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Orie Rogo Manduli: “I Am A Total Woman.”

The bold and the beautiful

BY Agnes Amondi

Sep 15, 2021, 08:01 AM

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Kenya has had its fair share of women who rose above insurmountable odds to fulfil their ambitions, not for their own gain but for the betterment of society. The late Wangari Maathai comes to mind. 

The country suffered yet another blow with the loss of Orie Rogo Manduli. This is a woman who simply lived by her own terms. She walked in her own mould and carried herself with patience, pride and oozed unmatched confidence. 

We are now in a generation where women are striving to break barriers but women like Manduli were already doing that. She was the first female Kenya safari rally driver and the first to sit in a number of managerial positions during her career. 

If you have seen her, you will know that perhaps there’s more to her dressing than just looking good. She is a former model and was Miss Kenya at one time. So what can women learn from Orie Rogo Manduli?

How To Get What You Want 

If there’s anything you should remember about the late Manduli is that she was a go-getter. What she wanted, she got. She was fierce, loud and proud. She was never equivocal, never minced her words. She was a straight shooter. And she put up that fight by refusing to be intimidated by anything or anyone. She is the type of person with whom you’d use the words “what you see is what you get.” 

In contemporary times, young girls and women are now swimming in waves of inspiration. Whether that materialises into anything is anyone’s guess but the message that Manduli's life shared was that at the end of the day if you want something, you just have to grab it and run away with it. There are no two ways about it and no one to do it for you but yourself. 

Go Big or Go Home

Women are not supposed to blow their own trumpets and should somehow be content with being a flier on the wall? Well, have you heard of Orie Rogo Manduli? That headgear is not for nothing. For her, it might have been an exhibition of her love for fashion. But here at Yaza Kenya, that headgear is wrapped in the following message - take your space and whilst at it, be unapologetic. Wag your finger and make your strides, as slowly as you like, as you carve your path and make yourself count and voice heard. No one should tell you otherwise. Period. 

Own Your Turf

Manduli used the following phrases to describe herself - a lioness in her own cage, a total woman, an unbwogable (not frightened) woman, a powerful lady with a powerful voice and so on.

Whether you think this is confidence or arrogance, well it doesn't really matter. It was unusual perhaps still is for women to be this bold, particularly in the public eye. You know what psychology says about likeability and success for women, it doesn't go hand in hand. So kinda, pick your struggle. Manduli did.

It’s what you project that people will react to. Even if you wanted to knock off her confidence and stature, where do you even begin? If you know what you are doing and going for, that’s all that matters. After all, so many people are roaming the world, some if not most of the time will be chest-thumping.

Maybe you should try this once in a while and see if it helps your ship sail, yes?

Flashy & Fashionable

Orie never made qualms about loving African attire and not just that, she wore the eye-catching fabrics. From head to toe, it was always African. The headgear, that would never miss. It's what completed her look. That was a signature and a statement in itself. Perhaps this could have been the time to talk about embracing African wear. 

Recently, there’s been a rise in African fashion with people wearing Ankara branded clothes, carrying locally made bags like the kikoi. It can be said that they have been pushed further by celebrities pushing their products on our feeds and that's supposed to be good.   


The other thing she embodied was this; walk in the clothes that you want to walk in. Have your own style and wear it with conviction. You like red and it’s “shouting?” Well, by all means, go ahead. Be proud of it. We don’t mean that everyone has to like it, of course, that can’t happen. Not everyone would have loved Orie’s flashy dress code but that’s not the point. The point is for you to wear the fabric with confidence and have it work for you and everything you project.