Jomo Kenyatta Early Life
Jomo Kenyatta (Mzee Jomo Kenyatta), born 20 October 1891, was a Kenyan anti-colonial activist and politician. He was a member of the Kikuyu ethnic group–Kenya’s largest–and was educated by Presbyterian missionaries. Jomo Kenyatta, leader of the Kenyan independence movement, was convicted by Kenya’s British rulers of leading the extremist Mau Mau in their violence against white settlers and the colonial government. An advocate of nonviolence and conservatism, he pleaded innocent in the highly politicized trial. 1961, Jomo Kenyatta was released by British colonial authorities after nearly nine years of imprisonment and detention. Two years later, Kenya achieved independence and Kenyatta became prime minister. Once portrayed as a menacing symbol of African nationalism, he brought stability to the country and defended Western interests during his 15 years as Kenyan leader.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the President of Kenya from independence in 1963 to his death in 1978, serving first as Prime Minister (1963–64) and then as President (1964–78). Kenyatta was a well-educated intellectual who authored several books, and is remembered as a Pan-Africanist. He is also the father of Kenya’s fourth and current President, Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta Biography and Profile
Jomo Kenyatta (Mzee Jomo Kenyatta), born on born 20 October 1891, in the East African highlands southwest of Mount Kenya sometime in the late 1890s. Kenyatta – the name he adopted in the 1920s – is Swahili for “the light of Kenya” and he is widely seen as the founding father of the nation. He was a member of the Kikuyu ethnic group–Kenya’s largest–and was educated by Presbyterian missionaries. In 1920, Kenya formally became a British colony, and by 1921 Kenyatta was living in the colonial capital of Nairobi. There he became involved in African nationalist movements and by 1928 had risen to the post of general secretary of the Kikuyu Central Association, an organization opposed to the seizure of tribal land by European settlers. In 1929, he first went to London to protest colonial policy, but authorities refused to meet with him.
He was a Kenyan anti-colonial activist and politician who governed Kenya as its Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964 and then as its first President from 1964 to his death in 1978.
Jomo Kenyatta ‘Facing Mount Kenya’ Seminal Work
Kenyatta returned to London several times to petition for African rights and then remained in Europe in the 1930s to receive a formal education at various institutions, including Moscow University. In 1938, he published his seminal work, Facing Mount Kenya, which praised traditional Kikuyu society and discussed its plight under colonial rule. During World War II, he lived in England, lecturing and writing.
Jomo Kenyatta President of Kenya African Union (KAU)
In 1946, he returned to Kenya and in 1947 became president of the newly formed Kenya African Union (KAU). He pushed for majority rule, recruiting both Kikuyus and non-Kikuyus into the nonviolent movement, but the white settler minority was unyielding in refusing a significant role for blacks in the colonial government.
The Mau Mau drew its supporters from the Kikuyu people, the majority of whom lived in the crowded reserves of Kiambu, Nyeri and Fort Hall. They regard land as their only form of security and many had too little to be able to make a living. They resent the fact the Europeans farm the much more profitable and sparsely-populated so-called “White Highlands” and therefore have a much better standard of living. The British Government had hoped the policy of arresting the Mau Mau leadership would put an end to the rising tide of violence. But there were warnings of retaliations. Another of the oaths taken by Mau Mau members was to follow Mr Kenyatta if he was arrested and try to free him.
In 1952, Kikuyu group called Mau Mau began a guerrilla war against the settlers and colonial government, leading to bloodshed, political turmoil, and the forced internment of tens of thousands of Kikuyus in detainment camps. Kenyatta played little role in the rebellion, but he was vilified by the British and put on trial in 1952 with five other KUA leaders for “managing the Mau Mau terrorist organization.” An advocate of nonviolence and conservatism, he pleaded innocent in the highly politicized trial but was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison.
He spent six years in jail and then was sent to an internal exile at Lodwar, where he lived under house arrest. Meanwhile, the British government slowly began steering Kenya to black majority rule. In 1960, the Kenya African National Union (KANU) was organized by black nationalists, and Kenyatta was elected president in absentia. The party announced it would not take part in any government until Kenyatta was freed. Kenyatta pledged the protection of settlers’ rights in an independent Kenya, and on August 14, 1961, he was finally allowed to return to Kikuyuland. After a week of house arrest in the company of his family and supporters, he was formally released on August 21.
