Kenyan Acrobat Revolutionizes Local Scene with Chinese-Inspired Moves

Meet 53-year-old acrobat shaking up local scen

Martin Kavita’s journey to China became a turning point, sparking his enduring journey into acrobatics.

The acrobat recounted how the orientation before their China expedition, featuring acrobatic films from China, fueled his curiosity.

Acrobats training at the Sarakasi Dome arena in Ngara, Nairobi.

Acrobats training at the Sarakasi Dome arena in Ngara, Nairobi.

When Mathias Kavita set off for a journey to Guangzhou City in China in 1983, he had no idea that the voyage would make a difference in his homeland four decades later.

Back then, the shy 13-year-old boy from Mombasa, knew nothing about acrobatics until he and 23 other budding gymnasts were selected to travel to China to learn a few moves about acrobatics.

The agreement was that the selected youngsters would subsequently return to Kenya to work with the government in taking part in shows nationwide to make acrobatics popular among Kenyans.

Kavita’s journey to China became a turning point, sparking his enduring journey into acrobatics.

Now the 53-year-old has revolutionised the acrobatic scene in Kenya by introducing the dynamic moves he mastered in China into local routines.

“Before travelling to China, we underwent orientation, which included watching films of acrobats recorded in China,” Kavita said at his office in Nairobi, which is strewn with equipment for acrobats, some of it imported from China.

His walls are adorned with photographs capturing his past performances, while his office proudly displays newspaper clippings and posters showcasing his previous and upcoming shows.

The office is located in the Sarakasi Dome arena in Ngara, which was built a decade before Kenya attained independence in 1963.

The acrobat recounted how the orientation before their China expedition, featuring acrobatic films from China, fueled his curiosity.

Kavita now works with the Sarakasi Trust to tap young acrobatic talent.

“As a gymnast back then, the films of acrobatics we watched at the Chinese Embassy were the first time I had seen such performances. I was particularly impressed by Chinese children performing moves I had never seen before,” he said.

He vividly recollected the impact of those initial Chinese acrobatic showcases saying the films showcasing Chinese acrobatics were eye-openers.

“Witnessing young Chinese performers execute unfamiliar moves ignited my determination to journey to China and delve deeper into this art,” he noted.

Kavita has since become a top trainer in Kenya guiding over 1,000 acrobats to international stages.

“My training in China was crucial as it transformed me into a global performer and an adept acrobatics instructor,” he affirmed.

Kavita noted that after returning to Kenya in 1985 together with his fellow students, they introduced Chinese-inspired acrobatic moves like jumping through hoops and performing handstands on stacked furniture, along with skating and lion dancing to the local scene.

They established a national acrobatic group, showcasing their talents at governmental functions presided over by the then-President Daniel Moi.

Kavita’s trajectory shifted in 1989 as he transitioned from performer to trainer with a troupe in Mombasa, steering him toward a new phase in his career.

Despite his achievements, Kavita’s aspiration to establish an acrobatics school akin to the one in Guangzhou remains unfulfilled due to a dearth of facilities and a lack of proper support.

He still yearns to revisit Guangzhou in the hope of witnessing its progress and further enhancing his acrobatic expertise.

Through his amalgamation of Chinese and African acrobatic styles, Kavita’s performances have garnered international acclaim. His performers have been invited to appear in Europe and across Africa.

His students aspire to blend these diverse cultural elements into their acts, echoing his passion for harmonising both traditions.

On weekdays, his students start arriving at the arena as early as 7 am.

When Kavita joins them, they rehearse their moves, which include balancing on unicycles while juggling balls, forming intricate human pyramids, and practising head-spinning summersaults and flips.

One of the group members, Moses Otieno, 27, has just returned to Kenya from Hebei Province in China, where he undertook a four-month performance tour with six other Kenyan acrobats.

Otieno said the tour made him appreciate the Chinese dedication to resources for acrobats and the amount of time spent on the profession.

Bryson Wandabwa Wangilwa, who started training with the children’s program at Sarakasi Dome, said he decided to take acrobatics seriously after being encouraged by Kavita.

At 19, he appreciates the chance to learn acrobatics at a professional level, because of the discipline and strong work ethic it has instilled in him.

“I was taught lion dancing by Kavita, who has encouraged me to include moves to create choreography that brings African and Chinese cultures together,” Wangilwa said.

For dreams such as Wangilwa’s to come true, Kavita said, it is vital that the links forged between Kenya and China in acrobatics are carried forward to give young enthusiasts opportunities similar to those he had during his younger days.

