Jomo, Kenyatta, Uhuru, BiographyJomo Kenyatta was born Kamau Wa Ngengi at Ng’enda village,
Gatundu Division, Kiambu in 1889. He was the son of Muigai and Wambui.In 1896
his father died and Wambui was inherited by Muigai’s younger brother
Ngengi.That is the union through which James Muigai, Kamau’s half-brother was
born. Kamau’s mother later returned to her parents where she died. Kamau moved
from Ng’enda for Muthiga to live with his grandfather Kingu wa Magana who was a
fortune teller and medicine man. He took interest in Agikuyu culture and
customs and used to assist his grandfather in the practice of medicine.

In 1909,Kamau joined Church of Scotland Mission, Thogoto, where he obtained
elementary education and carpentry training. In 1912 he finished elementary
school and became an apprentice carpenter. In 1913 he was circumcised at
Nyogara stream near Thogoto Mission to become member of Kihiu Mwigi/Mebengi age

In 1914,he was baptized a Christian and given the name John
Peter which he changed to Johnstone. He later changed his name to Jomo and
during his later years was known as Jomo Kenyatta. During World War 1,when the
British government was forcefully conscripting Africans into the army, Kenyatta
took refuge in Narok where he worked as a clerk to an Asian trader. After the
war, he served as a storekeeper to a European firm and this time, he began
wearing his beaded belt Kinyatta.

He married Grace Wahu in 1920, with whom they had two
children, Peter Muigai and Margaret Wambui. He worked in the Nairobi City
Council water department between 1921-26 on a salary of about Kenya shillings
250.00 per month. Though he owned a shamba (farm) and a house at Dagoretti, he
preferred to live closer to town at Kilimani in a hut and cycled home during

He took interest in the political activities of the Kikuyu Central
Association leaders James Beauttah and Joseph Kang’ethe. By 1926, he was the
secretary of KCA. He was also chosen to represent the Kikuyu land problems
before the Hilton Young Commission in Nairobi. This marked the beginning of his
career in politics.

In 1928, he published a Gikuyu weekly newspaper,
Muigwithania that dealt with the Kikuyu culture and new farming methods. The
Kikuyu Central Association sent him to England in 1929 to influence British
opinion on tribal land. After touring some parts of Europe, including Russia in
1930, he returned to Kenya to fight cases of female circumcision together with
the Scottish Mission. He supported the idea of independent schools.

In 1931, he again went to England to present a written petition
to parliament. It is during this time that he met India’s Mahatma Gandhi in
November 1932. After giving evidence before the Morris Carter Commission, he
proceeded to Moscow to study Economics at the invitation of George Padmore, a
radical West Indian. He was forced to return to Britain by 1933 when Padmore
fell out with the Russians and he continued with political campaigns in the UK.

During the gold rush, land in Kakamega reserve was being
distributed to settlers, something which angered Kenyatta causing him to speak
about Britain’s injustice. It is for this reason that the British dubbed him a
communist. He taught Gikuyu at the University College, London and also wrote a
book on the Kikuyu language in 1937. Under Professor Malinowski, he studied Anthropology
at the famous London School of Economics (LSE). In 1938, he published a book
entitled “Facing Mount Kenya”.

During the World War II, Kenyatta served on a farm in the
United Kingdom .He owned his own farm in the UK. He married Edna Clarke, mother
of his son, Peter Magana in 1942. Along with other African leaders, including
Nkrumah of Ghana, he took part in the 5 th Pan-African Congress in 1945 at

Kenyatta, Kenya, BiographyWhen he returned to Kenya in 1946, he married Wanjiku,
Senior Chief Koinange’s daughter, who was the mother of his child, Jane Wambui.
During his travels in the countryside at Kiambu, Murang’a and Nyeri, he always
spoke to the local people on political matters. His last wife was Mama Ngina,
the mother of Christine Uhuru, Anna Nyokabi and Muhoho. In 1947, he took over
the leadership of KAU from James Gichuru.

On October 20, 1952, Sir Evelyn, Baring, newly appointed
Governor of Kenya, declared a state of emergency in the country. Jomo Kenyatta
and other prominent leaders were arrested. He was tried at Kapenguria on April
8, 1953 for managing Mau Mau. He was sentenced to 7 years in imprison with hard
labor and to indefinite restriction thereafter. On April 14, 1959, Jomo
Kenyatta completed his sentence at Lokitaung but remained in restriction at Lodwar.
Later, he was moved to Maralal, where he remained until August 1961. On August
14, 1961, he was allowed to return to his Gatundu home. On August 21, 1961,
nine years after his arrest, he was freed from all restrictions.

On October 28, 1961, Kenyatta became the President of the
Kenya African National Union and a month later he headed a KANU delegation to
London for talks to prepare the way for the Lancaster House Conference.

On June 1, 1963, Mzee Kenyatta became the first Prime
Minister of self-governing Kenya. At midnight on December 12, 1963, at Uhuru
Stadium, amid world leaders and multitudes of people, a new nation was born and
a year later, on December 12, 1964, Kenya became a republic with Kenyatta as
the President.

Mzee Kenyatta is acclaimed from all quarters of the world as
a true son of Africa, a visionary leader. During his tenure, Kenya enjoyed
political stability, and economic progress. In 1974, he declared free primary
education up to primary grade 4. He is also remembered for urging Kenyans to
preserve their culture and heritage.

He died on 22nd August 1978 at 3.30 A.M. in Mombasa at the
age of 89 years, while on a working holiday.

Today, the late Kenyatta is widely acknowledged as one of
the greatest men of the 20th century who played a key role in the independence
of Kenya and other African nations. His name is always mentioned alongside the
likes of Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere.


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