Jomo Kenyatta Negotiated Kenyan Independence
In 1962, he went to London to negotiate Kenyan independence, and in May 1963 he led the KANU to victory in pre-independence elections. On December 12, 1963, Kenya celebrated its independence, and Kenyatta formally became prime minister. The next year, a new constitution established Kenya as a republic, and Kenyatta was elected president.
Kenyatta Encouraged Racial Cooperation, Promoted Capitalist Economic Policies
As Kenya’s leader until his death in 1978, Kenyatta encouraged racial cooperation, promoted capitalist economic policies, and adopted a pro-Western foreign policy. He used his authority to suppress political opposition, particularly from radical groups. Under his rule, Kenya became a one-party state, and the stability that resulted attracted foreign investment in Kenya. After he died on August 22, 1978, he was succeeded by Daniel arap Moi, who continued most of his policies. Affectionately known in his later years as mzee, or “old man” in Swahili, Kenyatta is celebrated as the founding father of Kenya. He was also influential throughout Africa.
Jomo Kenyatta was a great defender of Kenyan and African culture
One of modern Africa’s first nationalist leaders, Kenyatta was a great defender of Kenyan and African culture, and wrote eloquently on the plight of Kenyans under colonial rule. He played little part in the Mau Mau uprising of 1952 but was imprisoned for nine years along with other nationalist leaders. Upon his release in 1961, Kenyatta became president of the Kenya African National Union and led negotiations with the British for self-rule. In 1963, Kenya won independence, and in 1964 Kenyatta was elected president. He served in this post until his death in 1978.
Jomo Kenyatta Education
Jomo Kenyatta was a student at London University in Britain between 1929 and 1946, where he studied anthropology as a pupil of the renowned anthropologist, Professor Malinowski.
Jomo Kenyatta Airport
omo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Africa’s premier hub and ideal gateway into and out of East and Central Africa. JKIA is the flagship airport of The KAA. The airport boasts of over 40 passenger airlines and 25 cargo airlines. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, formerly called Embakasi Airport and Nairobi International Airport, is Kenya’s largest aviation facility, and the busiest airport in East Africa. It’s importance as an aviation center makes it the pace setter for other airports in the region.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta Quick Facts
- Kenyatta left Thogoto in 1922 and became a clerk and water-meter reader with the Municipal Court of Nairobi. He became involved with the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA) in 1925 and resigned from his government post that same year. In 1928 Kenyatta became secretary general of the KCA and editor of its vernacular Kikuyu newspaper, Muiguithania (The Reconciler).
- 1952: Kenyatta arrested in security raid. Leading African nationalist Jomo Kenyatta has been arrested following the declaration of a state of emergency in the British colony of Kenya. He was among about 100 prominent Kenyans detained as part of a clampdown on the rebel Mau Mau movement. The Mau Mau is demanded immediate self-government and is blamed for the mounting “lawlessness, violence and disorder” in the colony. Jomo Kenyatta stands accused of leading the extremist wing of the Mau Mau and of inciting hatred and violence against Europeans through a series of oaths of allegiance. Kenyatta was arrested by Kenyan police at his home, where he had been asleep. He apparently made no attempt to resist arrest.
- Secretary of State for the Colonies Oliver Lyttleton told the House of Commons in London: “Mau Mau terrorism is carefully planned, centrally directed, and its object is to destroy all authority other than Mau Mau. “Its leaders are establishing their own courts in their attempt to usurp the functions of government. Action against these leaders was imperative.”
- He was a student in London between 1929 and 1946, where he studied anthropology as a pupil of the renowned anthropologist, Professor Malinowski. It was here he became a committed African nationalist convinced of the need to develop education.
- Since returning to Kenya, established a school movement independent of the state and funded by Kikuyu tribesmen.
- The Mau Mau had its supporters from the Kikuyu people, the majority of whom live in the crowded reserves of Kiambu, Nyeri and Fort Hall.
- Mzee Jomo Kenyatta completed his sentence on 14 April 1959 and was freed from all restrictions in August 1961.
