Celebrities and public figures will always attract love and hate, cheers and jeers, in equal measure. Kenyan netizens are known for their extremely savage, ruthless and unforgiving tackles when it comes to deconstructing their online targets. Woe unto you if you find yourself on the receiving end of angry Kenyans on social media. The latest victim to find himself on the wrong side of the Kenyan online army is renowned pastor and motivational speaker Robert Burale.
The big question that keeps on lingering in many people’s minds could be; at what point did Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) and Facebook become such ruthless lynch mobs? Has the distrust and apathy against the government, regarding the handling of COVID-19 crisis communications, made a majority of Kenyans too cynical and skeptical, to an extent that they no longer trust any prominent figures who publicly claims to have contracted the deadly virus?
For the last couple of days, I have read all manner of damning allegations, made online, against Robert Burale. However, besides the unkind and unsavory remarks against the man, there are those who feel that he is being unfairly judged and crucified in the court of public opinion.
What if it is true that the man indeed stared death in the eye? They ask. Are the things that Kenyans are saying about him the kind of encouragement you would want to hear from others when fighting for your dear life? But as they say, no publicity is bad publicity for public figures, especially if you know how to exactly take advantage of it. Your ratings and popularity can only go north afterwards, unless you’ve committed a terrible crime.
Opinion is highly divided on who Robert Burale really is. This is exactly the stuff that makes fodder for hot gossip – an art that Kenyans are known to be really good at. There are those who think that the man is a suave con artist, with a very dark past. Then there are others who think that the man should not be publicly crucified on the basis of his past, given that he has since reformed and gone public about his shadowy past. After all each one of us has some dark secrets safely tucked in our past. don’t we?
In spite of all the vitriol directed at him, almost all Kenyans seem to at least agree on one thing: Burale is a fashion savvy man who is ever dressed to kill. There definitely are several other things that many people don’t know yet about the fashionista, who is endowed with rare oratory skills. For instance, many people might not know that the sharply dressed, eloquent preacher and much sought after motivational speaker is a highly educated man.
Burale is not only an alumnus of the United Kingdom’s DeMont Forte University, from where he graduated with a degree in business and marketing; but he also was recently honored with an honorary doctorate degree of philosophy, in humanities, at the United Graduate College. So you can add the letters Dr. or PhD before or after his name respectively.
So who exactly is Robert Burale? How old is he and why does his past keep on coming back to haunt him? Are there any literary works to his name? Above all, why are netizens mad about his going public about his COVID-19 status?
The BIG BIRD took a peek at the controversial man’s life history and below is what Bird’s Eye View found out about the man.
Robert Burale Tests Positive for Covid-19
On Monday afternoon, the popular motivational speaker and preacher went online to announce that he had tested positive for COVID-19, on his Facebook page. This was immediately after President Uhuru Kenyatta gave his much awaited speech. Burale’s post read in part:
“Last week Wednesday I (after recording an FB program that airs of Fridays) was struggling to breath and rushed to Nairobi Hospital where I was tested for Covid-19 (the doctor in the PPE was the most intimidating thing at that moment) 24 hours later the results were out…The doctor walks in to the isolation room and she says ‘Hello Mr Burale your results are out,’ and I reply ‘So I can go home?’
She says, ‘Unfortunately you have tested positive for Covid and we have to now take you to the isolation ward’. So I waited for the president to give his speech before I put up my post …Now that the country is opened. I owe it to family, friends and people I love this information…Above all, everything we go through is for God’s glory…”
I saw Grown Men fighting for Their Lives
Mr. Burale reveals that he got really scared after receiving the information and immediately thought of his daughter with whom he has been spending a lot of time. However, he was relieved after learning that his daughter was healthy and corona-virus free. As he walked into his isolation room, he says he was shocked to see grown COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, still in shock, you are taken to a treated lift. It opens for you and you are briefed, ‘When the lift opens you will find somebody waiting for you’ and I find a gentleman dressed in the full PPE… (This I only see in movies)…
Kudos to Nairobi Hospital…He immediately calmed me down and walked me to the bed…As I walked through I saw grown men fighting for their lives …I was scared …very scared. For two days I fought for my life under the great care of the doctors and nurses at Nairobi Hospital…I saw the Hand of God…My progress is good…My vitals are responding well…” his post continued.
Terse Warning to Kenyans
“This thing is not a joke!” This seems to be the big message that Mr. Burale wants to pass to those Kenyans who have been doubting the presence of the coronavirus in the country. He went ahead to say that he was responding well to medication and hoped to walk out of the hospital fine. Revealing that he is not sure where he got the virus from, he advised Kenyans take great care as no one is safe from the virus.
“For anyone who thinks this thing is a joke… may the Lord have mercy on you… I gathered courage and called a few people who have tirelessly prayed for me… and sent encouraging messages…
Please guys be careful… where did I get it? Your guess is as good as mine… I wish I knew… I have seen the doctors and nurses work so hard to keep people alive… please remember these frontline warriors in prayer… encourage them,” he said in his post.
