Once someone scores a lower grade in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), they are often regarded as failures, with the assumption that they cannot pursue further education.
However, in the case of Mwangi Mukami, he defied expectations after scoring a D+ in KCSE, ultimately graduating with five degrees in the United States of America
Mwangi Mukami, born in 1984, grew up in the slums of Kawangware.
Raised by a single mother alongside eight siblings, poverty was a constant companion in his early life.
Despite the harsh circumstances, Mwangi understood that education was his ticket out of poverty. From a young age, he dedicated himself to academic excellence and engaged in various activities outside the classroom.
However, the turning point in Mwangi’s journey came when he faced the challenge of the KCSE exams and received a D+ grade.
This result could have been demoralizing.
Yet, Mwangi refused to let it define him or his aspirations. When his peers mocked him and doubted his dreams of becoming an attorney or policymaker, he chose not to listen but instead forged ahead with unwavering determination.
“Years ago, Kenya’s educational system wrote me off as a failure because I had a D+. I remember vividly saying to my peers that I wanted to be a policymaker or an attorney. Their response was a burst of collective laughter and sneer,” he stated.
At the age of 20, he founded the National Youth Parliament of Kenya, a platform that allowed young people to sit in the actual parliament and discuss issues affecting them directly.
Four years later, undeterred by societal expectations and stereotypes associated with academic performance, Mwangi founded the Martin Luther King (MLK) Foundation.
“At 24, I founded the Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Africa Foundation and served as its Chairman of the Board. Within five years, MLK operated in 8 cities across Africa with 14 full-time and 214 part-time employees,” he noted.
In 2009, he made a significant move to the United States. His educational journey began with bridging courses before he joined the City College of San Francisco in 2012.
Despite initial challenges, Mwangi graduated with two Associate of Arts and Sciences degrees in Behavioral Sciences in 2014.
His academic achievements continued to soar as he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Francisco State University in 2018.
Undeterred by the stigma associated with his KCSE result, Mwangi went on to join the pUniversity of California, Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy. In 2020, he proudly graduated with a Master of Public Affairs.
Currently, he has graduated with five degrees from distinguished universities: a dual bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations,magna cum laude from the San Francisco State University, two Associate Degrees in Behavioral Science, and Humanities, with honors from the City College of San Francisco, Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Political Science and a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California.
Mukami attributed his success to his mother, whom he noted, was instrumental in his career by raising his siblings by selling groceries.
“Congratulations to my mom. The degree is a reflection of her tenacity. I am grateful and honored to have wonderful brothers and sisters who support and trust my ability to achieve,” he stated after sharing a post while graduating.