- On 28 October 1961 he became president of the Kenyan African National Union (Kanu).
- In June 1963 Mr Kenyatta took control as the first prime minister of a self-governing Kenya. The following year Kenya broke its last ties with Britain and became a Republic within the Commonwealth with Mr Kenyatta as its president.
- Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s government included more people who had fought against Mau Mau than had participated in the rebellion.
- The ban on the Mau Mau as an organisation was only lifted by the Kenyan Government in August 2003.
Jomo Kenyatta Achievements
Jomo Kenyatta spent most of his life campaigning for Kenya’s independence. His efforts cost him seven years in prison when he was convicted – in a trial now generally regarded as rigged – of being a member of the rebel Mau Mau group by the British colonists in Kenya. But the African Union leader kept up his fight on his release in 1960 and finally led his country to independence in 1963. He was made president and remained in office until his death on 22 August 1978.
Kenyatta was a towering personality and his portraits seen in all public places demanded respect. He was not just a President, but a statesman. His role in the struggle for Kenyan independence was awe-inspiring. Kenya had enjoyed considerable prosperity and peace during his regime and his death could deal a blow to stability of the nation.
Jomo Kenyatta Speech
The Kenya Africa Union is Not the Mau Mau, 1952
… I want you to know the purpose of K.A.U. It is the biggest purpose the African has. It involves every African in Kenya and it is their mouthpiece which asks for freedom. K.A.U. is you and you are the K.A.U. If we unite now, each and every one of us, and each tribe to another, we will cause the implementation in this country of that which the European calls democracy. True democracy has no colour distinction. It does not choose between black and white. We are here in this tremendous gathering under the K.A.U. flag to find which road leads us from darkness into democracy.
In order to find it we Africans must first achieve the right to elect our own representatives. That is surely the first principle of democracy. We are the only race in Kenya which does not elect its own representatives in the Legislature and we are going to set about to rectify this situation. We feel we are dominated by a handful of others who refuse to be just.
God said this is our land. Land in which we are to flourish as a people. We are not worried that other races are here with us in our country, but we insist that we are the leaders here, and what we want we insist we get. We want our cattle to get fat on our land so that our children grow up in prosperity; we do not want that fat removed to feed others. He who has ears should now hear that K.A.U. claims this land as its own gift from God and I wish those who arc black, white or brown at this meeting to know this. K.A.U. speaks in daylight.
He who calls us the Mau Mau is not truthful. We do not know this thing Mau Mau. We want to prosper as a nation, and as a nation we demand equality, that is equal pay for equal work. Whether it is a chief, headman or labourer he needs in these days increased salary. He needs a salary that compares with a salary of a European who does equal work. We will never get our freedom unless we succeed in this issue.
We do not want equal pay for equal work tomorrow-we want it right now. Those who profess to be just must realize that this is the foundation of justice. It has never been known in history that a country prospers without equality. We despise bribery and corruption, those two words that the European repeatedly refers to. Bribery and corruption is prevalent in this country, but I am not surprised. As long as a people are held down, corruption is sure to rise and the only answer to this is a policy of equality. If we work together as one, we must succeed.
Our country today is in a bad state for its land is full of fools-and fools in a country delay the independence of its people. K.A.U. seeks to remedy this situation and I tell you now it despises thieving, robbery and murder for these practices ruin our country. I say this because if one man steals, or two men steal, there are people sitting close by lapping up information, who say the whole tribe is bad because a theft has been committed. Those people are wrecking our chances of advancement. They will prevent us getting freedom. If I have my own way, let me tell you I would butcher the criminal, and there are more criminals than one in more senses than one.
The policeman must arrest an offender, a man who is purely an offender, but lie must not go about picking up people with a small horn of liquor in their hands and march them in procession with his fellow policemen to Government and say he has got a Mau Mau amongst the Kikuyu people. The plain clothes man who hides in the hedges must, I demand, get the truth of our words before be flies to Government to present them with false information. I ask this of them who arc in the meeting to take heed of my words and do their work properly and justly.
