Shanice Nthenya Winnie, who prefers going by the name Santorini Queen, is the only Kenyan living and
working on the Greek Island of Santorini.
She is the manager and co-owner of Romani Tours, a travel agency based in a small town called Perissa,
south of the island. The company specializes in providing car rentals, boat rentals and accommodation
services to tourists visiting Santorini.
In an interview with Travel YouTuber Iam Marwa, Shanice reveals that she and her daughter are the only
Africans living on the Island.
Driven by a desire to seek greener pastures elsewhere, Shanice decided to relocate abroad. For her, life in
Kenya was not fulfilling, prompting her to seek new horizons.
Born and raised in the Nyanza region, she was orphaned at a young age. Her parents were from Homa Bay
and Machakos. She learnt early that she had to work hard for her things.
Moving to Greece was a whole new experience for her. She settled in Athens. The lady learned that, in
Europe, one needs to have several documents to access many services and facilities.
She managed to get a tax number. However, her employment number took a longer time to process.
A travel enthusiast at heart, Shanice would often visit the Greek Islands, among them Santorini. This was
while she was still waiting for the government to process her employment number.
One day, while she was leaving Santorini from touring, a friend invited her to dinner the next time she
would visit the Island.
He also mentioned that he would have someone else tag along. Little did Shanice know that the mutual
friend would happen to connect her to her future husband.
In the meeting, her ‘soon-to-be’ husband conversed with her. She opened up about her struggles to find a
He offered her a job at his company as a salesperson. The only requirement to get the job was the ability to
drive a vehicle.
“When I met him, we didn’t meet like lovers. He told me he needs employees for his company. He needed a
salesperson that can drive,” she narrated.
Considering the challenges she had been through, Shanice saw this as a great opportunity to get a job. Her
only worry was that she didn’t have a European driving licence, and cars in Greece drive on the right.
“He told me to take the Jeep and drop them at a destination. On arrival, he asked me when I’d like to start
Shanice lived in Athens. She was initially hesitant as the job was in Santorini, a very expensive place to live.
She negotiated a better work deal to sustain her lifestyle while working there.
The man informed her he was divorced and she could live in his house. Keen on not jumping blindly at the
job offer, she asked for a contract to safeguard her interests, and when this was signed, she moved to
Years later, the two love birds married and have travelled together to numerous places. With the help of her
husband, Shanice has managed to grow Romani Tours into a reputable company.
Shanice and her husband touring Milan, Italy. – Bizna Kenya | Photo Courtesy (Instagram @ Santoriniqueen1)
She has over 100 accommodation rooms and villas, 200 cars for rent and has employed 20 people in
Santorini. The most affordable room in their catalogue goes for 40 Euros during the low season.
Reflecting on her life in Santorini, Shanice states that despite wielding a great managerial job, she often
feels lonely as the only black person. She has received instances of prejudice and racism.
While Santorini’s residents are not racist, some tourists visiting the shop don’t expect her to be the manager.
They walk in looking to strike a better deal for the services offered. When she hands it to them, they get
upset and demand to speak to the ‘owner’ of the store.
As a parting shot, Shanice advised young African women not to jump on white men thinking that all have
pockets filled with money.
She requested them to change their mindset; Marrying rich does not mean being lazy and having everything
handed over to you. One has to work hard.
“Not every woman with a white man is a billionaire, and not every woman with a white man is sitting down
and getting everything for free. You have to work for it. Things have changed, you have to work so hard and
achieve what you can yourself,” she advised.
Source: BIZNA KENYA