HISTORY SHORTS: JOSEPH ZUZARTE MURUMBI

Joe Murumbi and Mother

Joe Murumbi. His mother (pictured right) was the daughter of Masai Laibon Murumbi of Uasin Gishu while his father was of Goan descent.


JOE ZUZARTE MURUMBI (1911-1990) was Kenya’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs and the country’s second Vice President, an office he served for a few months between May and November 1966. He was the son of a Goan trader father and a Maasai mother who was the daughter (pictured right) of Laibon Murumbi of the then Uasin Gishu Maasai.

Born in Eldama Ravine and raised in Londiani, he was introduced to the freedom struggle by his friend and mentor Pio Gama Pinto. Described as an honest man, he was KAU’s roving diplomat instrumental in the logistical planning for independence negotiations with the British and setting up Independent Kenya’s foreign embassies.

Murumbi chose to identify more with his mother’s Masai culture over his father’s Goan roots. It is said that due to his darker skin, some in the Kenyan Goan community did not accept him fully. Although he never fully explained his abrupt departure from government and retirement, many say it was due his disillusionment with the direction that Kenya was taking at the time that had included the assassination of his close friend Pinto.


Read more about Murumbi:

Murumbi African Heritage Collections shows Murumbi’s passion for African culture.
Yesterday in Paradise:1950-1974 By Cyprian Fernandes (2016) ISBN: 9781504303439 (Chapter 16 – Joe Zuzarte Murumbi, Chapter 18 – Pio Gama Pinto)
A Path Not Taken – The Story of Joseph Murumbi (2016) ISBN: 978-9966-083-06-7