Wendy Kemunto is a Kenyan musician, singer-songwriter, and performer specializing in Afro-soul and R&B genres.
She has also emerged as a powerful survivor of sexual violence, utilizing her music to raise awareness and empower fellow victims.
How did she triumph over the trauma of being gang-raped on her birthday by two rugby players?
Early Life and Education
Wendy Kemunto was born on January 1, 1994, in Kisii County, Kenya.
She is the second-born in a family of four children.
She attended St. Mary’s Girls High School in Nyamira County, where her passion for music blossomed, leading her to join the school choir.
Later, she pursued a degree in journalism and mass communication at the University of Nairobi, graduating in 2016.
Music Career and Breakthrough
In 2017, Wendy Kemunto embarked on her music career, marking her debut with the release of the Swahili single “Nakupenda,” meaning “I love you”.
Collaborating with renowned Kenyan artists such as King Kaka, Fena Gitu, Kagwe Mungai, and Bensoul, she gained significant exposure and recognition in the music industry.
She participated in the TV music project Coke Studio Africa in 2019, sharing the stage with Nigerian star Skales and Tanzanian singer Nandy.
Throughout her career, she has released notable songs like “Huru,” “Milele,” “Moyo Wangu,” and “Njoo,” displaying her versatile and soulful voice while blending Afro beats and R&B rhythms.
Surviving Sexual Violence and Advocacy
On January 1, 2018, Wendy Kemunto’s life took a tragic turn when she was gang-raped by two rugby players, Frank Wanyama and Alex Olaba, on her birthday.
She believes that a crucial challenge in combating sexual violence in Africa lies in the lack of understanding regarding consent.
Undeterred by stigma, threats, and intimidation from the perpetrators and their supporters, she decided to speak out about her harrowing experience and seek justice.
Throughout her journey, she received immense support from fellow survivors, activists, and celebrities who stood alongside her.
Wendy Kemunto composed a poignant song titled “Huru,” meaning “free” in Swahili, to encourage others to share their stories and embark on a healing journey.
The song confronts the culture of silence and victim-blaming surrounding sexual violence prevalent in Kenya and Africa at large.
Furthermore, she has emerged as a passionate advocate for women’s rights and empowerment.
Leveraging her music and platform, she raises awareness and educates people about sexual violence and consent, inspiring fellow survivors to find their voice and reclaim their power.
Personal Life and Family
Wendy Kemunto currently resides in Nairobi, where she continues to pursue her music career and advocacy work.
Alongside her artistic endeavors, she also embraces a love for fashion and frequently shares her stylish outfits and accessories on her social media platforms.
Tragically, she experienced the loss of her sister, Hellen Wendy Kemunto, who drowned in Canada while live-streaming herself swimming in 2022.
Wendy Kemunto holds her sister’s memory dear and seeks to honor her through her music.
While she is not married, she remains open to love and hopes to find a partner who respects and supports her dreams.
Update on Wendy Kemunto’s Case
The legal proceedings surrounding Wendy Kemunto’s case against Frank Wanyama and Alex Olaba have been ongoing since 2018, when she reported the incident to the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).
In August 2019, Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku found the two rugby players guilty of rape, sentencing them to 15 years in prison.
The court determined that there was ample evidence to establish that they had violated Wendy Kemunto’s consent and dignity.
However, in September 2019, the convicted rugby players appealed their sentence and conviction, contending that their sexual encounter with Wendy Kemunto was consensual and that the trial court had made errors in both law and fact.
Additionally, they sought bail while awaiting the outcome of their appeal.
In October 2019, High Court Judge Ngenye Macharia granted them bail, each posting Ksh300,000.
The judge believed that the bail conditions were met and that their appeal had a reasonable chance of success.
In November 2021, the High Court dismissed their appeal, affirming their conviction and sentence.
The court held that the trial court had diligently evaluated the evidence and arrived at an appropriate decision.
Wendy Kemunto’s consistent and credible testimony, supported by medical evidence, further strengthened the ruling.
Undeterred, the two rugby players subsequently lodged a second appeal with the Court of Appeal, aiming to overturn their conviction and sentence.
They maintain their innocence and allege that Wendy Kemunto falsely implicated them.
Furthermore, they assert that media coverage and public outcry have resulted in prejudice and injustice.
The second appeal is currently awaiting a hearing and determination by the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, Wendy Kemunto remains focused on her music career and advocacy work, steadfastly pursuing justice and hoping for closure.
Wendy Kemunto stands as a beacon of strength, having transformed her pain into power through her music.
As a survivor, artist, and activist, she not only heals herself but also extends her healing to others.
Her journey serves as an inspiration to numerous young women who aspire to follow their passions and make a meaningful impact in the world.
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