About two weeks ago, a flame-haired woman, short, rotund, bursting with energy and with a seemingly-endless serving of untamed courage, burst (almost literally) onto TikTok.
Unlike the crop of other Tiktokers who almost all do the same dreary thing – cook, dance, gyrate, jump on challenges – Priscilla wa Imani has a different craft. Hers was a shrilling act as old as our chaotic Matatu industry.
In front of buildings, inside malls and supermarkets, by the roadside and smack in the middle of packed markets, Priscilla recorded herself whistling the town down, her piercing shrills sending some scampering for cover as others crowded around her, amused by this woman’s infectious vivacity.
After letting out one fervent whistle, Priscilla would follow it up with either a couple of questions or an announcement of where she was whistling from. But first, her name.
“Priscilla wa Imani ndani ya supermarket!” she would yell, before tearing through another ear-shattering whistle marathon.
The TikTok sensation, real name Priscilla Gakuru, is a married mother of three who lives in Nyahururu and runs a small shop.
“I have a temporary shop right outside my house near Laikipia University. It’s a temporary mabati shop where I sell small wares and when business is down, I move to a large open-air market in Laikipia called Karangi and another in Baringo called Muchongoi,” she told Citizen Digital.
Before storming onto the scene with her sharp whistles, Priscilla was originally a singer and music composer who, after years of trying to sell her music, decided to shelve her singing ambitions.
“I have done several songs already including Sio Bidii, Hapo Ulipo and Shikilia Imani Yako which didn’t manage to perform too well and I somewhat gave up on music, ” she says.
Priscilla says that a close cousin egged her on starting a TikTok account and actually signed her onto the widely-popular video-sharing platform.
“The first video that I shared was one where I was secretly recorded leading women in a song at an introduction ceremony at our village home. After that, I shared a video where I was at a petrol station and another where I was outside a supermarket and things really took off after that,” she reminisces.
As her popularity began to grow, Priscilla says that she decided to try the Nairobi market and that’s how her trip to Nairobi’s famous Nyamakima stage was born.
At Nyamakima, the Tiktoker gambled with her chances and decided to call out Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja’s name in an attempt to get his attention.
Surprisingly, the Tiktok-savvy County boss actually responded, asking her to visit him at his City Hall offices.
“I have not met him yet. I’m planning to meet him later today. I was shocked to see that he had not only viewed my video but was also requesting to meet me,” she said during the interview on Friday.
As a result of her runway online success, Priscilla Waimani has started getting calls from all commercial corners and has now already landed an influencing job at a lands and property company based in Nakuru.
Priscilla is now an ambassador at Keshine Investment Company, a real estate firm based in Nakuru County.
In a media release, Keshine Director Keziah Njuguna explained that the content creator was brought in to push the land sale numbers up and was also offered permanent employment by the company.
“We are glad to name Priscilla Wa Imani as the new face of our Investment Properties on Land industry. Keshine is keen on promoting local talent and job creation,” the statement read in part.
Priscilla also felt the need to add that, despite the fact that many questioned her mental state, she is, indeed, fully mentally stable and that she is in charge of her actions and not acting out of supposed ‘madness’.
” I’m 100% normal. I’m not mad. There are people who think I have mental issues but they’re wrong. I’m sober-minded and I know everything that I’m doing. All you see is work. I am a mother and I have to take food home and I will do anything to feed my family, “she said.