An interesting confluence of events that implants an umbilical connection between the Kenyatta’s, the Obama’s, and Tom Mboya.
Apparently, just prior to his assassination on 5th July 1969, Tom Mboya was chatting with Obama Senior outside a Chemist Shop, and the latter joked about Mboya’s improper parking eliciting a city council traffic ticket, while entirely unbeknownst to either, a much crueler tragedy lay in the making, to be exacted with impunity shortly thereafter…
Obama Senior had been in contact with my Mum, his secretary at work, not long outside of this encounter…
Interestingly enough, Barrack Senior indirectly was the reason my parents met, my mother having been Barrack’s Secretary as he did his governmental Economist gig, together with a co-worker, who happened to be my Dad’s cousin, and my Dad had a tendency to drop by every now and then to say hi to the cousin, and much more so after he spotted a certain beauty, and the rest is of course history.
Interestingly, the video I was watching just the other day, the emotion filled Youtube Video “Tom Mboya Breathes his last”, in which my Mum’s bigger brother momentarily featured, then a key cabinet member in the Jomo Kenyatta regime, in just about as tense a day as there ever would be during Kenyatta’s rule, in light of that shocking event…
One very distinguishing feature of the generation that currently is of those in their 70s and above in age, and that has almost been entirely forgotten about in time, was the sheer scope of responsibilities they had at relatively very tender ages, in shaping the Kenya we know today.
Their parents hadn’t gotten much of a chance to have too great an impact, due to being predominantly locked out of the education system by the colonial regime, but their younger ones ended up as the pall bearers that ushered in Independent Kenya, with a government consisting of not so few in their 30s, instantaneously charged with jolting the young independent country to life as we know it today!! Tom Mboya himself was almost 39 at his death, despite having seemingly lived the equivalent of perhaps 3 generations, all encapsulated in 1!
The difficulties to be overcome by that generation were great, and especially in light of racism, “and replaced by tribalism”, as one might facetiously quip, as Obama Senior’s file precariously alludes to:
The Racism back then was real. My Dad was among the first 3 black teachers at Duke Of York School in Maths and Physics, known as “Lenana School” today, during the era of the Principal Kamunge, who was the first African charged with that responsibility, and their first few years were very rough!!
Almost an emphatic confirmation of the same, more than a decade later, my Dad would complete his PhD. In Illinois, about 10 months following my birth, and despite having been allowed as an “Assistant Professor”, he was blatantly denied the “Full Professor”(don’t remember the precise term they used), as would be the normal case once PhD was completed, as the whites in those institutions could barely stomach the notion of “Black Professors”, much less “of African extraction”, and as such, he ended up somewhere in Lagos, and eventually Kenya. Racism as it was, and still latently lingers on, is not a figment of distant imagination!!