In 2008, radio presenter Adelle Onyango was raped by a stranger while leaving a house party to hit a club in Westlands. Four years later, she lost her mother, Mary Onyango, to breast cancer. She talks to Cate Mukei about her journey to recovery and her projects inspired by the mum’s death
You were raped a few years ago. Have you forgiven your rapist?
No, I just don’t think that is possible!
If you were to come face to face with him, what would be your reaction?
My reaction keeps changing - from extreme hatred and anger, to extreme fear. At the moment, I think I would be numb with fear.
Is there a point in your life you hated men?
I can’t really say I hated men. I think I was scared of them. That made relationships difficult because I wouldn’t open up easily. That is the case even to date.
How did you manage to move on and fall in love?
I went through a lot of counselling. Consciously, I was able to pick up the broken pieces in my life with the aid of a therapist. I have ensured that any man whom I date has to know my past. This, I believe, enables them to understand.
Speaking of relationships, you broke up with your fiancé after two years of engagement. What happened?
I am not comfortable speaking about my past or present relationships.
What is your advice to someone who is yet to recover from such an experience?
You have to seek professional help. I swear by counselling. It was my late mum who advised me to go for it and it made a huge difference in my healing process.
Speaking of your mum, she died after a long battle with cancer. How did you cope?
It’s not something you overcome. Death is something you accept and as part of life. Every day, every second, more so, the loss of a mother. I miss her every day. Some days I cry about it, some days I don’t.
What has been your contribution towards fighting cancer?
I am involved in creating awareness - on early detection and also support to patients. Thanks to Eddah’s Hope Cancer Foundation, I’ve managed to be part of some support groups for patients and families and I think it strengthens anyone battling with cancer directly or even their family.
You are also very passionate about fighting bullying, especially on social media. What inspires you?
I am entitled to me. That’s one of my mantras, so I will not hand over that entitlement to anyone be it offline or online.
You have a lot of energy on radio. What drives you?
I have a lot of energy in life! I think I try and live each day to its climax. I strive to be good at what I do.