'I was smelling and nobody wanted to sit next to me,' Maina Kageni talks about how he was mistaken for Nigerian selling drugs in the UK

'I was smelling and nobody wanted to sit next to me,' Maina Kageni talks about how he was mistaken for Nigerian selling drugs in the UK

Maina Kageni has become a household name in East Africa over the past 15 years.

The Classic 105 presenter, who was among the pioneer presenters who made radio what it is today has managed to stay relevant in the media industry despite many having faded away into insignificance.

He is still strong and continuing with a good job.

The media personality, who is also a voice-over artist and emcee shared his life journey on Churchill Show, leaving viewers awwed.

Speaking to Daniel ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki, Maina recounted how things changed for him after moving to the UK.

After completing high school I moved to the UK and I went from everything to nothing. I registered for college but never attended. after my mum found out, that was the end of everything. I had to find my own place and get a job. it was the hardest thing ever and that’s when you realize that you’re strong.

He continued;

I met people who changed my life. I had a Ghanaian friend (Michael) who was living in a pensioner’s house and he always prayed that he would die awachiwe nyumba. I think the owner of the house is still there. Michael taught me a lot of lessons.

Maina had no choice but get a job so as to foot for his bills and had to take up a job as a truck driver.

I saw how truck drivers used to make a lot of money and it was Ksh210,000 a week yet the most I could get was Ksh35,000. So I knew I had to get there but ubaya kufika hapo you need a licence and to get it, it was like Ksh560,000 and I had to save,’ he recounted.

The jovial radio presenter then got a job and worked really hard.

‘After saving did the test and got my licence and that was the game-changer. When I started driving trucks my money increased. there’s nothing I didn’t do I delivered meat, fish, vegetables everywhere,’ he said.

The job paid handsomely and he was making more than he imagined. But one day while on his way home using public transport, people mistook him for Nigerian selling drugs.

‘I remember one day I was going home and no one could sit next to me. I was smelling. Opposite me, there were two ladies and started gossiping about me in Kikuyu language. Ünaona hiki kimNigeria, kinaenda kuuza madawa”. I sat there and listened and could say nothing because that’s where life had taken me,’ he recalled.


there’s a time I worked throughout Christmas and New year so I got three times my pay and I invested in cars. I would export them to Kenya. That was the first meaningful business I ever did.

Maina didn’t continue with his job and fully went into motor business and then moved back to Kenya.

Asked about the radio presenter he admires locally, he said,

I love Alex Mwakideu.