Silenced by divorce and the stigma that comes with it, singer and songwriter Roselyn Mwihaki aka Kaki, suffered depression and even contemplated suicide. But now she has come out strong and is about to release an album detailing her journey
As a singer and songwriter, Roselyn Mwihaki, fondly known as Kaki, is a force to reckon with. She’s part of Adawnage, a gospel band that has received numerous awards for its outstanding songs. No wonder, when she shared news about her divorce citing “irreconcilable differences,” people were shocked.
“When you can tell your story without crying every single time, you know you’re well on your way to healing, it’s a journey. The past can’t hurt you anymore unless you let it,” she starts.
Kaki had married in a glamorous wedding in 2012 to a man she met through a mutual friend after dating for three years. “He grew up in the same estate with two guys in the band; they were neighbours and their families were family friends.
During one of our Saturday band hangouts, he came over, we got introduced and became friends. After about a year, we started dating officially.
It was wonderful. He was charming, smart and would make me laugh my heart out! We dated for three years, all through my campus years. He proposed on our third year of courtship, I said “Yes” and got married to my campus sweetheart,” she says.
She remembers serenading her husband at the reception and called him over to join in. “It was romantic. I remember feeling like everyone else had vanished and we were having a private moment…like it was just us,” she says.
However, just in the first year of their marriage, things began to go sour. They were advised to seek counselling, but Kaki admits that they ignored, which caught up with them later. “Defining priorities and setting boundaries was a great challenge for us,” she says.
The marriage ended in 2015 after a five-month separation prior to her divorce petition. This moment emotionally drained her as she attempted, at all costs, to fight for her marriage. It was not an easy step as she was afraid of stigma, especially because she was a Christian.
She never desired to be the one filing for the divorce—but she did. “Time and time again, I stayed even when things got really toxic. But it got to a point where I realised commitment takes two.
The other person has to want it to work as much as you do. When this was not the case in mine, I had no other option, but to make this tough decision,” Kaki adds.
The journey was not easy though. “The Church requires you to remain silent about divorce because ‘love covers a multitude of sins’. I was silenced, silenced by shame, silenced by divorce. Marital counselling, pastoral guidance, interventions from family and close friends amidst emotional turmoil was part of the journey I had to walk through,” she recalls.
Kaki went through depression and this was the point where she admits to have hit rock bottom. She confesses to even have contemplated suicide as she felt like there was nothing to look forward to in life because of the pain she felt.
Having a support system from her mother, her band as well as the Church enabled her to stand on her feet again. She kept the separation a rumour and remained mum and off public glare, but on Valentine’s Day this year, the band released Ready to Love, a song which she sang to set her record straight.
Picking up the pieces
“I made the decision to speak up to liberate myself from the thing I feared most…being called a divorcée. I wanted to overcome the shame it caused. I also wanted to share the restoration journey, which God took me through,” she says.
She is currently working on putting together an album and the fear of the group suffering rejection because of what she has gone through has made her work on this project solo.
“I realised my story may not be in tune with the general season of the band plus I don’t want to risk imposing this project on them lest they suffer rejection from the Church because of me. If the Church or the society in general will reject my music, let them reject me as Kaki Mwihaki, but not Adawnage.
This happened to me not to them and it would be unfair for them to be rejected or stigmatised or investigated at my expense. We have other members who are still happily married in the band and my views and outcome should not be mistaken to be theirs,” she says.