Jomo Kenyatta

The late Jomo Kenyatta was a great man and is acclaimed as the founding father of Kenya. Despite everyone, or most, knowing him as the first president of Kenya there are some things that you may not know about him. Here is a list of ten things you probably didn’t know.

1. Jomo Kenyatta was born Kamau to parents Moigoi and Wamboi and became Kamau wa Ngengi after being adopted by his uncle Ngengi when his father passed on.

2. At the age of 10, he ran away from home so he could become a resident pupil at the Church of Scotland mission in Thogoto, studying amongst other subjects the Bible, English, Mathematics and carpentry. He paid the school fees by working as a houseboy and cook for a nearby white settler.

3. In August of 1914 Kamau was baptized at the Church of Scotland mission, initially taking the name John Peter Kamau, but swiftly changing it to Johnson Kamau.

4. To avoid being forced to into work by the British authorities he moved to Narok, living amongst the Maasai, and working as a clerk for an Asian contractor. It was around this time that he took to wearing a traditional beaded belt known as a ‘Kenyatta’, a Swahili word which means ‘light of Kenya’.

5. He adopted the name Jomo (a Kikuyu name meaning ‘burning spear’) Kenyatta in 1922.

6. He stayed away from Kenya for 15 years between 1931 to September 1946. During that time he enrolled at one of the Selly Oaks collages in Birmingham for a year before moving to Moscow to study economics at Moscow State University.

7. He was an extra in the movie ‘Sanders of the river’ where he acted as a tribal chief.

Jomo Kenyatta is the movie Sanders of the River

Jomo Kenyatta is the movie Sanders of the River

8. He got married four times, Grace Wahu (1919), Edna Clark (1942), Grace Wanjiku (1946) and Ngina Muhoho (1951).

9. He served three terms as Kenya’s president though he passed on during his third term on the 22nd of August 1978.

10. He published two books, Facing Mount Kenya and a memoir of reminiscences and speeches, Suffering Without Bitterness: The Founding of the Kenya Nation.