Do not be scared of the few policemen under those trees who are holding their rifles high in the air for you to see. Their job is to seize criminals, and we shall save them a duty today. I will never ask you to be subversive but I ask you to be united, for the day of Independence is the day of complete unity and if we unite completely tomorrow, our independence will come tomorrow. This is the day for you to work bard for your country, it is not words but deeds that count and the deeds I ask for come from your pockets. The biggest subscribers to K.A.U. are in this order. First, Thomson’s Falls branch, second, Elburgon branch and third Gatundu branch. Do you, in Nyeri branch, want to beat them? Then let us see your deeds come forth. I want to touch on a number of points, and I ask you for the hundredth time to keep quiet whilst I do this. We want self-government, but this we will never get if we drink beer.
It is harming our country and making people fools and encouraging crime. It is also taking all our money. Prosperity is a prerequisite of independence and, more important, the beer we are drinking is harmful to our birthrate. You sleep with a woman for nothing if you drink beer. It causes your bones to weaken and if you want to increase the population of the Kikuyu you must stop drinking.
. . . K.A.U. is not a fighting union that uses fists and weapons. If any of you here think that force is good, I do not agree with you: remember the old saying that he who is hit with a rungu returns, but he who is bit with justice never comes back. I do not want people to accuse us falsely-that we steal and that we are Mau Mau. I pray to you that we join hands for freedom and freedom means abolishing criminality.
Beer harms us and those who drink it do us harm and they may be the so-called Mau Mau. Whatever grievances we have, let us air them here in the open. The criminal does not ,want freedom and land-he wants to line his own pocket. Let us therefore demand our rights justly. The British Government has discussed the land problem in Kenya and we hope to have a Royal Commission to this country to look into the land problem very shortly. When this Royal Commission comes, let us show it that we are a good peaceful people and not thieves and robbers. — Jomo Kenyatta, Speech at the Kenya African Union Meeting at Nyeri, July 26, 1952.
1961: Jomo Kenyatta Freed From Prison
Jomo Kenyatta, leader of the Kenyan independence movement, was released by British colonial authorities after nearly nine years of imprisonment and detention. Two years later, Kenya achieved independence and Kenyatta became prime minister. Once portrayed as a menacing symbol of African nationalism, he brought stability to the country and defended Western interests during his 15 years as Kenyan leader.
Jomo Kenyatta Death
On 22 August 1978 Kenya’s founding father died. Kenya’s president, Jomo Kenyatta, died at his home in Mombasa. An official announcement on Voice of Kenya radio said Mr Kenyatta died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday morning. Shops and offices in the capital, Nairobi, and other cities closed for the day as a mark of respect. Earlier, in public appearances before his death, Mr Kenyatta, appeared to be in good health so news of his death came as a shock to most Kenyans. A week before his death, he called a family conference in Mombasa leading to speculation about his health. Mr Kenyatta was widely seen as the founding father of his nation which he had led since its independence in 1963. A member of Kenya’s largest tribe, the Kikuyu, he was one of the first and best-known African nationalist leaders.
Memories of Jomo Kenyatta
In their own words, here are what people said about Jomo Kenyatta:
“I remember vividly the morning when I heard the news that Mzee Kenyatta had died in sleep. I was teaching in a school in the Diocese of Eldoret at the time. There was an eerie silence everywhere I went. One common question lingering in everyone’s mind was: What next for Kenya?
Kenyatta was a towering personality and his portraits seen in all public places demanded respect. He was not just a President, but a statesman. His role in the struggle for Kenyan independence was awe-inspiring. Kenya had enjoyed considerable prosperity and peace during his regime and his death could deal a blow to stability of the nation. Everyone wondered: Who could replace him and carry on the the great tradition of Harambee and pull the nation together and move forward in unity. Life moved on but he would always be missed and his legacy never forgotten.” – Mariadhason Vareedayah, USA.
“My first memories of Kenyatta was my father telling me of his close relationship with Kenyatta, years before Kenyatta was jailed. Like most Kikuyu men and women, my father was suspected of complicity with the Mau Mau and detained two years after Kenyatta was jailed. Indeed he was Mau Mau and he was proud of that. I was born in 1960, a year after my father was released, and my father used to adore the large portrait of Kenyatta that was hung in our living room.” – Thomas Ngobe, Canada.
