|“||What if something wonderful happens?||”|
— Capheus Onyango to Riley Blue
Capheus Onyango is a young man living in Nairobi, Kenya. He is the owner and driver of a Matatu and desperately trying to earn enough money to buy good quality medicine for his mother, who is living with AIDS. 
In the face of enormous disadvantages, compared with the other members of his cluster, Capheus is compassionate and determinedly optimistic; he uses his resourcefulness to make the best of whatever situation he finds himself in.
Capheus's father, a local politician, died during a riot in Nairobi, an event which Capheus says possibly inspired his desire for social justice. Capheus also has a younger sister whom they had to give up for adoption.
Early Life Edit
Capheus was born in Nairobi, Kenya. His father died when he was a child. Because of some enmity between his father's people and his mother's people, his mother's village elders insisted that the boy return to his father's people. Young men from Shiro's village came to their home to kill Capheus, but Shiro took up arms to defend him, and they backed down. Shiro took Capheus and left the village, already pregnant with his younger sister.
Living in poverty and unable to produce milk, his mother, Shiro, was forced to give up his newborn sister to an orphanage so that she may survive. Capheus describes to Riley how this was the most heartbreaking and difficult moment of his life. He explains how in that moment, he learned that life and death are inextricably mixed up.
As an adult, he remains extremely close to his mother. He lives with her and attempts to raise funds for medication because she is sick with the AIDS virus. Despite his efforts, she remains very ill because most drugs he procures are watered down or placebos. She does not find relief until her son accepts a job from a druglord with a violent reputation. The druglord supplies her with good quality medicine and, because of this and the the connection he has with the man's young daughter, Capheus continues to work for him.
Sensate Rebirth Edit
Capheus is not left well off, but despite his lack of community and material wealth and educational opportunities, he puts his considerable courage and resourcefulness to good use and builds a small transportation business. He acquires a bus (the "Van Damn", a play on Jean-Claude Van Damme) and uses it to transport passengers to and around Nairobi with the help of his friend, Jela.
While Capheus does not possess any highly-specialized skills (like Sun's martial arts or Nomi's hacking), he is resourceful and has shown himself to be adept in driving, maintaining, and jury-rigging motor vehicles. His history of poverty, loss and grief, and an unquenchable optimism based on Van Damme movies, give him wisdom and tranquility to face adversities.
Throughout the season, Capheus meets, speaks with and/or helps several of his cluster siblings, including Sun, Riley, Nomi, Will, and Kala. He has no one-on-one encounters with Wolfgang or Lito in Season 1, but we do see them together when the entire cluster joins Riley and Will in Iceland at the end of Episode 12.
Capheus tends his ill mother, Shiro, as she lies on the bed. Capheus gives her medicine and kisses her on the forehead, preparing to leave. He tells his mother that he has a feeling that he’s going to have a really good day then leaves to drive his matatu called Van Damn. Capheus and Jela, his friend, waits for more passengers to come to his matatu so that they can start driving. Jela implores Capheus to leave, but Capheus argues that there's not enough money from their passengers to cover their gas. They both notice their competitor, Bat Van, are already leaving full of passengers, so they begin to question their idol Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Capheus was lying on the roof of his matatu, staring at the night sky when he briefly takes Nomi's place at San Francisco Pride Parade.
In Nairobi, Capheus and Jela have supper at a restaurant. Capheus talks about how when he was younger, he wished that he was a zebra because they never went hungry. Jela warns him that he's never seen a tiger, and says that his father told him that with hard work, a person can become whoever they want.
Jela takes Capheus to a drug dealer to get AIDS medication for Shiro. The drug dealer jokingly says that it's be cheaper to let Shiro die, and Jela holds Capheus back and then successfully barters the drug dealer down to what Capheus has.
Later on, Capheus drives to a bad district to pick up more passengers. He pulls over for a woman, but members of the Superpower gang cut them off. The gang member get Capheus and Jela off and order the passengers to hand over their money and valuables. The leader, Githu, finds the pills in Capheus' pants and pistol-whips the driver when he begs him to give the medicine back. The gangers then drive off, leaving Capheus crying in the street. Capheus tells Jela that he's going to get the medicine back and tells the passengers to get off. He also tells Jela to get off, reminding him that he has a wife and kids. One older woman insists on going with Capheus to get her husband's ring back, and they drive off.
Capheus catches up to the gangsters' cars and rams the second car. They swerve off and pull into an open space, and Capheus rams them again. Capheus beats the two gangsters in the car with a pipe, but the other gangsters pull up. At the same time, in Chicago, Will is preparing to practice his marksmanship at the firing range. Will picks up his gun at the firing range and finds himself standing in Nairobi. He picks up a discarded gun and fires at the approaching truck. However, the driver of the second car knocks him down and beats him until he goes down. In Seoul, Sun is in the middle of a bout at an underground fighting ring. She looks down to see Capheus lying in the ring begging her for help. Capheus blocks the next blow and beats his opponent down. Sun helps Capheus fight the gang. Githu vows to fuck him and then drives away. The older woman, who has seen the entire thing, smiles and says that Capheus is Van Damme.
