This has been very interesting to pen down considering we have 1500 words limit. I don’t even know where to start but here goes. My father named me Shamilla after an Indian actress. He watches and listens to a lot of Indian classical music and films. So many wonderful things to say. Not only because he is my father but also because he is Willy Mutunga – I can talk about him as my father, my friend, my mentor, the activist, former CJ, lawyer and grandpa.
My father has shown me what unconditional love is. I am truly blessed to have him as my father he has taught me so many wonderful things without even realizing it himself. In primary school he would buy me Parker pens to take to school with very expensive ink; that made me want to write so many things and I was actually good in composition and Insha. He made me read newspapers out loud to him sometimes on our way to school. That also taught me how to speak in public and take part in debates in primary school; unfortunately those talents weren’t nurtured in primary school. He never forced me to study hard or to be something he wanted me to become. He gave me freedom to be me and supported me in every way possible. Often times people ask me: ‘Why are you not a judge or lawyer like your father?’
Over the years he has taught me so many things that I can proudly say have made me who I am today. Every time we have meetings, whether it’s lunch or coffee, I always end up feeling so inspired and look forward to having more time together. We laugh about so many things. Without even him being conscious of it, I have learnt what humanity is, patience, religion, kindness, honesty and respect. As a child he would often tell me your sister or brother doesn’t have to be a blood relative it can be anyone, and those words have always stayed with me.
I didn’t know what activism was but I knew my dad was not safe during Moi’s era, and when he was detained God always gave me that strength to support him even though I didn’t quite understand what he was doing. Deep down I knew he was doing the right thing and so it is even now. It makes me very proud of him. I knew he was and is always fighting a good fight. He has taught me well and I am teaching my daughter, and the children that I teach, to always do the right thing.