Mr. Burale went on to pass the same message to Kenyans, in a follow video post on his Instagram account, in which he finished by saying: “Wacha mimi nipambane na hali yangu.” which loosely translates to, “Let me deal with my predicamnet,” Probably in anticipation of the uproar that his post was going to create online, since he understands Kenyans online too well.
Both social and mainstream media immediately went abuzz after Mr. Burale made his coronavirus status public. The following day, the online Daily Nation carried a story titled “Robert Burale: I Tested Positive for COVID-19” The Standard Entertainment carried a separate story titled “I saw Grown Men Fighting for Their Lives; Burale’s Warning as he Battles Covid-19” While on July 8th, 2020 The Star screamed, “Burale on the Mend After Contracting Covid-19.”
Kicked an Online Furore
However, the real furore was on social media (especially on Twitter and Facebook) with many people doubting the authenticity of his revelation regarding his coronavirus positive status. The majority of those who doubted him had an issue with his dress code in what looked like an ICU room. In his Instagram video and the photos that did the rounds online, Mr. Burale was still in his cap, specs and home clothes.
This was in spite of him being connected to artificial hospital oxygen, through his nostrils. However, truth be told the man was not in ICU but in an isolation room.
A stream of allegations, from his dark past, then followed on social media with different people accusing Robert Burale of all manner of crimes from his past. This opened a floodgate of Robert Burale con stories, in what seemed like a “me too syndrome”, with many people coming forward to narrate their unpleasant past encounters with the respected motivational speaker.
My issues with @burale1 date back 20 years ago in London. When he faked having sickle cell to fleece his then girlfriend. Case of boy who cried wolf.
Another netizen by the name David Warutere, while replying to mamaBora, added a reply:
Having briefly interacted with Burale in 2015 regarding a prospective business transaction, I can confidently describe him as a LIAR and FAKE character. I think he needs the help of a qualified psychotherapist. Deal with Burale AT YOUR OWN RISK.
However, some Twitter users such as Kangala Patrick chose to remain level-headed and came to the rescue of Mr. Burale. Patrick wrote:
Replying to @NjeriThorne
Everybody has a past.@burale1 is not here to defend himself or give his side of the story. In matters faith, let God be true and every man a liar.
It is no secret that Kenyans on social media never take prisoners. When you’re caught in their cross-hairs, Kenyan Twitter and Facebook sleuths will not only unearth your dark past in a matter of minutes, but they’ll also ensure that your nudes (especially if you are a lady) suddenly leak online and go viral within one hour. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never taken nudes in your entire life; we have experienced Photoshop experts working round the clock in these online streets.
The BIG question again is: Why are Kenyans so angry online? Might this be a manifestation of a serious mass “Displacement defense mechanism,” due to the stress and anxiety emanating from the tough times that majority of Kenyans are currently going through? Could it be that the safety and anonymity that comes with hiding behind a keyboard, offers many a perfect opportunity to vent their own frustrations, on a hapless and unseen online victim?
However, after all is said and done, one thing is for sure. Once the dust, from the online storm kicked by Mr. Burale’s public revelation of his Covid-19 status, settles; the man will be more popular than he was before. He will definitely have more followers on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts than he had previously and people who had never heard about him before will have known him.
We have seen many celebrities, the world over, pull very weird publicity stunts in the past, in a bid to give their waning popularity a shot in the arm. However, whether Robert Burale’s Covid-19 positive status public declaration was a publicity stunt or not; the jury is still out there.
SO WHO IS ROBERT BURALE?
Robert Burale Age and Education
Due to his rapidly graying hair and mustache, Robert looks slightly older than his actual age. Born on 14th March 1976, he turned 44 years on March 14th this year. Robert Burale education kicked off at Musa Gitau Primary School, in the heart of Kiambu County. The young Burale later went through his secondary school education in Bungoma High School, where his interest of acting was ignited.
For university studies, Mr. Burale would later the United Kingdom’s De Mont Forte University, from where he graduated with a degree in Business and marketing. Robert was also recently honored with an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities at The United Graduate College and Seminary International.
Robert Burale Career and Company
Robert is endowed with great oratory skills and a rare way with words. His gift of the garb makes him an excellent public speaker, who oftentimes typically leaves his audiences wowed. He founded the “The Naked Truth,” a talk show that is aimed at inspiring and uplifting people, especially the young generation, from the devastating knocks of life.
“Naked Truth” has sought bigger platforms outside the country, with an aim of being a formidable pillar of motivation to young people in different parts of the world. Through this platform, Robert Burale has been able to tour several states within the United States, besides a short stint in London.
Perhaps many people would remember Mr. Burale more from his role as one of the moderators in the long-running Citzen TV’s Fashion-Watch Show, (in the good company of the unsmiling Ian Mbugua) hosted by TV siren and news anchor Lilian Muli. Though the show finally came to an end two or so years ago, it doubtlessly became a very popular show not only for fashionistas, but also for many Kenyans who began to develop interest in fashion, thanks to “Fashion-watch.”
