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From an outcast to celebrated Paralympian- how Anne Wafula Strike defied the odds

January 5, 2019
By
Collins Ogutu
for Chams Media Digital

ESSEX, LONDON- Anne Wafula Strike is like the proverbial cat with 9 lives. In her whole life, she has defied odds, fought superstition and challenged status quo because she was meant to live like a normal human and not be locked up in some hut in Webuye, Kakamega County.

Her story is that of determination, guts and positivity. It is inspiring and motivating especially when you look back to her days growing up. And in that spirit, Anne Wafula Strike has defied all the disability odds to become a powerful, admired role model in the United Kingdom. She literally dines with royalty.

"I was born as a normal healthy child- that is what my parents tell me. And when I was two and half years, I got very ill; nobody knew what was happening," she says.

"And because of the kind of life then, there were two minds. Christians believed I was cursed by God and the traditionalists believed I had been bewitched."

Also on Daring Abroad

Apart from championing the rights of persons living with disability in the UK, Anne Wafula Strike is also a paralympian. She has participated in five Paralympics since 2004 and has also been to World Championships. But it has been long, a very long story, she says.

From an outcast to celebrated Paralympian- how Anne Wafula Strike defied the odds 1

We met Anne Wafula Strike at a training session in Harlow Leisure zone, Essex in South East London. PHOTO| COURTESY

Had it not been for the aggression of her father though, a former military warrant officer, Anne Wafula Strike would not be who she is today. Her entire family had to fight superstition, primitive and archaic beliefs of her community back then, to let her live and see her dreams come true. And that her father did, against all the odds.

"The traditionalists expected my father to abandon me because they started seeing me as an outcast, a burden just like other disabled children who are locked up in houses," Anne tells Daring Abroad.  

"It was then that my father took me to Kenyatta hospital where I was diagnosed with polio."

On Daring Abroad tonight, Anne Wafula-Strike also tells Alex Chamwada how and why villagers back in Mihuu, Webuye wanted to burn their home, how they managed to escape and the role her father played during the tumultuous times.

"We had to flee our home and ended up in Kahawa Barracks because my dad was in the army," she narrates.

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