Shiro irons Capheus' clothes and talks about how he should be successful without her. Capheus tries to convince Shiro to stop talking about herself that way. Capheus leaves and sees the Van Damn is full and Jela welcomes him. Capheus also sees the old woman wearing her ring again. Capheus drives the bus while Jela celebrates for their bus being full. Jela stops celebrating and the bus slows down as they are stopped by a policeman. Capheus asks Jela if they have all the permits, asking for reassurance. Jela comes down the bus and talks to the officers. The policeman says that they want “Van Damme”. Capheus comes down the bus and the police forces Capheus to walk and takes him to a forest as passengers watch.
Capheus enters a van in the middle of the forest. Inside, he meets Silas Kabaka. Silas thanks him for he has unknowingly helped him from betrayal by destroying the Superpower gang's reputation. Silas offers him work but Capheus refuses. Silas convinces him to work for him after he shows him a suitcase full of medicine for her mother. In exchange, Capheus must simply deliver a knapsack to a specific location. He is shown taking part of the cluster's singalong, singing as he drives the van.
Capheus is taking the backpack to the address he was given. Riley and Capheus visit each other. They ask each other about their location and each compliments the temperature of where they live. Capheus, excited, drinks Riley's tea. Their connection ends after a light illuminates Capheus in Nairobi. A group of men demands Capheus's bag and Capheus threatens him. He attempts to perform a jump kick, but fails. The men laughs at him and starts kicking him as he's down. They leave with the backpack as they laugh. Capheus calls out for help from the "spirit of Jean Claude Korean Lady". Then he chases after them. Capheus finds the car in which the men used. He grabs a large rock and smashes the back window, then snatches his backpack and runs. He goes down an alley as the men chases him.
Capheus finally reaches the address. He enters a warehouse full of men in suits and sees Silas Kabaka. Silas congratulates him, saying that he endangered himself for a pair of coconuts. He then gives Capheus the AIDS medicine, and says he will be in touch. Capheus leaves the warehouse, carrying the medicine with him.
Sun and Capheus are both walking in their respective city. They both visit each other and ask about their whereabouts. They asks each other how they can communicate despite their language barriers. Capheus realizes that Sun is the spirit of Jean Claude and Sun denies that he knows anything about her. Capheus tells her that he knows that she's troubled and Sun declares Capheus as a hallucination. Sun asks Capheus to leave her alone but Capheus doesn't know how to leave. He suggests that they are together since they are both troubled. Capheus relates to her decision. He says that he must keep his promise to his mother and Sun says she has made a similar promise. Capheus leaves an inspirational statement to Sun then leaves. After he leaves, Sun receives a call from her father and she dismisses it.
He is seen again during Kala's wedding. Capheus waits as his mother cooks their food.
Capheus meets Silas at a fancy golf course. Silas introduces Capheus to Amondi, his daughter. Silas tells him that Amondi sees him as her father and not someone to fear. He shares to Capheus that everything he does is for Amondi, and without her his life has no meaning. He explains to Capheus that Amondi has leukemia and gives Capheus his real job: to transport Amondi to the clinic safely, as Silas' enemies know his cars. Capheus gets warned, saying that if something happens to Amondi, something will also happen to Shiro. Capheus returns to the Van Damn to see it full. He notifies Jela that the bus is in private use and orders him to make all the passengers leave. He reveals to him that he's working with Silas and Jela objects to it. He presses Jela to take his share of the money, saying that he needs Silas' money for Shiro's medicine.
Capheus takes Amondi to the hospital. Amondi refers to him as Van Damn and asks him to refer to her as Diana Prince. After taking her to the medical center, Capheus is sitting in his van watching a Van Damme movie, and is confused to find himself aroused. Amondi enters the bus again and notices Capheus watching another Van Damme movie. He says that the movie is full of inspiration. He says that to use inspiration to believe that anyone can make a difference, that if they are brave, they can make the world more equal and just. Amondi says he likes Jean-Claude since she gets reminded of her father. She says that her father has a lot of enemies and that their family has to be brave and fight back.
Riley is on an airplane flying to Iceland. Capheus arrives and is amazed to look out the window and see that they are above the clouds. He tells her that she is very lucky, and she says that she is just privileged. Capheus says she is lucky because she can still see her father and Riley sympathizes with him. Riley tells Capheus that she's afraid that something terrible will happen when she goes back. Capheus tries to convince her that something great might happen.