“I believe that acrobatics is a career like any other, and that being professionally taught by Kenyan and Chinese acrobats can help many young people who are facing unemployment today,” Kavita said.

He plans to return to China to learn how to run a school like the one in Guangzhou

AM Live

AM Live is NTV's morning current affairs show that sets the agenda for the day with insightful panels every weekday.


Business Redefined

Business Redefined is Kenya’s premier thought leadership platform for unpacking matters regarding economic and finance policy as well demystifying complex developments in the region’s capital markets.


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Full Episodes

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Gumzo La Sato

Gumzo La Sato is a live social issues show that aims to create awareness about issues affecting the larger society. The discussions range from Parenting, Marital bliss and struggles, Oppression, violence, and all matters of the Heart.

Health Diary

Health Diary is a weekly show that highlights different types of diseases/conditions and seeks ways to prevent, treat/manage them. The show debunks this through real life stories and also feature specialists in different fields, to offer medical advice on the same.

Letter To My Younger Self

Letter To My Younger Self is a podcast where guests get to write a letter to their younger self, from which Maxine formulates questions to ask them during the hour-long show.

Mazao Talks

Mazao looks at agriculture and agribusiness

Nation Reports

Nation Reports is a weekly podcast offers an opportunity for listeners to interact with various reporters and journey with them as they unravel the biggest most emotive stories.

One Health Lens Podcast

Discussing health matters and human stories from Kenya and across Africa. We talk big picture from people to policy, ecosystems, and everything in between. Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/onehealthlens

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost peeks through the story of Louis Otieno, the times, and everything in between.



Speaking of GEN Z

Speaking of Gen Z brings you entertaining but meaningful conversations about a generation that is trying to navigate through adulthood. Join hosts Michelle, Jackie and Esther as they unravel all things Gen Z.

Sport On

Sport-On is a 30-minute sports magazine show on NTV and 3 hours on NATION FM. The show seeks to give the sports “fanatics” and “funatics” comprehensive and in-depth coverage of sports both locally and internationally.


The extent of technological growth is beyond mere acknowledgment; it has seamlessly integrated into our daily existence. A few years ago, the notion of paying electricity bills through mobile money or recharging with 'tokens' in Kenya seemed inconceivable. Online product sales were considered distant, and artificial intelligence is rapidly reshaping various facets of our lives. Amidst these technological leaps, those with a solid understanding of tech can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and build a sustainable livelihood. Tech over Show aims to be the platform facilitating discussions among thought leaders, innovators, tech companies, and the government, addressing challenges and opportunities in Kenya's thriving tech industry.


Thamani is a business show which is dedicated to emerging issues regarding micro, small and medium size businesses.

The Politalk podcast

This is The Politalk podcast. Here we look into the ins and outs of everything Kenyan politics. We pull no punches and have no reason to sugarcoat anything that matters to Kenyans.

The Trend

A two-hour-long live show that airs on Fridays. The show focuses on what is current in the entertainment industry, controversial and popular across all media platforms targeting those aged between 25 and 35 years.

The trend podcast

The trend podcast highlights and captures the best of banter from #TTTT segment that airs every Friday on NTV. It's the TTTT EXTRA

The Wicked Edition

The Wicked Edition with Dr. King’ori seeks to address serious issues through humour and relatable wit. It is a two-part half hour show filmed in front of a live audience


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula


Twende is a travel show that highlights beautiful, unique, diverse locations, people, and cultures. The show offers fresh perspectives on familiar locations and memorable experiences in new ones.


This Saturday evening lifestyle show lets viewers share their stories and life experiences as openly & honestly for the purpose of shifting the culture of silence.

VIP Access

VIP ACCESS is Anyiko Owoko’s YouTube and podcast show on Music and Culture dedicated to promoting Africa’s most promising talent and creatives. This podcast grants you VIP access into timeless interviews while providing a platform for rising as well as established artists across the continent. Since launching in 2018, Anyiko has interviewed over 70 African music stars.


This weekly news show aims to have all sides of debate but not be constrained by it, listen to main voices in the contest but not allow them to hold the viewers hostage, entertain debate but allow push back with all due respect.

When death do us part

In this podcast, three widowers openly speak about the process of grief, how they found themselves exposed to the emotional turmoil of losing their wives, and how society still does not know how to deal with them.

Your World

Your World is a health, wellness and variety show. It provides a platform for audiences and experts to share their experiences on how to improve or manage health issues, across Kenya and the Africa region.