History Makers

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls-A Challenge to Africa’s Rich

OPRAH WINFREY SCHOOL

OPRAH WINFREY LEADERSHIP ACADEMY FOR GIRLS

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa is a female boarding school founded in January 2007 and located in Henley on Klip near Meyerton, south of JohannesburgSouth Africa. The academy was founded by the African-American Talk-Show billionaire, Oprah Winfrey with the goal of is to mentor academically talented and disadvantaged girls and provide them with opportunities to make a difference in the world. Although people believe that the whooping US$40 billion spent on the facility would have benefitted a far greater number of students if less emphasis was put on the surroundings, Oprah had responded that the best way to effect long term change is to give children exposure and opportunity and nurture them to understand their own power and possibility.

Well done Oprah.  It is easy to criticize but how many rich Africans have been able to do a little bit of what you did? Can you imagine how far African youths would have gone if our rich will think beyond themselves and do something that will lift others from poverty, shame, reproach and mediocrity like Oprah has done? This is a challenge that must be taken if we must move forward in Africa.

Jomoh Kenyatta (A history maker)

KENYATTA

He is best known as the first leader of a unified, independent Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta brought stability and economic growth to the former British colony.

Jomo Kenyatta, original name Kamau Ngengi ,  (born c.1894, Ichaweri, British East Africa (Kenya) —died August 22, 1978, Mombasa, Kenya), African statesman and nationalist, the first prime minister (1963–64) and then the first president (1964–78) of independent Kenya.

Kenyatta was born as Kamau, son of Ngengi, at Ichaweri, southwest of Mount Kenya in the East African highlands. His father was a leader of a small Kikuyu agricultural settlement. His route to the presidency is a very inspiring one that can briefly make us understand that God is the master planner of your ourselves and nothing can stop his plan to be fullfiled in our lives, not even poverty. Here goes his journey:

He came in contact with the Europeans at about age 10, when he became seriously ill with jigger infections in his feet and one leg, and he underwent successful surgery at a newly established Church of Scotland mission. Fascinated with what he had seen during his recuperation, Kamau ran away from home to become a resident pupil at the mission. He studied the Bible, English, mathematics, and carpentry and paid his fees by working as a houseboy and cook for a European settler.

In august 1914 he was baptized and given the name Johnstone Kamau. Kamau later on left Kikuya for urban attractions of Nairobi. There secure a job as a clerk in the Public Works Department, and he also adopted the name Kenyatta, the Kikuyu term for a fancy belt that he wore and Jomo (“burning spear“).

After serving briefly as an interpreter in the High Court, Kenyatta transferred to a post with the Nairobi Town Council. He began a newspaper and protest movement that spent decades demanding an independent Kenya. The paper called Mwigithania (“He Who Brings Together”), was mild in tone, preaching self-improvement, and was tolerated by the government.

Later when a British commission recommended a closer union of the three East African territories (Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika).The Kikuyu Central Association(KCA) of which Keyetta was the secretary General was not pleased with this decision. In February 1929 Kenyatta went to London to testify against the scheme, but in London the secretary of state for colonies refused to meet with him.

Kenyatta wrote an eloquent letter in The Times of London setting out five issues championed by the KCA:

(1)security of land tenure and the return of lands allotted to European settlers,

(2)increased educational facilities,

(3)repeal of hut taxes on women, which forced some to earn money by prostitution,

(4)African representation in the Legislative Council, and

(5)noninterference with traditional customs.

He concluded by saying that the lack of these measures “must inevitably result in a dangerous explosion—the one thing all sane men wish to avoid.” His points against this union were rejected. Kenyatta did manage to testify on behalf of Kikuyu land claims in 1932 at hearings of the Carter Land Commission. The commission decided to offer compensation for some appropriated territories  but maintained the “white highlands” policy, which restricted the Kikuyu to overcrowded reserves.

Kenyatta traveled to Soviet Union for studies at the Moscow State University (2years)and in England, he studied anthropology under Bronisław Malinowski at the London School of Economics. His thesis was revised and published in 1938 as Facing Mount Kenya, a study of the traditional life of the Kikuyu characterized by both insight and a tinge of romanticism.

On his returned He take up leadership of the newly formed Kenya African Union, of which he was elected president in June 1947. The dangerous explosion which he had earlier predicted erupted among the Kikuyu erupted as the Mau Mau rebellion of 1952, which was directed against the presence of European settlers in Kenya and their ownership of land. Kenyatta was arrested and sentence for 7 years imprisonment on charges of having directed the Mau Mau movement which he refused.  Kenyatta was released in August 1961, and, at the London Conference early in 1962, he negotiated the constitutional terms leading to Kenya’s independence.

He became the first president of kenya and stenghten the constitutions and consistently appointed members of different ethnic groups to his government, though he relied most heavily on his fellow Kikuyu. Kenya enjoy remarkable stability and rapid economic growth during his leadership.

 In foreign policy, Kenyatta’s government was consistently friendly toward the West. Always—in spite of his imprisonment by the British authorities. He died in Mombassa in 1978, and was succeeded by Daniel Arap Moi.

Some of the lessons we can learn from his story are numerous, he was the principal fighter behind Kenya’s independence, he fought for the freedom of the people, He  launched the first indigenous paper to voice his people’s demands; He initiated love for Kenyah culture and heritage; He was imprisonned as Nelson Mandela, Thomas Sankara, Matin Luther King Jr, the Apostle Paul yet that didn’t stop him to go ahead and save the people.

You can drop your comment below, let’s communicate together.

2 thoughts on “History Makers

  1. Pingback: History Makers – Jomoh Kenyatta | YOUNG INITIATIVE for AFRICA (Shine The Light!)

  2. Pingback: Food For Thought | YOUNG INITIATIVE for AFRICA (Shine The Light!)

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