When darkness surrounds you, it is still possible to become a bright light to those who need it. Kenyan radio host, actress, poet, musician and activist, Adelle Onyango, is an example of necessary radiance. Before settling into her current role as a radio show host for music station KISS 100, she refined her knack for storytelling while studying Journalism at United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya. Tearing down poetry stages and open mics eventually turned into her manning mics on air. KISS, she has told outlets, was a calling that she simply answered. Most recently, the vivacious media personality was named one of the BBC 100 Women 2017. Onyango, 29, has also designed apparel and accessories in collaboration with Olive & Annie and NAD, and serves as the brand ambassador for Intel Corporation campaign, “Intel She Will Connect.”
There were two events that were pivotal in shaping the trajectory of Onyango’s career and her strong views on bettering certain women’s issues. The first, and one of her most publicly known struggles, took place at 19 years of age when she was raped by a stranger on the way to a party with friends. The second was losing her mother to breast cancer and subsequently dedicating herself to the fight against it. Both moments took her time and therapy to overcome, but the healing process lent itself to something bigger. Now, Onyango channels her energy into her campaigns, No Means No, ProjectShe and Team Adelle, created to empower women and help them restore their dignity. Through the initiatives, she helps provide free therapy and access to safe houses with confidence classes for rape victims; encourages individuals to openly share their challenges; and gives empowerment talks across high schools, universities, churches and women’s groups. While she has endured what must have felt like insurmountable lows, Onyango continues to be a beacon to those with both open ears and open hearts.