Little-Known High Schools Kenyan Billionaires Attended

  • Left to right: RMS founder SK Macharia, Keroche Breweries founder Tabitha Karanja and Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi.
    Left to right: RMS founder SK Macharia, Keroche Breweries founder Tabitha Karanja and Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi.
    File
  • As the wealth game in Kenya continues to grow stellar, it is easier to notice that almost all the billionaires of our time have several similarities with an underlying grass-to-grace story.

    For instance, most tycoons have proved that they have had to work hard with a sizeable slice of the wealthy and influential individuals rising from abject poverty.

    Some have had to work through lesser-known village schools, in some cases under a full scholarship, but have now proved that no matter the circumstances, no human is limited.

    Here is a list of seven Kenyan tycoons who attended little-known high schools but have been inducted into the privileges of the 1 per cent.

    1. James Mwangi

    Equity Group CEO James Mwangi with his Ernst and Young Award in 2012
    Equity Group CEO James Mwangi with his Ernst and Young Award in 2012
    File

    Born in 1962, the celebrated Chief Executive, James Mwangi, has risen to the top echelons of the banking industry and runs Equity Bank, which has consistently been ranked as the best bank for 10 years.

    Mwangi's journey, however, started in Kangema in the mid-20th Century and was raised with a single mother following the death of his father during the Mau Mau war.

    He attended Nyagatugu Primary School in Kangema village before heading to Ichagaki Secondary School on a government scholarship. He then transferred to Kangema High School for A-levels in English Literature and Georgraphy and proceeded to the University of Nairobi for Bachelor of Commerce.

    Ichagaki is a boys boarding extra-county school located in Murang'a County while Kangema High School, also an extra-county school is located in Kangema Constituency in the same county.

    2. Peter Munga

    Peter Munga, Mt Kenya Foundation Chairperson Speaking During a Past Event
    Peter Munga, Mt Kenya Foundation Chairperson Speaking During a Past Event
    Twitter

    Another Equity heavyweight, Peter Munga's, journey to head the financial institution started in a little-known Rwathia village, Murang'a County.

    Born in 1943, Munga founded Equity Building Society (EBS) in his hometown of Kangema in 1984 before it became Equity Group Holdings Limited on December 31, 2014.

    Prior to all that success, he had his business foundation started at Gaichanjiru High School in Kangema Constituency before joining the University of Nairobi.

    The 77-year-old worked as an assistant secretary at the Ministry of Water before he resigned in 1993.

    3.  Jimnah Mbaru

    Musician Juliani (left) with Billionaire Jimna Mbaru in October 2011.
    Musician Juliani (left) with Billionaire Jimna Mbaru in October 2011.
    Facebook

    Billionaire Jimnah Mbaru is ranked among the wealthiest businessmen countrywide but his journey to the top has not been that smooth.

    Born in a little known village situated in Kangema, Murang'a County, Mbaru led most landmark transactions in the Capital Markets including Safaricom IPO, Kenya Power (KPLC) Capital Base Restructuring, the private equity investment by Helios into Equity Bank, I&M Bank Bond, Britam Bond and the Kenya Eurobond.

    His journey, however, began at Kirogo Secondary School which is situated in Murang'a County. He then transitioned to Strathmore College and the University of Nairobi.

    In 2018, he announced his exit from Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). He also unsuccessfully vied for Nairobi governorship in 2013.

    4. SK Macharia

    Citizen TV owner SK Macharia during a past address.
    Media owner and billionaire SK Macharia
    File

    Known as the leading media magnate in Kenya, billionaire SK Macharia has previously narrated that his journey to the top has not been easy by any measure.

    He has previously revealed that he lived as a homeless scavenger during the colonial days.

    Born in Ndakaini village in Murang'a County, Macharia worked hard and rose to the top of the food chain. He attended Ndakaini Primary School before moving to Gituru Intermediate School from where he transitioned to Kahuhia Teachers Training College.

    He is now the proud founder of Citizen TV and Royal Media Services (RMS). Citizen TV is ranked as the leading TV station in the country.

    5.  Simon Gicharu

    MKU Chairman Prof Simon Gicharu
    MKU Chairman Prof Simon Gicharu
    (COURTESY)

    Simon Gicharu is the founder of Mt Kenya University. At the age of 46 years, Gicharu became the youngest Kenyan to have established a chartered university in the country.

    So diligent was his hard work that his university now employs over 3,000 people and has a student population of about 50,000 and has spread its branches in Rwanda, Somaliland, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda.

    Prior to all that success, Gicharu's foundation were rooted in village schools where he attended Kiawairia Primary School and later Gathiruini Secondary School. He then moved to Murang’a High School for his O-levels.

    Gicharu's parents were peasant farmers and Gicharu, alongside his siblings, picked coffee at large commercials farms just to make ends meet.

    6. Tabitha Karanja

    Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja speaking during a past press briefing
    Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja speaking during a past press briefing
    Facebook

    Recently, Tabitha Karanja, the founder of the Keroche Breweries Company, has been plagued by scandals but that does not undercut her success in putting up a successful business.

    Born in Kijabe, her journey started at Bahati Girls Secondary School in Nakuru County. The institution is ranked as an extra-county school.

    After her education, she secured an employment at the Ministry of Tourism as an Accounting Clerk. In 1997, she joined forces with her husband to launch Keroche Breweries.

    7. Peter Muthoka

    Peter Muthoka during his coronation as the Chancellor of MMUST in December 2017.
    Peter Muthoka during his coronation as the Chancellor of MMUST in December 2017.
    Twitter

    Peter Muthoka is the founder and CEO of Acceler Global Logistics, one of Kenya's largest freight and logistics companies. 

    In 2016, the billionaire was recognised for his entrepreneurship as his company received an award from the World Customs Organisation.

    The billionaire, however, had humble beginnings attending Nyeri High School in Nyeri County.

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