Tag Archives: Indian Kenyans

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

HISTORY SHORTS: FREEDOM FIGHTERS OF SOUTH ASIAN DESCENT

Pinto Pio Gama Pinto (1927-1965) was a Kenyan journalist of Indian and Goan descent, actively involved in the fight for independence. After spending four years in colonial detention, he founded the official KANU newspaper “Sauti ya KANU” in 1960. He continued his activism after independence and was sadly killed in 1965, some speculating he was assassinated for his strong socialist views while Kenya was starting to move more towards capitalism, while others thought it was due to his alleged communist activities throughout Africa. Incidentally he died only 4 days after Malcolm X was assassinated. The two were well acquainted and Malcolm X considered Pinto a great influence on his worldview. He was only 38. Wikipedia


~Image result for makhan singh KENYAMakhan Singh (1913-1973) -Trade unionist and a close associate of Fred Kubai. He formed the first trade union in 1935, the Labour Trade Union of Kenya. Spent 11 years of detention in Lodwar, but despite his great contribution to Trade Unionism and sacrifice to the freedom struggle, he has not received a much of attention among historians like the other freedom fighters of his calibre have received. Read this great article on Makhan Singh at sikhfoundation.org.


Image result for eddie pereira kenyaEddie Pereira (1915-1995) – Kenyan Nationalist of Goan descent who wrote over 100 newspaper articles critical of colonial rule. Was jailed under fabricated charges for his anti-colonial activities. After independence, he became a hotelier in Kisumu. Was sadly murdered in Nairobi in 1995. Before he died, Eddie wrote the following remarkable words: “…A good character is the best tombstone…Carve your name in heart, not on marble…Read more about Eddie at goacom.com


Fitz De Souza (b.1929) – Barrister and graduate of prestigious London School of Economics, he worked tirelessly to defend those accused of Mau Mau related activities in addition to serving as an advisor during the Lancaster House Conferences that laid the framework for an independent Kenya. After independence, he went on to become Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly until 1970. Wikipedia


Good Reads on these heroes

Liberating Minds, Restoring Kenyan History: Anti-Imperialist Resistance by Progressive South Asian Kenyans 1884-1965. Mar 23, 2017 by Nazmi Durrani. Google books preview.
Yesterday in Paradise Paperback – September 15, 2016 by Cyprian Fernandes. ISBN:978-1504303439. Google books preview.