“I watched as the standard of living in my household and that of my friends drastically declined in the span of 20 years even though my mother invested in two houses, was promoted at work and got raises in her salary. We quit eating breakfast as bread, butter and milk became too expensive…I knew that something was wong and wondered how I could help make it right, especially when I saw the number of people living on the streets or in the slums, even though some had Masters Degrees from universities…I also wondered if corruption was genetic and Africans were naturally prone to more corruption. Perhaps the corruption in the halls of power was eating away at our potential to create wealth.” – Musings of then 24-year old Kenyan, June Akinyi Arunga, in 2005.
Growing up in Nakuru, Kenya, June Arunga had witnessed increasing poverty and the helplessness that accompanied it in an environment where the government was expected to address every social ill. June moved from Nakuru to Nairobi at age 14 and then left Kenya to go to university in the United Kingdom at age 22.
June graduated with a law degree from the University of Buckingham in England after studying law initially at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. In her quest to answer the question, “Why is Africa so poor?” June engaged with some of Africa’s toughest terrains, journeying through conflict zones in Egypt, Sudan, Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa, in a BBC-produced documentary called The Devil’s Footpath. Her journey culminated in the living room of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, where she candidly posed her question to the leader. As a journalist she has participated in numerous other documentaries, radio and television programmes, including one with former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, where they attempted to expose the roots of Africa’s underdevelopment. However, Arunga has not only concerned herself with asking questions or blaming the government, she has gone on to create solutions.