Mother-daughter duo big on impact

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021 00:00 |
Kitt Nyang’aya-Kiarie and her mother Apondi Nyang’aya. The two easily trade jokes just as they easily offer nuggets of wisdom. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Apondi Nyang’aya and her daughter Kitt Nyang’aya-Kiarie are a YouTube sensation who offer power nuggets and gems for multiple facets of life on Kitt’s YouTube channel. Njeri Maina caught up with them to find out more about them and their strong bond.


It is not every day that you meet people who are as conscious about time as Kitt Nyang’aya and Apondi Nyang’aya are. They are ready for interview 10 minutes earlier than the set time, a clear mark of discipline that runs through their lives. We start off by enquiring about what other skills, save for discipline, that each of them has gotten from their mother?

“My mother, whom we call Honey, was quite good with babies. It really comes as no surprise that Kitt is so good with babies and that she became a sleep trainer,” Apondi, a social development consultant explains. 

Other than that, Apondi talks of how her mother was a disciplinarian. She loved and disciplined them in equal measure, something that Apondi was more than happy to do with her three children. Apondi continues to laughingly share how her mother was extremely neat and organised and how Kitt is an exact replica of her.

Kitt says she learnt independence and strength from her mother. She shares how she picked up on seemingly tiny things like how to treat staff and on gendered roles in marriage.“My mother is not a micro-manager. Neither am I. I give my nannies for instance, enough freedom and trust that they should be able to carry out their duties successfully without me watching and monitoring them. Mum has taught me to value the institution of marriage, but without subscribing to some of the antiquated roles expected of women that come with it. It goes without saying that I am a disciplinarian thanks to her too,” Kitt, a sleep trainer and a popular vlogger and influencer explains.

Mother’s lesson

Kitt emphasizes on importance of discipline. That by not disciplining your children, you are not adequately preparing them for the world. Discipline is love, she says. That much of how she carries herself in the world was taught by her mother. The confidence in herself and in her body is one of the many things she is grateful for. Kitt talks about having open heart surgery as a child, something that left her with a scar on her chest. She says how she never felt sorry for herself or conscious about the scar as her mother treated her just as her siblings, leaving no room for self-pity.

“There is no parenting manual. But there are important things you pick up from your parents about parenting and life in general. I, for instance also learnt to let my children fight their own battles from my parents. If my daughter, Kendi, cries because she is scared of a dog, I do not pick her up. I go down to her level and tell her to tell the dog to go. This way, she knows she is safe while I have equipped her with a way to deal with the dog if I am not around,” Kitt explains.

For two ambitious and independent women, what does success and happiness look like for them? Apondi believes that success and happiness should be something one defines themselves. It should be something personal, that provides personal fulfillment and commitment away from societal norms and standards.“I started off as an educator, a high school teacher, then sold space for a local magazine for a few more years. It was while selling space that I became interested in sign language. I decided to learn the Kenya sign language. The Kenya National Association for the Deaf would invite me to be both a welfare officer and a sign language interpreter. That is how I got exposed to the plight of the deaf, which invariably drew me to social work and development programmes. I would learn and move on up to become a social programme manager. I am now a social development consultant,” Apondi explains.

“I do not think career progression has to be linear. “You can define your own path. If you work in finance and decide you are interested in the peacekeeping functions in your organisation, what is keeping you from pursuing that?” she poses.

Personal fulfillment

Kitt agrees with her mother. She talks of the importance of finding personal fulfillment away from societal dictates. She talks of her love for the culinary arts, her professional training and work as a chef, her development work and relationship manager role in an agency, before starting her sleep training agency with her course being available on “I have always been big on impact, whether it is through the videos I put out on YouTube or through my sleep training course. I love empowering people and have been fortunate enough to do that in my different capacities at different companies,” Kitt says.

But what drew her to sleep training? Kitt says she knew that she wanted to have and raise independent babies from an early age. She did exactly that and had her two babies, Kendi and Keyo, sleeping in their own beds and peacefully too from the get go. Kitt later learnt that what she considered normal, was not normal in most households, with many new parents being unable to sleep train their children. Kitt decided to help out and started offering sleep training courses for both parents and children. More than 200 families later, and with babies ranging from three days to four years of age, Kitt has never been happier she chose this career path.

Though looking at them, you may think they are sisters, Apondi will be turning 60 in May while her daughter is 35. They easily trade jokes with each other just as easily as they trade nuggets of wisdom. Watching them, one easily understands why the Internet cannot get enough of their videos together. They have an indescribable bond that every mother hopes to have with their daughter. They fully embody their personal philosophy of letting yourself be and defining what you want in life and going for it.

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