Robert Burale Wife
A lot has been said about the Robert Burale marriage and divorce. Mr. Burale met his ex-wife Rozinah Mwakideu, sister to popular Milele FM presenter Alex Mwakideu, at a past Gospel concert back in 2012. In spite of a fair resistance from Robert Burale parents, the two lovebirds tied the knot after five months of courtship.
Unfortunately, their marriage did not last for long as it came to an abrupt end, just one years after they wedded. In a past interview with Standard newspaper, Mr. Burale revealed how agonizing his divorce was. He regretted having failed to nurture the value of friendship with his ex-wife, a fact that led their marriage to the rocks. Being a pastor and public figure, he also had to put up with ridicule and unfair judgment from the public for a while, following the sudden divorce.
Robert Burale and his ex-wife Rozinah Mwakideu have given conflicting accounts on how they ended up divorcing, just one year after tying the matrimonial knot. Speaking to Eve Woman magazine some time back, Burale said that a communication breakdown and lack of enough quality time together played a big role in their ultimate divorce.
“I wish I had communicated better with her, listened to her. I also wish I spent more time with her. It’s not that I was travelling or working a lot, but sometimes you can be in the same room as someone else but you are not really spending time together…
There was also outside influence from friends. Nobody gets into marriage wanting it to fail. Mine failed after one year, two days! It was painful and depressing,” Robert said.
However, on her part, Rozinah insisted that Mr. Burale’s debts and lies accelerated their divorce.
Deep into Debt
However, on her part, Rozinah insisted that Mr. Burale’s debts and lies accelerated their divorce.
“I would receive phone calls now and then from people and police saying Robert had unsettled debts…
It was a character he had and I kept waiting because I thought he would change because he was born-again…
For example, the main reason why I left was after my friend came to visit me and after she left, she wanted to sue him. I couldn’t handle that pressure plus other personal issues,” she said.
Robert Burale Daughter
Robert Burale has an adorable daughter named Lexie Burale and the two are inseparable. The strong bond between father and daughter has sometimes been a subject of sharp criticism by Kenyans on social media. Some critics have at times felt that Mr. Burale is too close to his daughter for anyone’s comfort. The two are always seen dancing together and doing funny stuff in online video clips. Born on April 27th, 2005, Lexie turned 15 on April 27 this year.
Since Robert Burale and his ex-wife Rozina Mwakideu did not sire any child together, it means that Mr. Burale had Lexie from a previous relationship with another woman, who left him to raise his daughter as a single parent.
On her 1tth birthday, back in 2017, Mr. Burale showered her daughter with unending praises and sweet words, ritual he repeated with even sweeter words this year. Back then, he wrote the following on his social media accounts:
“27 TH APRIL 2005 at exactly 10:06 am I was in the delivery room with the doctor as you came to this world and had the privilege of seeing you as you popped out. For months while in your mother’s womb I would sing (my bad voice) and talk to you. The bond started way back. I thank God for allowing me to see you grow day by day. Today you celebrate turning 12 years.
Robert Burale Books
Robert Burale has never shied from sharing sneak peeks into his shadowy past. In early 2018, he authored a book titled “From the Strip Club to the Pulpit”. In the captivating story in the book, he details the highs and lows of his life. The book aptly captures Mr. Burale’s checkered life, as he transitioned from a campus student to a highly admired public personality.
In the story captured by his book, you get to know the full story of the celebrated motivational speaker’s life journey, from a humble background to being a household name in fashion and public speaking circles, within the country and beyond.
The book “From the Strip Club to the Pulpit” lifts the lid off Mr. Burale’s questionable and tainted past. Just like any robust young man, who was full of zeal, Robert admits that he used to be a serious party animal.
During his campus days, he fell into the trap of peer group pressure and found himself making endless trips to strip clubs, besides organizing frequent partying events with his friends. The bills from his merry-making were automatically passed to his father, who was doing fairly back then.
So much has been said about Robert Burale in the past. The man has also, without a doubt weathered many storms in his life. Going forward, i have a feeling that his btter days still lie ahead. Love him or hate him, the man is definitely destined to go places.
Robert Burale Contacts
Wako, A. (2020). Robert Burale: I Tested positive for Covid-19. Daily Nation. Retrieved from https://www.nation.co.ke/kenya/life-and-style/robert-burale-i-tested-positive-for-covid-19-1446110
Muli, D. (2020). I saw grown men fighting for their lives- Burales’ warning as he battles COVID-19. Standard Enterteinment. Retrieved from https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/entertainment/news/2001377808/i-saw-grown-men-fighting-for-their-lives-burales-warning-as-he-battles-covid-19
NGIGI, E. (2020). Burale on the mend after contracting coronavirus. The Star. Retrieved from https://www.the-star.co.ke/sasa/word-is/2020-07-08-burale-on-the-mend-after-contracting-coronavirus/
Aswani, N. (2018). Robert Burale biography. Retrieved 9 July 2020, from https://www.tuko.co.ke/270118-who-robert-burale-biography-wedding-wife-blog.html