- Julius Mbura lost his eyesight when he was only 10 years old
- According to the car enthusiast, he only perceives light but that has not stopped him from leading the life he wanted
- He is an advocate for disability rights, a motivational speaker, a mentor for people who have lost sight and a spoken word artist
- Mbura is also a dancer by passion and a lover of life
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Julius Mbura was born with perfect eyesight but that changed when he was only 10-years-old in turn changing the course of his life completely.
For some time, a young Mbura was showing symptoms of eyesight complications but every time his aunt raised it with his mom, she would dismiss it, saying he was okay.
Speaking to Briefly.co.za's sister publication, TUKO.co.ke's Lynn Ngugi, Mbura said he woke up one day after his mother, who was a trader at the Marikiti market, had already left and all he could see was darkness.
Confused and scared, the 10-year-old went back to bed assuming it was still nighttime but he became concerned when he heard other children playing outside but he could not see them.
Reality dawned on him when his mother came back from the market and found he had done nothing other than sleep the entire time she was away. Mbura, who is known among his peers as the late Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman's lookalike, was later diagnosed with maculopathy.
This is a condition that affects the part of the eye called the macula which is on the retina that is associated with highly sensitive, accurate vision.
The car enthusiast was admitted to Thika School for the Blind where he was taken classes behind in order for him to catch up.
"My daily prayer was to one day wake up with my sight back. I would envision myself seeing but I learned to live a day a time,'" he said.
Feeling guilty having ignored the warning signs her son had, Mbura's mom became extremely caring to an extent that she quit her job so she could take care of him.
"She wanted to do something that would make a difference because she was blaming herself... So we would always celebrate over small things related to my sight," he said.
Grateful that he never lacked anything, he taught his mom to be comfortable with the new reality and asked her to teach him how to be self-reliant instead of feeling sorry for him. A bright Mbura sat for his KCPE years later but his exam was special - it was in large print and he still had to use glasses.
The young man passed his exams but could not join a high school of his choice because the national schools did not have an inclusive programme for visually impaired people.
He eventually joined Thika High School for the Blind where he sat for his exams and later joined a campus where he pursued law despite having been advised to pursue education.
"I wanted to focus on advocacy for disability rights because that is where my focus was," said the jovial young man.
In campus, the young lawyer transitioned to soft copy, which enabled him to use voice-over for communication and he still uses it to date. Having lost his sight, Mbura did not let that kill his determination to lead the kind of life he wanted or pursue his several hobbies.
They include advocating for disability rights, motivational speaker, mentor for people who have lost sight and spoken word artist and a model.
Mbura is also the programme manager for New Age for the Visually Impaired, a dancer by passion, lover of life and car enthusiast despite only being able to perceive light.
He developed an interest in cars when he realised he could actually teach people to appreciate cars through touch and feel and now passionately does reviews at Al-Husnain Motors Limited
From performance to specifications, he has mastered everything about cars by following other reviewers on YouTube and has over time developed mental visuals of the automobiles.
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