10-year-old John Onkendi is a charming young boy. His confidence will simply blow you away. If you listen to him, you will immediately notice he is a gifted lad with a lot of potential.
On Monday, September 10, 2018, Onkendi who hails from Suneka in Kisii County stunned everyone when he showcased his prowess and mastery in football commentary and his impeccable knowledge of Radio Maisha presenters. His act was captured in a video that has since gone viral.
Indeed, Kenya has got talent!
In the video, Onkendi named the entire Manchester United and Chelsea soccer teams. He went further and discussed the recently concluded transfer window season that saw former Africa player of the year Riyad Mahrez move from Leicester City to champions Manchester City. The onlookers who had now slowly grown into a crowd were stunned.
Part of his presentation was an emotional confession about his deep love for Radio Maisha.
After the video went viral, Radio Maisha's Stephen Mukangai, a popular football commentator in the radio station, immediately contacted Onkendi through a third party who knows the boy.
In the animated phone call with Radio Maisha, Onkendi was asked whether he goes to school. The young lad said he attends school and confessed that his teacher decided to take him to a special school for mentally challenged children, which he does not like. The boy says he is a normal child.
While still on phone with Mukangai, he went ahead to name Radio Maisha’s morning show presenters Mwalimu Mbaruk and Billy, football commentators Shadrack Andenga and Hassan Mwana wa Ali. He said news presenter Mike Nyagwoka was his favourite.
Memorable trip to Nairobi
A few days after, Onkendi’s dream to come to the big city was realised. On Friday, September 14, Radio Maisha hosted him in their studios located at Standard Group’s head office on Mombasa road.
As expected, Onkendi was a pleasant addition to Mbaruk and Billy who host the morning show that is ranked amongst the most listened show across Kenya. Onkendi answered questions that left the duo in bouts of laughter. They could not believe the 10-year-old boy not only has an impressive mastery of words but is also very knowledgeable.
The phone calls from listeners were overwhelming as Kenyans showered the young man with praise and love.
Onkendi told the Radio Maisha team that he would love to go to a “proper” school. And guess what? His wishes have come true.
An appeal on air saw Kenyans raise more than half a million in three hours. At the time of publishing this article, the amount had clocked over Sh 600,000. The money being raised will cater for Onkendi’s education and medical expenses.
"As Radio Maisha, we take seriously our role in society of changing our community by positively touching lives. John Onkendi, is not only a loyal listener but also a very gifted young boy. We want to start him off on his promising future, and have done so with our listeners. I take this opportunity to appreciate every listener who jumped on this initiative in the spirit of 'TUKO MBELE PAMOJA', and 'RADIO ZAIDI YA RADIO' i.e. Radio Maisha is more than just Radio," said Lynda Oriaso, Radio Maisha Programmes Controller.
Mother died when he was two
Onkendi’s mother died when we was only two years old. He and his two siblings were left under the care of their old grandmother, Mary Bonareri.
Life has been very tough for the family. Onkendi’s father cannot support the family after he sold off most of their property while raising money to cater for his late wife’s hospital bills. In the process, Onkendi was not able to join school on time like other children his age. When he grows up, Onkendi wants to be a sports broadcast journalist.
His elder brother Shadrack Onkendi is in class eight at Itibo primary school. He is expected to sit for his primary school exam in November.
About Radio Maisha
Radio Maisha is one of the leading radio brands under Standard Group Plc. It was launched in May 2010.