Gifted 10-year-old Kisii boy wins hearts of Kenyans with his radio talent

John arrives in Nairobi

10-year-old John Onkendi who has been trending in social media arrived in Nairobi on Thursday night and was put up in a City hotel together with his caregiver courtesy of Radio Maisha.

Onkedi became an online sensation after a recording of him doing a soccer commentary and mimicking his favourite radio presenters went viral. Being a pupil with special needs, Onkedi is not able to fit in a normal classroom. But that has not stopped him from using his talent to entertain the locals at Suneka airstrip.

When The Standard went looking for him, they found him at the local trading center amusing bystanders with his skills.

"I love Radio Maisha, my Radio at home is tuned to Radio Maisha Programs round the clock, i like the station because its programs are educative , entertaining and informative, in fact i switched off my Radio while it was tuned to my favourite station," said Onkendi.

John Onkedi with the Radio Maisha presenters

We learnt that local residents who have not had an opportunity of getting latest updates in news and sports rely on him when he visits their local market to do what he loves most which is entertaining and informing fellow villagers.

But beneath the smile and laughter, the little boy lives a tough life. His grandmother Mary Bonareri has been taking care of Onkedi and his two older brothers since his mother passed away. His father, an alcoholic, left her with the responsibility of caring for the three children.

"The boys are living in abject poverty since their father has left the responsibility of their day to day care to me, we sold most of our land to cater for my husband's medical bill and some of our children who passed away many years ago," said Bonareri.


The grandmother said that her young grandson has unique talents which if well nurtured can enable him to be one of the top comedians in the country and appealed to those who are able to assist him to chip in.

His school head teacher Mark Monyancha said that Onkendi used to attend normal class in the school but it was established that he had challenges keeping up with classwork, which is why he had to be relocated to the special class.

"Onkendi finds it difficult to keep up with the normal classwork but he is very good in singing songs, mimicking Radio Maisha Presenters and a good comedian who keeps people glued to his antics for hours in nearby shopping centers," said Monyancha.

The head teacher said despite having challenges in classwork Onkendi has the ability to grasp things very fast which makes him standout from others. He even bought him radio in recognition of his unique talents.

"Our School is lenient to Pupils with special needs, that is why they are allowed to come to school when they can so that they are not discouraged from continuing with their studies, Onkendi falls in this category," said Monyancha.

As he attended an interview in Radio Maisha's morning on Friday, he showcased his gift to the delight of the listeners. In order to facilitate his education, Radio Maisha started a fund drive appealing to the public to support the young man.

You can be make a difference in Onkedi's life by sending your contribution through paybill number 505601, account name RADIO.