“I was in one of those study holidays my father used to impose on us at a nearby high school where he was the headmaster. So on this day, we were taking a late morning break from the day’s study programme when the news of Mzee’s passing came on radio. He was this charismatic figure, capable of mobilizing the country like I have never seen any African leader do other than perhaps Mandela.” – Jeff, USA.
“As a young teenager, it was unimaginable. Mzee (meaning Old Man, as he was popularly known) was a larger than life figure. Over the years, I had known Mzee as President of my beloved country – he had come to symbolize what a leader ought be in my own little sheltered world. He was this charismatic figure, capable of mobilizing the country like I have never seen any African leader do other than perhaps Mandela. When he addressed the nation, it was with absolute authority and no one dared question Mzee¿s direction. There’s no doubt that he led Kenya through the most prosperous years in history. It’s sad though that despite all this, his sunset years became tainted with what some saw as human rights abuses, corruption and favoritism on tribal lines. Like most incumbents in any government, he had been in power too long. What Kenya really needed at that time was a leadership change but in Kenya, the concept was ahead of its times. Despite all this, Mzee though is undoubtedly the founding father of Kenya. Most of the development visible today came under the leadership of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.” – Jeff O, USA.
“I was seven years old and still remember some of the events of that memorable day when Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta died. Though it was on a weekday, all kids were home for the August school holidays. That morning, my siblings and I were at our upcountry home in Murang¿a District during the one-month break from our school in Nairobi. We were playing one of those games that require kids to jump systematically through shapes etched in the dust on the ground. At around lunch time, my mother who was in the kitchen suddenly called us indoors in a rather unusual voice. The voice must have conveyed some urgency since we abandoned our game and all trooped into the kitchen. That is when she told us to listen to the radio since she was not sure that she was hearing the news correctly. The radio would play our national anthem and a then a man would eerily announce that our president had died in Mombasa. All the flags were to immediately fly at half mast. On this day each year, many of us in Kenya fondly look forward to hearing Kenyatta’s booming voice on radio and seeing his cunning old wizard images on television. – Ken Njuguna, Kenya.
“Heretofore unprecedented in Kenya, the announcement-national anthem sequence continued playing for most of the day, mercilessly scraping on everyone’s raw nerves. I remember the profound sadness that enveloped us on that day. I also might have sensed some panic since I remember enquiring from a grown up if there was going to be war in the country. The other thing I can remember was that the national mourning period gave us extra days on top of the one-month school holiday. On this day each year, many of us in Kenya fondly look forward to hearing Kenyatta’s booming voice on radio and seeing his cunning old wizard images on television as we remember the greatest president Kenya has ever had.” – Ken Njuguna, Kenya.
“On some Fridays, as Kenyatta¿s motorcade made it’s way through the Buru Buru section of Nairobi, on his way to Gatundu, other primary school children and I would wait for it, I would always wave my right index finger up in the air each time the motorcade approached. I did not know what it meant then. He always waved and smiled back at us. He made my day. Later on in life did I learn that the one finger sign symbolized one party-KANU.” – Makau, USA.
“I remember where I was when I heard the news of Kenyatta’s death. As a young barefooted boy we trekked to the nearest police station to really see that the flag was indeed flying at half mast. Nobody thought that there will be no more Kenyatta – he was larger than life in Kenya. Growing up in the foothills of Mt Kenya and going to school in Nairobi made me very aware of the changes that the government put in place. In the years that my father would take us to Uhuru Park on national days to listen to the grand old man address the nation, one thing that stood out was his booming voice and the ability to rally to the country together with his speeches and his clarion call – Harambee [“pull together” in Swahili] – and of course in those days we did not return the call with Nyayo [“let us follow in his footsteps” coined by Kenyatta’s successor Daniel Arap Moi] but Hooy! One thing Kenyatta left was a nation that is the envy of its neighbours, a bastion of hope is amongst failed states all around it. Kenyatta did the best he could and Kenya will forever be grateful – otherwise the country could have gone the Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia way and the list is endless.” – Macharia Githaiga, USA.