Capheus waits in his van as Silas' daughter receives medical treatment. He has a flashback to his childhood. Shiro's tribe leaders are arguing that Capheus must leave, because of his father's blood, as young Capheus listens in the background. Capheus' mother condemns them to go to hell, and she takes Capheus and leaves the tribe. Later, Capheus is at Silas' headquarters celebrating the birthday of Silas' daugher. Silas says that he will do anything for his daughter, just like how he'll do anything for his mother. Silas takes Capheus downstairs, where he has a man held prisoner. Silas says that the man once worked for him, but betrayed him. Silas puts the man's arms on a table and chops off his hands with a machete. The handless man screams in pain. Silas says he understood the risks and Capheus reacts displeasure and worry.
Cluster Birthday Edit
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Inside the cluster Edit
- Riley Blue: During Season One, Capheus has several coversations with Riley, in Art Is Like Religion, W. W. N. Double D? and Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye. When she visits him, Capheus tries to help her with coping with the deaths of her husband and own child and her escaping London and returning to Iceland, where he comments on how it would be nice to see her father Gunnar again after years of being apart.
- Will Gorski: In I Can't Leave Her Capheus helps Will rescue Riley by hotwiring an ambulance, allowing them to escape from the hospital where she is being held.
- Sun Bak: Sun helps Capheus with her fighting skills during his dispute with the Superpower gang. Capheus initially believes Sun to be a spirit, somehow connected to Van Damme. Sun and Capheus share the experience of having fathers who were killed (an experience not shared by any other member of the cluster besides Wolfgang, who killed his own father). Sun and Capheus enjoy each other's company and are grateful for the bond they share as clustermates.
- Kala Dandekar: Kala visits Capheus and they watch a Van Damme movie together, while discussing the need for courage.
- Nomi Marks: When Nomi is attempting to escape from Whispers, she steals a car but does not know how to drive. Capheus visits and uses his driving skills to get Nomi to safety.
- Lito Rodriguez: Capheus and Lito share a love of film. Both reminisce about watching movies with their mothers as children, saying that the films made them feel stronger, funnier and more confident, inspiring them to become the men they are today.
Non-Cluster Sensates Edit
- During Capheus' political rally, he establish an eye contact connection with four as of yet unidentified sensates.
- Shiro: As an adult, Capheus remains extremely close to Shiro, his mother. He lives with her and attempts to raise funds for medication because she is diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his efforts, she remains very ill because most drugs he procures are watered down or placebo drugs. She does not find relief until he accepts a job from a druglord with a violent reputation.
- Jela: Capheus' other significant relationship is with his friend, Jela, who works as conductor on the Van Damme. Jela admires and looks up to Capheus and shares in his successes.
- Githu: Throughout Season One, Capheus and Githu develop an antagonistic relationship with one another. Githu and the Superpower Gang have made attacks on Capheus a few times, each time, Capheus retaliated with courage (and assists from his clustermates). After the rescue of Silas Kabaka, Nairobi knew Capheus as "Van Damme," and Githu heard stories about Van Damme and the Superpower Gang. Despite the gang's reputation souring, their leader grew a fond of Capheus and pled many hollow threats before speaking with him.
- Silas Kabaka: Preceeding the first ambush from the Superpower Gang, Silas finds and offers Capheus some work, paying him in AIDS medicine for Shiro. To a point, they worked together, but soon, Capheus backs out of the operations because of the brutality. This leaves Silas Kabaka vulnerable to Githu and the Superpower Gang and was capture. Upon rescue, the crime lord respected Van Damme, though Capheus continues to express suspicion when Kabaka tries to change and make amends.
- Amondi Kabaka: Since meeting Amondi, Capheus and her quickly developed a supportive and friendly relationship, sharing with one another different interests and how Jean-Claude inspired them in their lives. It is also shown that Amondi has much aspirations to be much like Van Damme.
- Zakia Asalache: A reporter who interviews Capheus, creating a video that goes viral after the sensates of the cluster give a stirring and inspirational speech. Soon after, Zakia asks Capheus out, and they begin a relationship.
- Expert Driver: Capheus has gained his unconventional but very effective driving skills from his experience of driving the Van Damn. He used these skills to help Nomi escape from the Police as she did not know how to drive in We Will All Be Judged by the Courage of Our Hearts.
- Auto Mechanic: Knows how to hot-wire vehicles. He helps Will rescue Riley by hotwiring an ambulance.
- Wisdom: His sense of justice, optimism and his sad history made him the wisest in the cluster, acting as a counsellor multiple times.
Memorable Quotes Edit
"Life and death are always so mixed up together, in the same way some beginning are endings and some endings become beginnings”
--Capheus, Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye
"I have this feeling, today is going to be a good day."
--Capheus to Shiro, Limbic Resonance.
- Capheus Onyango is of mixed ethnicity, revealing that he is of Kokuo and Luo descent.