Mashujaa Day Special: Little Known Kenyan Heroes [VIDEO]

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta greets world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge during the 10th Mashujaa Day fete at the Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa County on October 20, 2019
    President Uhuru Kenyatta greets world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge during the 10th Mashujaa Day fete at the Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa County on October 20, 2019
    PSCU
  • Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth, however, this has not stopped the everyday Kenyans from performing acts of genuine valor.

    As Kenyans commemorate the October 20 fete known as Mashujaa Day, we take a look at the unsung heroes whose acts of bravery did not go unnoticed.

    Bernard Olayo

    Bernard Oloyo, a selfless doctor, attracted the praise and recognition of renowned billionaire Bill Gates on Tuesday, June 30, over his sacrifice and dedication to aid Coronavirus (Covid-19) patients.

    Olayo founded Hewatele, which translates to abundant air, an innovative oxygen supply company, to help alleviate the shortage of medical oxygen in Kenya and across Africa.

    In a show segment dubbed Heroes in the Field, Bill Gates praised the doctor for his initiative towards tackling the Covid-19 disease.

    "As Covid-19 spreads across Africa, healthcare facilities across the continent face shortages of basic medical supplies needed to treat the respiratory disease. Not only masks and ventilators but something people in rich countries take for granted - oxygen. This hero is playing a critical role in Kenya’s preparations to tackle COVID-19 by scaling up medical oxygen supplies that will be needed to keep the most critically ill patients alive," Gates said.

    Olayo pointed out that his system guarantees enough oxygen. Using this new approach dubbed Hewatele, he was able to cut the market price for oxygen in Kenya by 50%.

    This necessitated Bill Gates to recognise him as a hero in the field, with the American adding that more needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to this simple medical intervention.

    Dr Bernard Oyalo, a medic who attracted Bill Gates praise on Tuesday, June 30, 2020
    Dr Bernard Oyalo, a medic who attracted Bill Gates praise on Tuesday, June 30, 2020
    YouTube

    Abubakar the Taxi Driver

    On January 20, Abubakar made headlines when he bravely drove two suspected Al-Shabaab militants - Aden Hassan Mohammed (22) and Ibrahim Ali Guyo (19) - into a police station.

    The taxi driver became suspicious when the passengers insisted that he avoids highways and instead stick to unmanned routes through the bushes.

    To the surprise of his passengers, Abubakar drove through the bushes only to make his way to a police station.

    The police, upon thorough search, recovered a pistol and several rounds of ammunition from the suspects.

    Aden Hassan Mohammed (left) and Ibrahim Ali Guyo who were arrested after a taxi driver drove them into a police station on January 19, 2019.
    Aden Hassan Mohammed (left) and Ibrahim Ali Guyo who were arrested after a taxi driver drove them into a police station on January 19, 2019.
    Facebook

    James Mugo Kangara

    On September 5, 2019, James Mugo jumped into a burning fuel tanker and steered it out of a petrol station, and in the process ended up saving countless lives and property worth of millions.

    This act of valor received praise from netizens who were astounded at his prowess. The driver narrated that he was offloading petrol at the station when a fire started from beneath the tanker.

    "I managed to drive the burning tanker away from the shops and residential houses and jumped out before the tanker burst into flames and was reduced to a shell,” he recalled.

    The shell of the fuel tanker which burst into flames on September 5, 2019.
    The shell of the fuel tanker which burst into flames on September 5, 2019.
    File

    Sophie Otiende

    Kenyan human rights defender, Sophie Otiende received global acclamation for her efforts in fighting against human trafficking. 

    She was recognised for her leadership role in the development of victim assistance infrastructure and practices in Kenya to aid human trafficking survivors.

    Speaking on behalf of this year’s TIP Report Heroes, Otiende urged global citizens to advocate for a more equal world that doesn’t allow slavery of any kind to exist. 

    Having been a victim of human trafficking, Otiende stated that this gave her the goal of helping other victims who went through the same ordeal.

    Sophia is currently running an organisation, Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART) that has assisted more than 400 victims of human trafficking in the more than 10 years she has been in the field.

    Programme Consultant at HAART Kenya Sophie Otiende
    Programme Consultant at HAART Kenya Sophie Otiende
    File

    Adhiambo Ochieng

    On Monday, June 9, Kibra activist Adhiambo Ochieng' was named the first winner of the unsung hero campaign by the Wangari Maathai Foundation.

    Ochieng was recognised for her work in advocating for women's rights and helping survivors of sexual violence.

    The 31-year-old activist runs the Feminist for Peace Human Rights and Justice Centre and she had been involved in the social programs in the settlement for a number of years.

    Born and raised in Kibera, Ochieng took the initiative to start a women empowerment program upon seeing how women in her community suffered and their rights infringed on.

    A statement by the Wangari Mathai Foundation noted that Ochieng was selected among hundreds of applicants who are working in society but don't get recognised for their transformative actions.

    Kibra Activist Adhiambo Ochieng.
    Kibra Activist Adhiambo Ochieng.
    File

    Kevin Otunga

    On Monday, October 21, 2019, the images of police officer, Kevin Otunga went viral as he set aside his blue uniform and plunged into murky waters to save several herds of sheep and goats that were trying to cross a flooded river.

    Armed with nothing but his bare hands and instinctive wits, the officer went about saving and helping to get the various livestock across the rivers' heavy current that resulted from the flashfloods witnessed in the area.

    Officer Otunga reportedly decided to take matters into his own hands, in a bid to alleviate the gloom that had canvassed the entire region.

    "We celebrate this dedicated police officer Kevin Otunga based in Loglogo location Marsabit county who went out of his way to rescue the drowning animals from being swept away by floods," the Secretary for Delivery and Head of President's Delivery Unit, Andrew Wakahiu shared on Twitter.

    Officer Kevin Otunga helps a sheep across the dangerous river October 21, 2019.
    Officer Kevin Otunga helps a sheep across the dangerous river October 21, 2019.
    File

     Embassava Sacco matatu

    On December 21, 2019, an Embassava Sacco matatu was the talk of town after it turned into a delivery ward when the crew swiftly ditched their daily routine to come to the aid of a lady who went into labour while on her way to the hospital.

    "I just saw a woman writhing in pain before she went down on her knees while her husband, who was carrying a bag, tried to help her to her feet. 

    "Just then she made a loud scream and the baby came out, luckily enough I was right on time to hold the baby’s head as she came out,” Joseph Anari, one of the crew, narrated.

    Members of the matatu crew then offered their jackets to wrap the baby, while a woman in the crowd is said to have offered her hairband, which was used to tie the baby's umbilical cord.

    An Embassava Matatu pictured in Nairobi CBD.
    An Embassava Matatu pictured in Nairobi CBD.
    File

    Richard Muema

    On November 5, 2019, CCTV footage captured at a shop went viral as it showed freelance journalist, Muema launching an offensive on one of the armed gunmen despite ending up with 8 bullets in his body.

    His act of bravery undoubtedly saved the shop owners' life who had caught the attention of the armed robbers. Muema underwent successful surgeries at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

    Watch the video below: