EX-KTN Journalist’s Tribute to Rita Tinina

Former KTN Journalist Chebet Birir at a funeral procession on March 26, 2023. PHOTO/Chebet Birir, Facebook.
  • Whether it was a community leader fighting for change or a struggling artist yearning for recognition, Rita ensured their stories were heard.
  • Local stories mattered to her, and she believed in amplifying the voices of everyday people.
  • She spent the least amount of time possible in the voicing booth.

By Chebet Birir

Rita Tinina and Catherine Kasavuli are some of the female journalists who have greatly inspired young girls to pursue journalism.

Sad that they have both gone to be with the Lord now, even though the impact they have left behind is eternal.

Before I met Rita, I knew her as the journalist whom I would love to watch on TV, and then I decided to pursue journalism.

I was always in awe of Tinina’s accent whenever she did her stories.

She had a unique metre and intonation that were characterized by an alternately rising and falling rhythm to create poetic yet serious and informative news reports.

Listening to Rita was like music to the ears.

However, as destiny would have it, I joined the Standard Group as a news reporter in 2019.

I would always find Rita seated at her corner, no matter how “early” I thought I had arrived at work.

Any journalist will confess this, newsrooms are always full of banter and chitchat, meant to ease off the pressure that comes with the job.

Even though I and everybody else would engage in this usual banter, Rita was always cool, calm, and collected – protecting her peace.

Rita had an unwritten “do not disturb” label on her face, and I would always approach her with caution.

As the days went by, I learnt to became more open with her, only to uncover her cheeky personality.

Our morning conversations would go like “Hi RT- good morning,” and she would respond, “Good morning, young girl, I am okay.”

I would then insist that I am not a young girl – “maybe young, but I’m definitely not a girl RT.”

She would then smile and go back to her business. If minding your business was a person, that would have to be RT. Pun intended.

 The “young girl” title ended one day when I brought my 6-year-old daughter to work. “Young girl, whose child have you brought to the studio today?”

I told her this was my daughter, and she still was not convinced, until she pulled Chemutai aside and asked her, “Is this really your mother or your aunty?

When my daughter said yes, she still could not believe it until Chemutai called me “muum, I want juice and cake…”

From then on, she would refer to me as “We Mkalee…”

“We mkalee, what are you working on?”

With the intricacies and uncertainties that came with Covid, I was not sure what to do, and RT would prepare me well ahead of the daily MOH’s press briefings.

She would ask me if I had the questions I was going to ask, and when I showed her what I had,

“Its okay, you just go ahead, I will send you more questions to ask.”

It is RT’s questions that made me look good during those press briefings.

When she would go into the voicing booth, she’d spent the least amount of time possible, unlike some of us (read me) who would have several takes.

One day, I asked her if she ever fumbles, and she would brush it off with a smile, “You’ll get there…it takes time.”

A beacon, a star, a golden voice has signed off, and I will miss the humble, neatly dressed, well organized, punctual, always willing to help, cheeky RT.

Rest in Eternal Peace, Rita Tinina.

From Scholar Media Africa

March 27, 2024 marked her last journey as she was laid to rest in Narok, her final home.

A chair will forever sit vacant, its silence a stark contrast to the vibrant energy Rita Tinina brought to every story she touched.

Rita, a pillar of Kenyan journalism, passed away on March 17, 2024 in a shocking incident after she was found lying unresponsive on her bed, leaving a void that will be difficult to fill.

For those who knew her, Rita wasn’t just a gifted journalist; she was a mentor, a confidante, and a friend.

Her sharp intellect as confessed by her colleagues could dissect the most complex narrative, yet her guidance was always delivered with a gentle hand and a kind smile.

She had an uncanny ability to spot a hidden gem in a story, nurturing the potential of young reporters and transforming raw talent into polished prose.

Beyond her editorial prowess, Rita championed journalistic integrity.

Facts were sacred, and she held her juniors to the highest standards. Yet, she understood the human element of storytelling.

She knew the power of words to move hearts and minds, and she always pushed to find the right balance between accuracy and impact.

Her passion for Kenya burned brightly. Local stories mattered to her, and she believed in amplifying the voices of everyday people as witnessed by street children who danced alongside, whenever she was live reporting from the streets.

But Rita wasn’t all work and no play. Her infectious laughter could fill the room, and her wit was as sharp as her mind. She had a way of connecting with everyone, from seasoned journalists to wide-eyed interns.

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Rita’s legacy extends far beyond the stories she brought on air. It’s in the reporters she inspired, the stories she championed, and the unwavering dedication to truth she instilled in all who knew her.

She leaves behind not just a void, but a challenge – to carry forward her torch, to uphold journalistic integrity, and to tell the stories of Kenya with the same passion, dedication, and human touch that defined her remarkable career.

We will miss you, Rita. But your spirit, your wisdom, and your unwavering commitment to journalism will continue to guide us in the stories we tell and the impact we strive to make.

Rest Easy!

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