Jomo Kenyatta is a popular name that cannot be forgotten so easily most especially among Kenyans. His name has gone down in history as one of the most prominent personalities in Kenya, East Africa and Africa as a whole. Below are some of the most intriguing facts about Jomo Kenyatta.
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Jomo Kenyatta Background Facts
1. Jomo Kenyatta is well known as the founding father of the Kenyan nation. He was an African statesman and a Nationalist.
2. He was the first Kenyan prime minister and when Kenya gained independence, he became the country’s very first president (1964-1978).
Jomo Kenyatta’s Early life
3. Kenyatta was born in a small agricultural village in Gatundu around 1894 though the exact date of his birth is not known, having being born before formal education was introduced in Kenya.
4. From 1909 to 1912, Kenyatta, then known as Kamau, pursued his elementary education in the Church of Scotland Mission School in Thogoto where he studied the bible, mathematics, English and carpentry. Afterwards, he worked for Nairobi town council in the water department.
Jomo Kenyatta’s Personal life
5. He married his first wife Grace Wahu under kikuyu customs in 1919. His son, Uhuru, is now the fourth president of Kenya.
Jomo Kenyatta in Politics
6. Kenyatta’s political career started in the 1920s when a new nationalism spirit was growing especially among the Kikuyus who were opposed to some aspects of the European influence and the grabbing of African land by the settlers. He was among the few educated Kenyans and in 1922, he joined the Young Kikuyu Association, and other parties besides until Kenya was granted independence and he assumed the presidency.
7. Between 1948 to 1951, Kenyatta traveled extensively around the country urging people to work hard and protesting against European settlement in Kenyan land, and demanding independence from colonial rule.
8. In 1952, he and five other leaders were arrested and charged with being members of the outlawed Mau Mau movement. He was sentenced to seven years in prison with hard labor. He was released in 1961 and returned home to receive a hero’s welcome. In 1963, Kenya became an autonomous state and he became its first prime minister. Later in 1964, when the constitution was amended and the office of the prime minister was replaced by a president, Kenyatta became the first president of Kenya. In his lifetime, Kenyatta was a source of strength and inspiration to Kenyans. His leadership was focal during the fight for freedom as the Kenyan freedom fighters decried the injustices of colonialism. He suffered torture and imprisonment during the course of the quest for independence together with other freedom fighters. He was a symbol of unity during the struggle, bringing together the different tribes in Kenya to a common fight.
9. He was a well- educated intellectual and a scholar, and he authored several books. He was the one who launched the first paper in which indigenous Kenyans voiced their grievances. He also wrote a comprehensive work on the culture and way of life of the kikuyu entitled Facing Mount Kenya. Kenyatta was an ambitious and hardworking man and he is fondly remembered by his appeal to Kenyans to return to the land after the struggle was over. He was highly acclaimed as a visionary leader and a political figure head. As the president, Kenyatta’s leadership led to an improvement in agriculture, tourism, business, health, among other sectors that had mostly being neglected during the struggle thereby reviving the country’s economy.
Death of Jomo Kenyatta
10. Kenyatta died peacefully in his sleep on 22nd August 1978. He was accorded a state funeral attended by heads of states. He will be remembered for his leading role towards independence as well as uniting Kenyans after independence and restoring the country’s peace and prosperity.
These are a few of the notable facts about Jomo Kenyatta, the former President of Kenya, an African statesman and an international personality.