Olive Burrows Recalls Day Her Mum Died, “We Were Getting Ready for The Hospital”

August 31, 2020

NTV news anchor Olive Kalekye Burrows opened up about watching her mother die, saying it was her lowest moment in life.

It was back in 2016 and the former Capital FM presenter was preparing to take her mother to the hospital.

“My mum had been unwell, and she came to my place on a Monday. I told her we would go to the hospital on Tuesday. On Tuesday, she told me she wanted to rest. The whole day I just felt off. I got home and found my mum hadn’t eaten. She had slept the whole day, so I forced her to eat. On Wednesday, when I woke up, I found her moving up and down the house. She was saying she was having trouble breathing. So I panicked nikakuwa mkali (I was stern with her) and I told her ‘no, no you can’t talk like that, you need to be strong’,” Burrows recounts.

With her mum’s condition deteriorating, she informed her aunt and cousin, who were on the way to pick them up to go to the hospital.

“We were getting ready for the hospital. I was in the kitchen making tea and I noticed she was quiet. I came out and found her on the sofa, but one look at her face, and I could tell she was having a stroke. So, I screamed, I rushed to the fridge where I had Red Cross numbers, and they told me I was too far away because I was living in Ruaka then,” she added as quoted by Daily Nation.

Burrows was, however, able to get St John’s Ambulance, but when it arrived, the responders checked her mother’s pulse, “I could see and I could tell she was gone”.


The journalist who became a household name in 2015 after she got the rare opportunity to interview then US President Barack Obama, also opened up about her upbringing.

“I was born in Mombasa County, but we moved to Nairobi when I was just a child. At the time my mum was working with Nigerian Airways, and we moved to Nairobi after she got a job with Air Kenya. So I grew up in Nairobi West,” she said.

“I travelled a lot with my mum. She worked in the airline industry, so I had an opportunity to see a good portion of Kenya,” she added.

Burrows schooled at Malezi Preparatory in Lang’ata and later went to Kenya High for her secondary education before she joined Daystar University.

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While she describes herself as a stickler for rules, Burrows recounted the few instances where she got into trouble.

“One time, I was home alone and my family came home later and asked if I went to church that day (it was on a Sunday) and I lied, said I went to church and I didn’t go. I (had) slept in. I was asked who was preaching and I lied, turns out it was not that person. I broke the trust my family had in me,” she said.

Adding: “When I was in college, there was a night my friends and I wanted to go out, so I told my mum we had a campfire, which we did not. I just wanted to go out with my friends. My friend’s sister was at Catholic University, so we went to her room. You know when you are leaving the house, you leave with a nice, long, skirt. It was a wrap-around skirt, and I was to come back home on Sunday morning.”

Underneath the “church” skirt, she wore a mini-skirt.

“So, what we would do is hide our bags behind the DJ’s booth. I had put my wrap-around skirt in my friend’s bag. I don’t know how it happened, but she left before me, without my knowledge. So, here I was on Sunday morning…luckily, I had a shawl, so I used it as a skirt. When I got home my mum was awake, (and) she wondered ‘you left looking one way and you are back home looking a totally different way’ she just knew I had gone out,” Burrows said amid laughter.

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