Dennis Ombachi, a retired rugby player who represented Kenya for over ten years, participated in the Rugby World Cup sevens, the Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. However, he admits that the first time he played rugby, he didn’t really like it. “I just liked the fact that if I was in the team, I was excused from some duties, like mopping the dormitory,” he says.
He was later called up to the Kenya Sevens national team with the support of Kenyan rugby legend Humphrey Kayange. Ombachi expresses his gratitude for Kayange’s support, “It was incredible. Humbling. I hope someday I will be able to repay it back to someone else as well.” The pair played alongside each other in the 2016 Rio Olympics. According to Ombachi, one of his top career accomplishments was scoring the try against Zimbabwe that qualified Kenya for the games.
Ombachi tells Madowo, “Rugby taught me a lot of lessons. The first one is always be disciplined; discipline will take you a long way. We had this South African coach called Paul. He used to tell us that ability to unlearn old ideas and pick up new ideas is crucial.”
During his career, he acquired multiple injuries and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2018. He tells CNN, “Mental health is not a destination, it’s a journey. It took me a while for me to accept that I’m bipolar.” Ombachi shares that he often used cooking to get him through difficult times, and after filming videos during the pandemic, later became an internet sensation as The Roaming Chef. His videos earned him the 2022 TikTok Award for Top Creator in Sub-Saharan Africa.