest with the Angels.”

Isis Nyong’o Madison, a Kenyan-American media and technology entrepreneur, posted “I was devastated to learn that we lost Lorna Irungu Macharia to Covid19. She was an amazing person in every respect, as you can see from the many tributes online. We were fortunate to benefit from her presence and deep knowledge when she spoke at a #WomenWork event on Crafting your Personal Brand in September 2019. It was a hugely inspiring talk, and while sadly not videotaped, Iman Cooper captured these beautiful photos which I share in remembrance and gratitude.”

Gina Din Kariuki of Gina Din Group where Lorna previously worked as the Managing Director leading a team that believes in Shaping African Conversations, posted on Instagram.

Grace Msalame, who interviewed Lorna 7 months ago in her show Unscripted with Grace, had this to say about Lorna.

You can watch the full interview HERE. 


1. The magic of Lorna Irungu, was that if she rooted for you in the smallest way...

Posted by Pau Shinski on Tuesday, March 23, 2021

David Muriithi popularly known as DJ D-Lite posted this:

Rest in eternal peace, dear Lorna Irungu-Macharia.


We pray for peace for everyone mourning their loved ones during these unprecedented times occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.

May these deaths remind us of the serious precautions we need to take to win the brutal war against Covid-19.

Maintain social distance. Sanitise. Wear a mask!