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Footsteps

Jasmer Singh (1930-2016)

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Jasmer Singh, the Father of Kenyan cricket, passed away on Wednesday 21 September, 2016 at the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi. He was born in 1930 in Nairobi’s Park Road where with a dustbin for a wicket, a piece of wood for a bat and a tennis ball, the kids would try and emulate heroes such as Don Bradman and Gary Sobers.

Dennis Akumu (1934-2016)

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Dennis Akumu passed away on Wednesday, 17 August, 2016 in the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi after ailing for over 10 years with a failed kidney condition.

In the history of Kenya’s trade union movement which was founded by Makhan Singh, the name of Dennis Akumu shines brightly. In 1959, as the anti-colonial struggle gained momentum the East African Trade Union Congress, with Fred Kubai as its chairman and Makhan Singh as its general secretary, was banned by the British colonialists, and its leaders either detained or imprisoned. It was not until 1953 that an umbrella workers’ organization was once again registered, this time under the leadership of Tom Mboya.

Edward G Gitau (1930-2016)

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Edward G Gitau is synonymous to ‘Juha Kalulu’, a comic strip comprising of Juha Kalulu, his wife Seera and their dog Taska.

Having been inspired by an episode of Mickey Mouse, Gitau got into cartooning. A high illiteracy rate among the native Kenyan population back in 1951 meant that he had to use a different language – rather than English - in his comic strip so as to reach out to Native Kenyans.

Adam Hussein Adam (1934-2016)

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

This month, the Makonde people – who were brought to Kenya in the 1940s to work in sisal plantations at the coast – trekked from Kwale to Nairobi and accomplished a long-awaited victory. After an audience with the president, they were promised the documents of citizenship, and they received a national apology for their stateless status over the last number of decades through the denial of ID cards.

The Makonde story is more than a story of triumph. It is also a story of how the colonial category of tribe has continued to enslave many Kenyans, over 50 years after independence. Being a member of an ethnic group outside the so-called 42 (now 43) ethnic groups recognized by the Kenyan state is a condemnation to modern day slavery. Without the all-important ID card, Kenyans cannot open a bank account, buy a sim-card, own property, access employment, or education and other social services.

‘Ode’ To Ali Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

By Benjamin Zephania

The planet has been visited by a force as sharp as lightning,

From Louisville, Kentucky he lit up the universe,

He said if you are not courageous you will accomplish nothing,

And you will remain oppressed, downtrodden slaves or worse,

The planet has been visited by an awesome, mighty power

Yes he floated like a butterfly and he stung like a bee

He had a hook that would explode and ruthlessly devour

Yet he was full of life and full of wicked poetry.