“I was in the UK when His Excellency died. I was visiting family who asked me not to travel back as they all expected riots to break out. President Kenyatta had the chance of a lifetime – to create a strong, peaceful Kenya, not divided along tribal lines. With deep regret, I have to say that he used his position to enrich himself and to better the prospects of the Kikuyu people (his tribe) to the detriment of the general populous. Had he done what Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (his peer Tanzanian president) did and aimed to destroy tribal lines, Kenya would be a much more cohesive country. He also gave himself sweeping powers that President Moi made even stronger and hence our predicament today. He made a strong contribution in the struggle for our independence, but what happened to him after we got that independence? Very few have the capability not to get drunk with power and sadly President Jomo Kenyatta was not one of them.” – J. Kaguru, Kenya.
“I remember the day Kenyatta died because I was in Nairobi and it was 1pm and news time when his death was announced. All stores in down town Nairobi were closed and most workplaces were closed and workers sent home. You could hear people whispering how life would be like in Kenya without Kenyatta and if there would be chaos in the country. But most of all, the whole country was engulfed in mourning the death of their beloved leader and father of the nation.” – Thomas Ngobe, Canada.
“I was born and lived in Mombasa, Kenya. I remember one evening when we were youngsters, kicking a ball around a dusty field. The president’s motorcade passed, heading to the port area, and he stopped it, and talked to us. I will always remember the large red ruby ring he had on his finger and the fly whisk very clearly – he asked if we needed or wanted anything. Naively, we all said we wanted a new ball as the one we had was in tatters, and sweets and ice cream from the corner shop. He then directed one of his bodyguards to get us whatever we wanted in the shop! The shopkeeper must have been smiling for days as he was handed some cash to give us whatever we wanted – we might have finished off the stock in that shop! It has been 27 years since he died but I can remember how sad the day was when he passed away, it seemed like the whole country came to a standstill in his respect. Thank you for the great memory (and new ball and sweets etc.) Rest in Peace, Mzee – you will always be in my heart and mind forever more.” – Ibrahim Mirza, UK.
“I remember the excitement that rippled through Mombasa whenever Kenyatta came to town. It was no different in 1978 when we as children had lined the streets to welcome him with cries of “Harambee”. I still remember the sadness that every Kenyan felt on his death. If Kenya’s subsequent leaders had had Kenyatta’s foresight, the country would have made progress in leaps and bounds… and I would never have left home.” – Lazef M, UK.
“This is my late father-in-law’s story. Colin Trapnell lived and worked in Kenya at an agricultural research station in Kikuyu from 1953 through the years of the Mau Mau. He was on leave in Storrington in Sussex staying at his ancestral home. Walking in the grounds, he heard chanting and was amazed to see an African man dancing around a fire in true Kenyan style. He spoke to the man and discovered that he was one Jomo Kenyatta.” – Hazel Trapnell, UK.
“I was born in Nyeri – a little town about 100 miles from Nairobi – in 1974. When I was only four years old I remember seeing the president in his motorcade whilst he was waving to all the school children who were lined up on the side of the road. I was standing there with my parents, sisters and brothers and fellow pupils from my school (Temple Road Primary School). I said to my father, a teacher in one of the other local schools: “Papa, he waved to me, he looks SO BIG in that car.” Any my father said to me: “He is isn’t he? He is the president of Kenya, the best thing that happened to this country.” I never ever forgotten those words my father said to me and that image.” – Sangita Patel, UK.
“I remember this day very well – I was twelve and we have got up in the morning without any inkling of what had happened until we put the radio on and we received the shocking news. We had been in Kenya for three years at this time and Jomo Kenyatta, the fight for independence, Mau Mau and the good that Kenyatta had done for Kenya was very important in both my schooling and generally in living in the country. I had the added bonus of having met President Kenyatta personally and having members of his family at my school so there really was a personal aspect of grief to the day’s news that we were receiving. All day the radio, and television played very sombre news, telling everyone to stay calm and to stay in their homes. Not everyone did this and I know that a lot of public grief was shown that day, and for the days to come until the day that the great man was buried. Africa truly lost a great man who had the foresight to accept what was best for his country, regardless of past bigotry and personal experience. Not everyone agreed with his stance but once you met him, he had the ability to make you understand him. Kenya wouldn’t have been the country that it was if another person had taken over the government when independence was achieved. We only hope that Kenya can now recover from the past 28 years of Moi and come back to the country that it should be. It is beautiful, the people are a delight and once it is safe, there isn’t anywhere else in the world that can offer all that Kenya holds. That’s a very biased view but I hold that it is the truth. Jomo Kenyatta was a gift to Africa, much the same as Nelson Mandela, and maybe someone else will come along who will offer the same qualities. May God hear this wish.” – Beverley Taylor, England, UK.
