THE NAME BEHIND THE ROAD: ARGWINGS KODHEK ROAD, NAIROBI.
CMG Argwings Kodhek (1923-1969) was the Kenya’s first African lawyer. He is fondly remembered for providing legal defense to freedom fighters during the fight for independence; mostly for free and in the harsh conditions of remote detention camps. Since most of his clients were mainly those accused of Mau Mau-related activities, the colonialists nicknamed him the ‘Mau Mau’ lawyer.
After independence, he went on to become an assistant minister, then Minister for Natural Resources (1966) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (1968).
Sadly his life was cut short in 1969 in what has been described a mysterious road accident along this road now named after him. Wikipedia – French. (Category: History Asides)
FIELD MARSHAL MUTHONI WA KIRIMA (b. 1931;also known as Nyina wa Thonjo) was a close confidante of Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi and one of the highest ranking women in the command structure of the Mau Mau movement. Considered by many of her fellow fighters to be a master tactician and a great marksman, she inflicted immense pain on the colonial government and only left the forest right after Kenya’s Independence ceremony.
She received her nickname “Nyina wa Thonjo” (Nyina is Mother-of and Thonjo is weaver bird in Kikuyu) from Dedan Kimathi for her ability to “weave” intricate and brilliant plans on how to fight the British forces.
Field Marshal Muthoni represents the many women and mothers who made great sacrifices and suffered immensely during Kenya’s fight for freedom. Her name is truly worthy of being etched into our history books alongside the greatest of our heroes.
War and Women across Continents: Autobiographical and Biographical Experiences edited by Shirley Ardener, Fiona Armitage-Woodward, Lidia D. Sciama. Chapter 4 “Mau Mau Women” by Tabitha Kanogo. ISBN 978-1-78533-013-1
Field Marshal Muthoni-Kirima, Warrior Woman. Read PDF here.
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:
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
In 2010 Evans Wadongo was named CNN Top 10 Hero for his work improving the livelihoods of Kenyans through his solar lantern invention called MwangaBora. He designed the lantern as a replacement for kerosene lamps still used in many Kenyan households. This is just one of the few honors that have been bestowed upon him for this invention and the ensuing campaign that he undertook starting in 2011 to promote MwangaBora called Just One Lamp.
According to an article published by The Guardian, as February 2015, there were 50,000 Mwangabora lanterns being used in Kenyan households with each lantern costing about 2000 Kenya Shillings. The lamp is partly built from recycled materials in addition to solar panel fragments that are used to charge the lamps. A USB port can be in-built into the lamp to allow families to charge small electronic devices.
Evans graduated from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology with a degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering. In 2013, he was included in the 35 Innovators Under 35 list compiled by MIT Technology Review.
He is currently the Executive Director of SDFA-Kenya which he founded in 2006. SDFA-Kenya a non-profit organization promoting social and economic empowerment. He is also the Chief Strategic Officer at Greenwize Energy Ltd which he co-founded in 2003.
Learn more about MwangaBora in a Feature Video by CTGN AFrica
Tom Osborn is the young founder of Greenchar which was conceived while he was still a student at Alliance Boys High School.
Greenchar manufactures smokeless charcoal briquettes made from recycled agricultural waste such as sugarcane bargasse, the fibrous waste that remains after sugarcane juice has been extracted. In addition to being smokeless and longer-lasting than conventional charcoal obtained from trees, these briquettes offer a greener alternative to the latter still widely used in Kenya.
According to Quartz Africa, as of February 2015 Greenchar was serving over 3000 families and had sold more than 130 tons of briquettes.
In 2015, Osborn was named to the Forbes 30-under-30 list of social entrepreneurs. He is a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, an endowed fellowship given to the next generation of social entrepreneurs. In 2014, he was also named Fellow, Anzisha Prize, an award that honors and celebrates innovative young African entrepreneurs.
Osborn joined Harvard University in 2016 for his undergraduate studies, majoring in Economics and Computer Science.
Learn more about Greenchar in the video below shared by Kelly Ranck.
Photocourtesy: CC Image courtesy of user Echoing Green NYC on Flickr