Humphrey Kayange, the Rugby Chemist – What You Need to Know About the Celebrated Kenyan Rugby Player
Humphrey Kayange is a renowned and celebrated retired Kenyan rugby skipper. On 27th October 2021, Kayange received an induction into the World Rugby’s Hall of Fame, which is the highest global rugby honor that a rugby player can receive. He is also popularly known as a member of the Rugby Sevens Community and has had a reputation for producing among the best performances for the Kenya national rugby sevens team.
In this article, you will learn all about this Kenyan rugby star including his childhood, educational background, career, achievements and awards, his defining moments and lessons derived from his resilience in career growth.
Childhood and Family
Kayange was born on 20th July 1982 in Nairobi but was raised in Eldoret, Kenya. He is the older brother to Collins Injera, who is IRB Sevens’ World Series second top try scorer. Besides, he also has a younger brother, Michael Agevi, who has also been a professional rugby player in the past.
His family, including his parents and sisters, have an undying passion for rugby. Being a very private person, Kayange has very little known information about his childhood and private life.
Kayange has a rich educational background. He attended St. Peter’s Mumias High School which played a huge role in nurturing his talent as a rugby player. After completing his high school education, Kayange joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and studied Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology between the years 2001 and 2005.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from JKUAT, Kayange joined the University of Bristol to pursue a Master of Science (MSc) in Organic Chemistry between Feb 2012 and 2014. He was among Professor Chris Willis’ Research Group that researched Natural product biosynthesis, feeding studies and Isolation of novel metabolites.
In 2019, Kayange enrolled for a Master’s degree in Sport Organization Management in the Universite Catholique de Louvain, which he pursued between 2019 and 2020.
Career and Achievements
Kayange is living proof that you can pursue your passion without quitting your profession. This is because as much as the world knows him as a legendary Kenyan rugby player, he has a thriving career as a Biochemist and Researcher. As a Biochemist, Kayange has served in various capacities in renowned institutions in Kenya including the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
Between 2008 to date, Kayange has been a laboratory analyst undertaking testing services in Organic chemistry. Ideally, the organic chemist has also been a Principal Laboratory Analyst in the Kenya Bureau of Standards from 2017 to date. In this post, he has served as a technical expert in the chromatography section where he analyzes pesticide residues and conducts method development of different tests.
Moreover, Kayange’s passion for sports has seen him develop a successful career in this niche and has served in various capacities in the National Rugby Sevens Team. Between the years 2005 and 2015, Kayange was the Team Captain of the Kenya Rugby 7s.
From the year 2017 to date, he has been an executive board member at the Kenya National Olympic Committee where he served as the Male Athletes Representative and Chairman of the Athletes Commission.
Additionally, Kayange assumed the post of an executive board member at the Kenya Academy of Sport which he has been serving since September 2018 to date.
For 2 years, from April 2016 to November 2018, Kayange served as the Assistant coach at the Mwamba rugby football club. Still at this club, Kayange assumed the role as the Secretary-General from September 2018 to date.
At the age of 34, Kayange bowed out and retired from the Kenya rugby 7s team in October 2016 during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He ended his career as the third-highest points rugby sevens scorer in Kenya with 159 tries and 799 points. One of his exceptional records includes when he played as a hard-running center and had four scores in 12 tests within 15 seconds.
Honors and Awards
The legendary Kenyan former rugby 7s player was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame alongside five others worldwide on 27th October 2021. This is a career award that recognizes rugby players who have made an outstanding contribution to the rugby game worldwide throughout their career as professional players. It is presented by Tudor and it is the highest honor that a rugby player can receive globally.
In the year 2021, Kayange became an IOC member after being elected to the International Olympics Committee Athletes’ Commission.
Additionally, through the Business Daily in 2017, Kayange was listed among the Top 40 under 40 Men category and awarded the honor in an event hosted by Simba Corporation at Aspire Centre in Nairobi’s Westlands.
In the year 2010, Kayange was named Rugby Seven’s Anti-Doping Ambassador, by the International Rugby Board, which is now known as World Rugby. Kayange also boasts to be among the 7 IRB team members that pushed the IRB bid to have rugby included in the Olympics Games in 2016 at the IOC session in Copenhagen in September 2009.
Following an outstanding performance during the 2008/2009 IRB World Series, Kayange and his younger brother Collins received the Presidential Order of Golden Warriors Award presented to them by President Mwai Kibaki in the year 2010.
Contributions to Society and His Foundations
After announcing his retirement as an international rugby player, Kayange co-founded a non-profit organization known as Good Kenyan Foundation for youth empowerment as his way to give back to society.
The organization headquarter is located in Nairobi, Kenya and it seeks to transform the journey of young Kenyans in life by empowering young adults via the creation of innovative eco-friendly products and training. As of now, the organization has managed to secure successful donor funding of two projects and has one project ongoing, seeking to transform the life of Kenyan youths.
Currently, Kayange is the Olympics Kenya Athletes’ Representative and he has an undying passion for investing in young adults in the country through programmes that cultivate career development plans and development of marketable job skills. He is also serving as the Principal Lab Analyst at KEBS and holds a co-founding position at the GKF.
Lessons from Humphrey Kayange to the Youth
Kayange has dedicated more than 12 years to playing professional rugby and also has a successful career as an organic chemist for more than a decade. This comes as a lesson to anyone out there who feels the need to choose between talent and profession. You can do both if you have enough passion to work hard in both areas.
In an interview with Carol Radull, Kayange admits to realizing it was time to retire as a professional rugby player when he felt that he was competing against fresh and younger players who would potentially outdo his moves as he advanced in age. This comes as a lesson to young people that you need to make hay while the sun shines and you also need to know when to quit and give room for fresh talent to shine.
Another lesson from Kayange is that he started playing rugby for the National sevens team in the year 2003 and it was until the year 2009 that the team qualified for the semi-finals for Rugby World Cup that was held in Dubai for the first time. This depicts resilience, patience, and hard work showing young people that if you keep at what you are doing and keep sharpening your skills, your efforts will at long last be rewarding. Do not give up and give your best.
Finally, World Rugby’s Hall of Fame Award recognizes outstanding contributions on and off the Rugby field. This means that people need to learn to be all-round in order to stand out from the rest with whom they are competing for similar opportunities.