Mzee Jomo Kenyatta
[ Kenya | Government | History ]
Disclaimer: Please note that this information is
taken from a variety of sources, and I cannot personally vouch
for its accuracy. A number of people seem to get quite irate
with some of the claims made in here, and want me to alter
them. If you can direct me to a more authoritative source, I'd
be glad to update it.
KENYATTA ..... Taa ya Kenya or Swahili for the
'Light of Kenya' was the man who brought the light of
independence to Kenya. Indeed, he was a beacon, a rallying
point for suffering Kenyans to fight for their rights, justice
His brilliance gave strength and aspiration to people beyond
the boundaries of Kenya, indeed beyond the shores of Africa.
Just as one light shines in total darkness and provides a
raliying point, so did Ken-yatta become the focus of the
freedom fight for Kenya over half a century to dispell the
darkness and injustice of colonialism. Before matter can become
light, it has to suffer the rigours of heat. So did Kenyatta
suffer the rigorous of imprisonment to bring independence to
Kenya. As the founding father of Kenya, and its undisputed
leader, he came to be known as Mzee, Swahili for a respected
No chronology can adequately reflect the many sided
achievements of Mzee Kenyatta. His life is the life of the free
Kenya nation chronicled here.
There is Kenyatta the leader who united all races and tribes
for the freedom struggle; Kenyatta the orator who held his
listeners entranced, Kenyatta the journalist who launched the
first indigenous paper to voice his people's demands; Kenyatta
the scholar who wrote the first serious study about his people;
Kenyatta the teacher who initiated love for Kenyah culture and
heritage; Kenyatta the farmer who loved his land and urged his
people to return to it; Kenyatta the biographer who documented
his 'suffering without bitterness'; Kenyatta the
conser-vationist who protected Kenya's priceless fauna and
flora; Kenyatta the father figure who showered love and
affection on all; Kenyatta the democrat who upheld the
democratic principle of one-man one-vote; Kenyatta the eider
statesman who counselled other Heads of State, and finally
Kenyatta the visionary who had a glorious image of Kenya's
future and toiled to realise it.
Since ideas are more enduring than human bodies and
sacrifices last longer than sermons thus the light that is
Kenyatta burns on to illuminate the path of Kenya.
Kamau wa Ngengi
1889-1895 Kamau wa Ngengi is born to Muigai and Wambui
at Ng'enda, Gatundu Division of Kiambu District.
1896-1909 Muigai dies. Wambui is inherited by Muigai's
younger brother Ngengi. Wambui gives birth to James Muigai but
leaves Ngengi's house to return to her parents where she dies.
Kamau moves from Ng'enda for Muthiga to live with grandfather
Kingu Magana, a fortuneteller and medicineman.
1909 Nov Joins Church of Scotland Mission, Thogoto,
where he obtains elementary education and carpentry
1912 Finishes elementary school and becomes an
1913 Circumcised at Nyongara stream near Thogoto
Mission to become member of Kihiu Mwiri/Mebengi age
1914 Aug-Christened as John Peter Kamau but changes name
to Johnstone Kamau. Travels to Nairobi to seek
1915 Works on a sisal farm in Thika under engineer John
Cook, who was previously in charge of building programme at
1916 Falls serious ill, spurns help from a missionary
doctor and turns to his friend, Charles Stokes, at Tumutumu,
who nurses him back to health.
1917 Evades forced recruitment as ablebodied Kikuyu by
living in Narok where he works for an Asian contractor. Wears
Masai-belt with 'Kinyata' written on it.
1918 Returns to Nairobi in Search of employment. Works
as store keeper for Stephen Ellis. Attends Church Missionary
Service evening classes.
1919 Marries Grace Wahu according to Kikuyu
1920 Becomes an interpreter in Sub-chief Kioi's land
case in a Nai- robi court.
Oct 22 Answers charges before Church elders for
marrying without Church rites and drinking liquor. Ordered to
get married before a European magistrate.
