Accidents That Turned Ordinary Kenyans Into Overnight Celebrities

  • Several Kenyans have had lucky breaks that they never knew would lead them to great paths.

    In a moment of genuinely expressing themselves and being at the right place at the right time, some of these individuals have become celebrities and media personalities through such unplanned moments.

    Here are 6 personalities whose lucky breaks came in the most random and unexpected means of their source of livelihoods. 

    Bonoko

    James Kang'ethe aka Bonoko was a mere streetboy before an extra-judicial killing landed him fame and a career.

    Ghetto Radio presenter James Kang'ethe, popularly known as Bonoko's rise in popularity was by a pure chance.

    Talking to Parents Magazine in 2018, he intimated that he was simply narrating an extrajudicial killing involving someone he had known for quite sometime when fame inadvertently followed him.

    He told his side of the story to the journalist, where he described that police officers had killed a trader and planted a gun on him to taint him as a thief.

    Huyo mtu si mwizi anauzanga mitura pale Ngara. Wakamuua halafu wakawekelea bonoko juu yake (That man is not a thief, he sells mutura at Ngara. They killed him and planted a toy pistol on his chest)," the presenter told journalists. 

    His sentiments went viral and soon after, DJs incorporated the sound bite in music. When friends informed him that his clip was playing on the airwaves, went to Ghetto Radio and demanded royalties.

    One of the station's presenters reportedly heard him while he was being hassled by security guards and rushed to have him interviewed.

    He ended up hosting the show with presenter Mbusii, a job that he has been ever since.

    Sirikai Tafadhali Woman

    Jane Adika with Larry Madowo on The Trend on NTV

    Jane Anyango Adika became a celebrity in April 2012 after the media widely reported her plight as a victim of floods in Kano, Nyanza region. 

    Adika was seen lamenting that the rain had carried away her property and left her in shambles, unaware of where her children were at.

    In her funny and broken Swahili, what stood out in her speech was how she pleaded for help from the government, leading to Kenyans nicknaming her Mama Serikali.

    Her plea, however, soon landed her several high-profile advertisements with a popular telco, turning her misfortune into a cash cow and her into a celebrity.

    In 2015, the County Government of Kisumu appointed her as a flood preparedness ambassador under its Department of Special Programmes.

    Mama Fua

    Lucy Gatimu alias Mama Fua (pictured). Her predicament turned into a blessing for her.

    Kenyans on Twitter came together to raise thousands of shillings for a cleaning lady who found herself on the receiving end of an online bullying incident on February 4, 2020. 

    The woman, Lucy Gatimu, who regularly markets her door-to-door cleaning service on the social media platform, had replied to a tweet in which a user by the name 'Osama Otero' had advised Kenyans to purchase uniforms for struggling children they met walking to and from school.

    The Twitter user had then resorted to shaming her, advising that she should sell her phone to buy uniform for the children, a matter that infuriated Kenyans who came together to help settle her costs.

    A day after, staff from Ariel detergent paid Mama Fua a visit with presents and hinted that they would work with her in the future.

    "We were thrilled to pay Lucy Gatimu – Mama Fua a visit today. We gave her money for her children’s school fees, uniforms, products to empower her business and more. We look forward to continuing working with her and other hardworking Ariel customers in the future," the brand tweeted on Wednesday, February 5.

    Stevo Simple Boy

    Stevo Simple Boy started off as a construction worker before a fluke earned him a chance at the limelight.

    Stivo Simple Boy is a budding musician popular for his song, Vijana Tuache Mihadarati, an exhortation to the youth to stay off drugs.

    While he had been singing for quite some time, his lucky break came when someone recorded a video of him singing to the Mihadarati acapella that immediately became a sensation.

    Stevo Simple Boy has since gone ahead to record several tracks including Ndoa and Ukimwi which have been received quite well in the social scene.

    He has also featured on several TV and radio interviews that have boosted his profile into one of the most recognizable artists in Kenya.

    Jose The Witnesser

    Joseph Mburu is popular for his 'Ni Kama Ndrama ni Kama Vindio' witness testimony.

    Jose the Witnesser is the voice behind the Ni Kama Ndrama Ni Kama Vindio fame.

    Jose, whose name is Joseph Mburu, became an overnight sensation after he was featured in a TV interview narrating an accident which he had allegedly witnessed.

    "So walikuwa wezi kwa gari, me I was there pare kwa car wash. I witnessed ni kama ndrama ni kama vindeo. (There were thieves in the vehicle and I was at the car wash. Everything looked a dramatic scene from the movies)," he told the media. 

    What won Kenyans over was his apparent accent, a factor that allowed him to get into the advertising industry and make a killing out of his comical prowess.

    Just like Mama Serikali, Jose landed several high-profile commercials with leading telcos, and also launched a music career with several songs under his belt.

    Nadia Mukami

    Nadia Mukami's career peaked after she got a chance to perform with Suzanna Owiyo on Churchill Show.

    Nadia had been in the music industry since 2015, but her big break came when she performed next to Suzanna Owiyo on Churchill show in 2017.

    The fourth-year student and Maseno University got a chance to share the stage with the veteran musician where they did an acapella version of the song, Si Rahisi, immediately gaining countrywide recognition.

    It was not too long until the polished version of the tune was released, then another and another after that, and soon, she transformed from the barely known musician to gracing Coke Studio Africa.

    Nadia is known for her strong vocals, the poetic feel around her music that makes her art stand out.

    Among some of her well-known hits are Radio Love alongside Arrow Boy and Lola alongside Masauti.