“I was in Kenya when Jomo Kenyatta died and was actually in Mombassa with the family as my father was married to a member of the Kenyatta family. I met the president the day before he died and he seemed a very wise and gentle man and although i was only 12 at the time he made a lasting impression on me. I remember being woken very early the next morning and having to fly by light aircraft back to Nairobi to make preparations for the funeral.” – Alison West, Ireland.
“Kenyatta was a very well educated man and used his education wisely and for the greater good of the people of Kenya. What a great tragedy that few African leaders followed his example.” – Mangra G, Guyana.
Jomo Kenyatta Family
Here are a compilation of Jomo Kenyatta’s family (let us know if you have any additional information about Jomo Kenyatta’s family):
Kenyatta’s First wife
In 1919, Jomo Kenyatta met and married his first wife Grace Wahu, according to Kikuyu tradition. When it became apparent that Grace was pregnant, his church elders ordered him to get married before a European magistrate, and also undertake the appropriate church rites. (The civil ceremony didn’t take place until November 1922.) On 20 November 1922 Kamau’s first son, Peter Muigai, was born (he died in 1979); a daughter, Margaret Kenyatta, was born in 1929 (she died in 2017). Peter became an Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Margaret served as Mayor of Nairobi (1970–76) and then as Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations (1976–86). Grace Wahu died in April 2007.
Kenyatta’s Second wife
He had one son, Peter Magana Kenyatta (born on August 11, 1944), from his short marriage with Edna Clarke. He lives in London after retiring from BBC after working as a producer. Edna, who died in 1995 at the age of 86, was Kenyatta’s second wife. Mzee was an agricultural labourer in England, earning £4 a week when the two met three years before he returned home to join the nationalist struggle. Their wedding – recorded in the certificate Dhiri offered the government – took place on May 11, 1942, at the Chanctonbury registry office at Storrington in Sussex. Kenyatta left Edna in England when he returned to Kenya in 1946 and married Grace Wanjiku.
Kenyatta’s Third wife
Kenyatta married his third wife, Grace Wanjiku, in 1946. She was the daughter of Senior Chief Koinange and sister to Mbiyu Koinange. She died when giving birth in 1951. Their daughter Jane Makena Wambui (also known as Jeni) survived. Jeni Makena Gecaga nee Kenyatta is mother to Soiya Gecaga, Nana Gecaga, and Jomo Gecaga, who serves as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s private secretary.
Kenyatta’s Fourth wife
His fourth wife, the best known due to her role as First Lady, was Ngina Kenyatta (née Muhoho), also known as Mama Ngina. She often accompanied him in public, and some streets in Nairobi and Mombasa are named after her. She bore Kenyatta four children: Christine Wambui (born 1953), Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 1961), Anna Nyokabi Muthama Kenyatta (born May 1963) Muhoho Kenyatta (born 1965). Mama Ngina lives quietly as a wealthy widow in Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta unsuccessfully vied for the Kenyan presidency as President Moi’s preferred successor in 2002. He served as Minister of Local Government and Minister of Finance, and in 2013 he was elected as President and later on re-elected in 2017. Muhoho Kenyatta runs his mother’s vast family business but lives out of the public limelight.
Kenyatta was the uncle of Ngethe Njoroge, Kenya’s first representative to the United Nations and the great uncle of Tom Morello, the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. His niece, Beth Mugo, married to a retired ambassador, was an MP and also served as Minister for Public Health. Beth Mugo has been a nominated senator under the Jubilee Alliance (Ruling Alliance in Kenya) since 2013 and has been known to strongly support her cousin (President Uhuru Kenyatta).
Jomo Kenyatta Biography and Profile