Nov 20 Peter Muigai Kenyatta is born to Grace
1923 Gets rehabilitated into the Church after promising
to refrain from liquor. Part of Dagoretti home is turned into a
provision shop, Kinyata Store, which becomes a meeting place
for his Nairobi friends of many tribes.
1922 Secures a job at Shs 250 per month as stores clerk
and water meter reader with Nairobi Municipal Council where
John Cook is Water Superintendent. Buys a bicycle and builds a
house at Dagoretti. Joins Kikuyu Central Association.
1922 Nov 8 Gets married to Grace Wahu in a civil
1924 Begins to take interest in political activities of
KCA leaders, James Beauttah and Joseph Kang'ethe.
1926 Helps Kikuyu Central Association in drafting
letters and translation. Becomes Kikuyu Central Association
1928 Feb 28 Accompanies Kikuyu Central Association
officials to give evidence to Hilton Young Commission. Daughter
Margaret Wambui is born.
May Starts to edit Kikuyu weekly Mwigwithania.
The Reconciler, printed by an Asian-owned press.
1928 Jun 18 Presents evidence before a Legco select
committee on land management.
June-Dec Travels widely in Kikuyuland on his motorcyle
setting up KCA branches.
1929 Kikuyu Central Association decides to send him to
Britain to present African grievances before Colonial office.
Indian leader and Legco member, Mr Isher Dass, collects funds
for his trip.
Feb 17 Sails from Mombasa with Mr lsher Dass who is to
present a similar petition for the Indian community.
Mar 8 Arrives in Britain.
1929 Writes articles in English papers "Give Back Our
Land". Visits Moscow.
1930 Writes to Colonial Office about his fears of
arrest on return to Kenya.
1929 Writes a letter in The Times and The Manchester
Guardian about the unrest in Kenya.
1930 Sep 24 Back home, reaches Mombasa to be welcomed
by Beauttah and wife Wahu. Works for Kikuyu Independent Schools
1931 May 2 Leaves Kenya for Britain to put forward
Kikuyu Central Association views before a Parliamentary
Commission. On being ignored by the Commission, enrols at
Quaker College, Woodbrooke.
1932 Easter-Complete Studies at Woodbrooke.
Jun Gives evidence before Carter Land Commission.
Aug Visits Russia again to start one year course at
Moscow University at invitation of George Padmore, a radical
1933 Returns to Britain after Padmore's disagreement
with the Russians. Resumes campaign for his people.
1934-1938 Studies at University College, London. Works
on Barlow's Kikuyu Dictionary. Enrolls at London School of
Economics under Professor Malinowski.
1936 Breaks through a police cordon in London railway
station to express solidarity with Emperor Haile Selassie of
Ethiopia. Writes articles and lectures all over Britain.
1938 Publishes his magnum opus Facing Mount Kenya
- under the name Jomo Kenyatta, proper sounding name for an
1940 Takes up works as a film actor and farm
1942 May 11 Marries an English governess, Edna Clarke,
at Chanc- tonbury Registry office, West Sussex.
Publishes My People of Kikuyu and The Life chief
Chief Wang'ombe, a history shading into legend.
1943 Aug 11 Peter Magana Kenyatta is born to
1945 Feb Organises World Trade Union Congress.
Oct Organises Fifth Pan African Congress in Manchester
with Kwame Nkrumah with slogans 'Freedom Now' and 'Africa for
1946 Sep Returns to Kenya. Marries Grace Wanjiku,
sister of Mbiyu Koinange and daughter of the late Senior Chief
Koinange. Becomes principal of Kenya Teachers College
1947 Jun 1 Becomes President of Kenya African Union -
KAU - with the stepping down by Juntas Gichuru.
1948-1951 Tours and lectures around the country
condemning idleness, robbery and urges hard work while
campaigning for the return of land given to White settlers.
