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From Corporate Success To Hawking Books In The Streets: Richard Kiuni’s Inspiring Journey Of Resilience And Hope

Richard Kioko Kiundi enjoyed a high flying career working for some of the biggest corporates in Kenya including Toyota and Kenya Pipeline. He also became a successful businessperson until ill health caused everything to go downhill. Speaking on Afrimax, he explained his journey and how he has fought through life despite the challenges. 

Here is his story as told by WoK.


Born in Makueni, Richard went to various schools before finally joining the University of Nairobi. He was born in a modest family with his father participating in the second world war. 


After university, he became a civil servant working in Kilifi and then Taita Taveta. He then got a job in Kisiii. Right before taking up the job, he went to a bar in Nairobi West.

Here, he met a friend and as they were talking he said he would never live in Nairobi because of the expensive lifestyle.

His friend asked him what it would take for him to work in Nairobi. He quoted a salary four times what he was making.

He told him to see him the following day and that was how he found himself working at Toyota Kenya. He rose to chief accountant and later operations manager before he quit.

Years later, while enjoying a cold one at a bar along Jogoo Road, he met another friend who helped him secure a job at Kenya Pipeline where his exceptional service enabled him rise through the ranks to become a chief accountant.

Later, he was let go from his job. Richard went on to pursue business interests, bought cars and lived in a big house. His wife went on to work in the movie The Boy who Harnessed the Wind. 

Going Downhill 

In 2013, he suffered a mild stroke and the doctors advised him to change his lifestyle. Later, he had stomach pains and upon visiting the doctor found out he was in the early stages of stomach cancer.

This made him seek costly treatments in India that left him in a lot of debts. By the time he was recovering, he had lost his business and was in a lot of debts. 

The extended family then started spreading rumors that he was dying. Some said the cancer was due to witchcraft since there was land disputes.

Their grandfather’s land was in his mother’s name and he had wanted it to be divided among all his children (the grandfather’s children) with each getting a title deeds.

They were against it thinking he wanted to con them. After his recovery, he let the issue go since he had his own land and didn’t need to help them sort their issues. 

Today, he has written a book detailing his story and often walks around selling it to people. He hopes to become a farmer and has stayed strong hoping for a better tomorrow.