Decades ago, when he and his family were virtually swimming in affluence, with several cars and other properties to his name, he never imagined that a time would ever come when he would lose all the wealth and turn a street hawker.
Richard Kioko Kiundi, popularly known as ‘The Duke of Emali’, according to Afrimax English, was once a billionaire living luxurious life with his family in Canada before he decided to return to Kenya to connect with his roots.
He had attended good schools in his early years thanks to his parents. After graduating from the university, he worked in the country’s civil service for years.
Interestingly, he visited Nairobi, Kenya’s capital one day and while having a drink at a popular bar, he met a man who was an accountant like himself.
During their interactions, he told the stranger that Nairobi was too expensive and that he wasn’t interested in working there.
That was a turning point for Kioko Kiundi. The stranger asked how much would be enough to entice him to relocate to Nairobi to work, and he mentioned quadruple 4500 shillings, his then salary.
Surprisingly, without hesitation, the man asked him to come and see him in his office, and that was how he got a higher-paying job at Toyota Kenya.
Having worked for Toyota Kenya for years, he later joined Kenya Pipeline, ostensibly for better conditions. This job too, he got in a bar while chatting with another stranger in a drinking bar.
Kioko Kiundi was living well until February 2013, when he felt a pain in his chest while walking in the streets of Nairobi. After several medical examinations, it came to light that he had a mild stroke.
Realising that he was not getting a permanent solution to his predicament in Kenya, he decided to fly to India for treatment.
Unfortunately, his insurance companies refused to pay bills for the treatment because it was a chronic disease. He had to carry the financial burden alone, which drained him.
He was compelled at a point to sell his company to raise money for his healthcare but was still indebted to some people. Failing to pay his debts, the creditors seized and auctioned his cars.
Kioko Kiundi’s life continued on a downward spiral till he lost virtually all his wealth. Although he survived the stomach cancer, he is now a shadow of his former glory.
However, he doesn’t want to remain fallen; he has put all his life experiences together into a book he titled “Through The Wilderness Of Life”, which he goes around selling in the streets to make ends meet.
His only challenge is that the people who need his book to learn life lessons can’t afford it. He has donated a lot of copies to schools although it cost him a lot of money to print them.