Leah Wanjiku, the visionary behind the Waterfront Mall located in Karen, Nairobi County, epitomizes the classic tale of a journey from humble beginnings to remarkable success, shaped by unwavering determination, hard work, and a strategic vision.
Wanjiku’s story unfolds, according to a Kenyan Report, starting in Githunguri, Kiambu County, where she pursued a career as a teacher at Kagaa Primary School. It was during her time there that she crossed paths with Nelson Muguku, a man driven by a bold vision and entrepreneurial spirit. Muguku, dissatisfied with his job, decided to leave his position at a nearby college and embark on a venture into poultry farming. With a mere Ksh2,000 in hand, he initiated his poultry farming journey by acquiring two hens and a rooster. Around the same period, he and Wanjiku tied the knot, launching a shared odyssey of dreams and aspirations.
In 1963, Wanjiku made a pivotal decision to leave her teaching career behind and join Muguku in the world of poultry farming. Together, they toiled tirelessly, managing to save enough money to acquire a 2-acre piece of land. On this land, they established Star Ltd., their poultry farming enterprise, which included a hatchery equipped with a 9,000-egg incubator. The farm flourished, supplying day-old chicks and eggs to a diverse clientele, including notable figures such as Sir Malcolm MacDonald, the last colonial-era Governor, and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first Prime Minister.
Muguku’s astute investments eventually led to him acquiring a substantial 6.08% stake in a local bank before its public listing, making him the bank’s largest individual shareholder for several years. Even after Muguku’s passing in October 2010, Wanjiku continued to pursue their shared vision with unwavering determination.
Wanjiku’s acumen in the business world extended beyond poultry farming as she ventured into stock trading, earning her the distinction of being the second-highest trading woman on the Nairobi Stock Exchange market. Her investments and financial prowess cemented her position as one of the most influential women in Kenya’s business landscape.
The pinnacle of Wanjiku’s success materializes in the Waterfront Mall, a sprawling multi-billion-dollar project situated on a vast 50-acre property in Karen. This magnificent mall features a sprawling man-made lake covering five acres, adding an air of grandeur to its already impressive architecture. The Waterfront Mall stands as a testament to Wanjiku’s vision, ambition, and resolute determination.
In recognition of her remarkable achievements, Wanjiku was featured in a 2018 Knight Frank report, which included her among the prestigious group of 23 women billionaires in Kenya. Additionally, she holds a substantial 0.92% stake in a local bank, valued at Ksh1.2 billion, underscoring her influence in the country’s financial sector.