Liz Wanyoike, the proprietor of the Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS) is the epitome of success and an icon for women empowerment in the country.
Besides the high-flying college in Kimbo, Ruiru along Thika Superhighway, Lizzie also runs a luxurious hotel in Nairobi’s Hurlingham area; she is the owner of the Emory Hotel.
But Lizz’s success did not happen in a fortnight; it has been a journey that saw her separate from her husband and started from scratch to build an empire.
Liz, for the first time, opened up on her past life on ‘Metha ya Kagoni’ where she revealed that she was married to a divorcee who was older than her by 16 years
A trained teacher by profession, she was in her early 20s and still in college when she met this charming man who offered her a lift and her life changed.
“I met my husband while in college, one day he offered me a lift and after that, we started meeting often,” Lizzie narrated.
She added that it did not take long before things got tight and she moved in with the man.
“Not long after I got pregnant and when I told him, he took me to his place and we started living as man and wife.”
All along, she did not know that the man was a divorcee; she learnt about it later when she was already in his house and saw his other children.
“At the time I did not know he was a divorcee, I only found out later,” Lizzie went on adding “he was living with the kids and so I automatically became their step mum.”
Lizz pursued her teaching career and bore him children who he took care of together with her step kids.
As their marriage progressed, she realized that there are a few things they would not agree on and it was all because she did things differently due to her age.
She says that she erred in getting into marriage fast without learning more about the man she would spend her life with. This affected her marriage and led to their separation.
One of the things they clashed about often was individual interest since the man was a politician yet she was reserved and was into teaching.
“I had never stayed on my own as I got married immediately after school. I had not been exposed. We would never go to social events together the only place we went together was in church,” Lizz reckoned.
“He was in politics and during that time he would mix with different types of people. Those people who so invested in our life and would go and report everything i did to him. They would go and report who I was with, what I did and how I did it.”
One day though after 25 years of marriage, Lizz returned home only to find the gate locked and the watchman told her that he was under instructions not to let her in. That’s the day she took a different path.
“At some point, the differences became too much and we parted. One day I just came home and the watchman refused to let me in. I was with my lastborn child in the car so I only left with the car as it was under my name. And my handbag. Luckily I had written the house under my son’s name and so I sold it and started NIBS,” she recalled.
Despite all this, she says that if she was to get married again, she would still choose the father of her children because he was a good man.