5 ordinary Kenyans who rose to instant fame in 2023

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 30 Dec, 2023 10:00 | 4 mins read
Ntazola Gloria (left). Dancing cop Solomon Mwangi Kiragu (right) PHOTO/Screengrab by K24 Digital

Some people struggle to be famous while for others, fame just chase after them without even breaking a sweat.

2023 witnessed the rise of ordinary Kenyans who dominated headlines for good and bad reasons alike.

Below are some of the ordinary people who shot to fame this year:

Nuru Okanga

Nuru Okanga shot to fame in 2023 because of political zealotry. His fanatical support for Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya Coalition earned him national recognition.

Okanga's star even shone brighter after the release of the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results, a test he took.

Kenyans were interested in finding out what marks he scored in KCPE but Okanga jealously protected his grade like stolen goods.

Nuru Okanga
Azimio diehard Nuru Okanga at a past event. PHOTO/(@TrudyKitui)YouTube

Embakasi East Member of Parliament (MP) Babu Owino offered a scholarship to Okanga upon completion of his primary education.

KCPE aside, Okanga also made headlines on November 30, 2023, after he was charged with the publication of false information about President William Ruto.

After he was released on bail, the staunch Azimio supporter threatened to sue police officers who arrested him accusing them of violating his rights.

Akanga claimed police arrested him while he was naked like an animal in the bathroom.

Gloria Ntazola

Gloria Ntazola earned 15 minutes of fame after she was seen in a viral video driving off with a Nairobi City County Inspectorate officer while also giving him a tongue-lashing for inviting himself into her car.

She got into an altercation with three kanjos when they unlawfully got inside her car in Nairobi CBD.

In the viral video which she shared on social media, Ntazola complained that she was trying to park the vehicle when he was confronted by the kanjos.

Two kanjos got out of the car after a heated argument with Ntazola but one who was seated in the front seat of her car stayed put prompting the lass to drive off with him.

Gloria Ntazola. PHOTO/(@GloriaNtazola)TikTok
Gloria Ntazola. PHOTO/(@GloriaNtazola)Instagram

Ntazola later claimed that her TikTok account was taken down for posting the video of herself taking off with the kanjo in her vehicle.

The 25-year-old provocateur however extended an olive branch to the kanjo after giving him an unsolicited ride from Nairobi CBD to Kitengela in the neighbouring Kajiado county where she dumped him.

"I am very apologetic I used that kind of language it was just I was triggered sikufaa kutumia word kama hio I am very sorry. I am even willing maybe someday we will meet with that guy and we squash this," Gloria Ntazola said.

Dancing cop

In late September, Senior Sergeant Solomon Mwangi Kiragu shot to fame after a video of him dancing went viral on social media.

The police officer was filmed dancing along to 'Enjoyhit song by Jux featuring Diamond Platinumz.

In an interview with a local publication, Mwangi said he was recorded during an event for senior citizens dubbed 'Walk a Mile' organised by Nakuru East MP David Gikaria.

Nakuru senior sergeant in viral dancing video speaks
Nakuru-based Senior Sergeant Solomon Mwangi Kiragu whose dancing video went viral. PHOTO/Screengrab/(Youtube, TikTok)

He said after the walk, they converged for various competitions and it was at that point he decided to show off the dancing skills he acquired while young.

In the video, Mwangi who is currently in charge of Muguga Police Patrol Base was filmed dancing effortlessly to the banger before calling on fellow officers to join in.

Paul Mackenzie

Paul Mackenzie rose from being a nobody to being the most infamous preacher arguably in the history of Kenya.

Mackenzie gained some notoriety in the press in April 2013 when it was revealed that he had instructed members of his Good News International Ministries to starve themselves en masse to meet Jesus.

At first, the extent of the starvation was not clear as just one emaciated woman was rescued, then others followed before police started uncovering shallow graves in what appeared to be like a script from a horror movie made by nazis in Auschwitz concentration camp.

Mackenzie, his wife request court for mattresses, beddings and quality food
Paul Mackenzie at the Shanzu court. Photo/Sophie Njoka.

By June, authorities said more than 400 people had died and buried in shallow mass graves in Shakahola forest.

Mackenzie is currently under police custody as the process of exhuming the bodies hasn't actually been called off to date.

Amidst his woes with authorities, Mackenzie came up with the famous phrase 'kitawaramba' which is now a popular word in Swahili vocabulary.


Mary Wangeci, known by her stage name Ngesh Bad Gal, swept fans off their feet with her exceptional lyrical prowess in 'Kaveve Kazoze' song and became an instant sensation on social media in May 2023.

Her talent resonated with many local music fans and catapulted her to overnight celebrity status and stardom.

Ngesh Wa Vasha. PHOTO/Facebook
Ngesh. PHOTO/Facebook

Just as many people were beginning to think that Ngesh was slowly becoming an unstoppable force within the Gengetone music genre, she disappeared suddenly from the limelight.

Ngesh and members of her Spider Clan music group opened up about how their music careers hit rock bottom while speaking during an interview that premiered on Jalang’o TV on December 7, 2023.

The group said they had been reduced to job-hunting to survive.

Related Topics