Calls for independence within three years. KAU banned. Mau Mau
freedom fight begins.
1950 Attends a joint meeting of KAU and Kenya Indian
Congress in Nairobi where Trade Unionist Makhan Singh's
resolution for freedom for East Africa is passed. Wife Grace
Wanjiku dies in childbirth.
1951 May Meets British Secretary of State for Colonies,
James Griffiths. to propose a constitution conference before
1951 Sep Marries Ngina Muhoho. daughter of Chief Muhoho
1952 Aug 24 Addresses a mammoth KAU public meeting at
Sept Christine Warnbui is born to Ngina.
Oct 7 Attends funeral of Senior Chief Waruhiu with
Governor Baring amid threats to his life by White
Oct 20 Emergency is declared. Arrested under 'Operation
Jock Scot' with 182 other African leaders.
Nov 18 Charged with managing Mau Mau at Kapenguria -
defended by D N Pritt, QC. Diwan Chaman Lall. an Indian MP sent
by Prime Minister Nehru, Kenyan-Indian lawyers, F R S De Souza
and A R Kapila and Nigerian advocate, HO Davies.
1953 Apr 8 Sentenced to seven years hard labour and
indefinite restriction thereafter. Imprisoned at Lokitaung, N W
1954 Jul Pritt exhausts all legal arguments before
Privy Council which refuses appeal.
1959 Apr 14 Completes prison sentence at Lokitaung and
restricted at Lodwar 90 miles south. Joined by wife Ngina and
two young daughters.
1959 Testifies against Crown witness Rawson Macharia
whose evidence had influenced Kapenguria trial.
1960 Ambu Patel, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, forms
'Release Jomo Committee' to whip up public support.
Mar 27 Ambu Patel holds first demonstration in Kiambu
to release Jomo and colleagues
1960 Feb 28 Public meeting of 25,000 in Nairobi demands
1960 Apr 15 Over a million signatures for a plea to
release Kenyana are presented to the Governor by Nairobi
Peoples Convention Party.
May 14 Is elected Kanu President in absentia.
1961 Mar 23 Kenyan leaders, including Mr DT arap Moi,
Apr 11 Moves to Maralal with daughter Margaret. Meets
world press for the first time in eight years.
Aug 14 Released and brought to Gatundu to a hero's
Sept 3 Welcomed by Mombasa residents.
Sept 10 Nairobi Indians offer a mammoth welcome to
Kenyatta with a 100,000-strong crowd.
Oct 28 Becomes President of Kanu.
1961 Leads Kanu delegation to Lancaster Conference in
1962 Leads Kanu delegation to second Lancaster
Conference in London.
1963 May 11-26 Leads Kanu to victory at polls.
Jun 1 Forms Government as Prime Minister on Madaraka
Aug 12 Convinces White settlers to work for a free
Kenya and to 'forgive and forget'.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta
Dec 12 Becomes Prime Minister of a free Kcnya. Ngina
gives birth to son, Uhuru.
1964 Ngina gives birth to Muhoho.
1964 Dec 12 President Jomo Kenyatta becomes President
1966 Suffers a heart attack.
1968 Publishes biography: Suffering Without
1970 Jan 29 Sworn in as President for the second
1972 Jun 1 Tells huge rally of threats to his
1973 Jan 28 Daughter Jeni gets married to Udi
1974 Nov 5 Installed as President for the third
1977 Apr Suffers a heart attack.
1978 Aug 14 On 17th anniversary of his release, hosts a
family reunion in Mombasa for which his son Peter Mugaria and
family fly in from Britain.
Aug 22 Dies peacefully in his sleep in presence of Mama
Ngina and son, Peter Muigai.
Aug 31 State funeral artended by Heads or State and
royalty to witness the burial of Mzee Kenyatta in mausoleum in
Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.
Text is copyright Newspread International, and is
taken from the Kenya Factbook, 15th edition,
[ Kenya | Government ]