Fr. Edwin Onyango: Discovering the depths of identity and purpose


In a world that often demands concrete labels and well-defined roles, Fr. Edwin’s (or Fr. Eddie, as he is fondly referred to by his former colleagues) journey defies easy categorisation. A Jesuit priest, a brother, a son, a mentor—these are just a few of the facets that make up his captivating persona. 

We recently had the pleasure of his company over a laughter-filled exchange. As the interview begins, his voice reflects a deep sense of contemplation and self-awareness, setting the stage for a conversation that delves into the intricate tapestry of his life.

“Man, who am I?” he muses, acknowledging the complexity of the question. “But I’m many things,” he continues, revealing his humble origins in a large family. However, his identity transcends mere familial connections. He speaks with unwavering passion about making a meaningful contribution to the world, not just through his professional endeavors but by helping others discover their own purpose and passions.

As the interview progresses, it becomes evident that his journey of self-discovery is far from linear.

“I’m still trying. I’m still discovering who I am,” he confesses.

The metaphor of a product being baked resonates as he emphasizes that his identity is a work in progress. In his youth, he aspired to success, both for himself and his family. 

“While working at Strathmore University Business School (SBS), my greatest desire was to be the best in my industry, at that given time, and to make a significant impact in the business world. I constantly sought opportunities to enhance my skills and knowledge, pushing myself to stay ahead of the latest industry trends and developments. The call to the priesthood was a seed subconsciously planted by my mother’s jests from the time I was young. She would frequently express her joy in having many sons and share her hope to witness  one of us serving God as a priest. When I eventually told her that I wished to take the path of priesthood, she was dumbfounded. She didn’t know that among her many sons, the ‘calling’ would fall on me,” he narrates.


Navigating 12 years of preparation for the priesthood, we elicit a reflection on persistence and commitment 

“Initially, I thought 12 years of preparation was too long,” he admits. Yet, the passage of time was marked by an immersion in the spiritual journey that the Jesuit formation entails. With deep reverence, he speaks of the spiritual exercises—a 30-day retreat that serves as a profound interaction between the individual and the divine. It was through these planned spiritual activities that he gained a strong foundation to weather the challenges and setbacks that he faced.

Fr. Eddie’s journey is also marked by the familial bond that transcends traditional notions of the workplace. His time at the SBS, he mentions, was not merely a job but an experience of being part of a closely-knit family. At SBS, he found himself surrounded by colleagues who not only shared a common goal of professional growth but also genuinely cared for each other’s well-being. The supportive and nurturing environment fostered at the school made his time there feel more like a home away from home, where he could rely on his peers for guidance and support. 

This camaraderie was fostered by leaders who didn’t just direct but walked alongside their team, guiding with humility and inspiration. The shared sense of purpose and dedication fostered an environment where extra hours were invested joyfully, motivated not by overtime pay but by the collective desire to make a meaningful impact.


And so, with unwavering determination, Fr. Eddie acquired his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. As time danced forward, he donned the illustrious cloak of a Bachelor of Commerce (BCOM) graduate, all within these very walls. The ripples of his remarkable exploits didn’t just end with him; they surged through the lives of his siblings and even his niece, who now stand as radiant Stratizens, basking in the glow of his inspiring legacy.

In the end, it’s about love and service 

Fr. Eddie’s triumphant return to Strathmore University, 23 days after his priestly  ordination, ignited a fervor of emotion within the entire congregation that gathered. The air was charged with an electric blend of excitement and reverence, a testament to the profound impact he had made. It was on this very campus that his calling had sprouted amidst the lively chaos of preparing executive classes for SBS students.

Conversations with his former colleagues resonated with an undeniable swell of pride and infectious elation. In the corridors where professionalism met friendship and thrived, a remarkable transformation had unfolded. One of their own, a compatriot with whom they had shared not only desks but hearty laughter that reverberated through the hallways, had ascended to the sacred mantle of a Priest. Memories of days gone by rushed back, filled with anecdotes that showcased his unyielding commitment, boundless empathy, and meticulous attention to even the tiniest of details.

Their voices carried the weight of admiration as they hailed his noble decision to embrace a higher calling. The echo of his choice to serve resonated through the lives he had touched, a ripple effect of change and inspiration that had touched countless souls. His journey from the classroom to the altar was a testament to the extraordinary power of one person’s conviction to make a difference, to bring light to the lives of many.

After about 30 engaging minutes, a portrait emerges of a man on a journey that intertwines ambition with humility, aspiration with service, and self-discovery with a commitment to guiding others towards their own truths. The tapestry of his identity continues to evolve, shaped by a profound spiritual journey, an unyielding commitment to growth, and a recognition that the answer to “Who am I?” goes beyond the sum of his roles and titles.

As the interview concludes, one can’t help but be inspired by the story of a man who, like a canvas being painted stroke by stroke, is creating a masterpiece that is both personal and universal. Fr. Edwin’s path, which has been defined by passion, persistence, and an unwavering dedication to others, invites us all to reflect on our own journeys of identity and purpose and to consider the beauty that emerges when we embrace the complex, evolving nature of our own narratives. After all, life is not static but rather a work in progress, constantly shaped by our choices and experiences.



This article was written by Francis Kabutu and Martha Oduor. 

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