By Harold Ayodo
His heart skipped a beat when students of Daystar University nominated him for the servant leadership award this year.
Johnson Mwakazi, a second year Bachelor of Arts in Communications student by night and television presenter by day, says he was humbled by the honour.
"I believe my college mates voted for me because they appreciate how far I have come, given my background," he says.
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Mwakazi’s educational journey has been tough from the start.
"As a pupil at Kibera Primary School, I never imagined I would join university. I studied by the light of a tin lamp," he says.
After secondary education at Jamhuri High School, he qualified to join Kenyatta University (KU) but could not due to lack of fees.
"I got a mean grade of B plain in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education," he says. My mother, a cleaner, could not afford the fees," he says.
Moreover, she was dismissed from her job shortly after he was admitted to KU.
"My future appeared dim," he says.
He decided to spend his days acting in plays with the Kibera Community Youth Programme where playwrights noticed his talent and cast him in plays.
His star began to rise when media houses contracted him for voice over advertisements and to read news.
Mwakazi worked for several FM radio stations before he joined Hot 96 FM.
Back to school
"It was here I got an opportunity to be a television presenter and resolved to go back to school," he says.
He says time management and his relationship with his college mates could have made him their role model.
"I never expected that my peers at the university would choose me for the coveted award at Daystar. I am grateful."
Mwakazi says balancing work and studies is not easy.
"I am at work from 6am and must arrive two hours before going on air," he says.
Mwakazi attends classes from 5.30pm to 8.30pm when he goes home to complete assignments and study privately before calling it a day.
"It means hard work but I know I shall be successful in the end as I have already come a long way," he says.