Kamau Wa Ngengi was born to Ngengi Wa Muigai and Wambui in Gatundu village in the early to mid 1890's. So how did he come to be known as Mzee Jomo Kenyatta?
In 1914 , Kamau was baptized a christian and adapted the name John Peter and later, Johnstone. In the years to come he changed his name permanently to Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenyatta began his political career as an activist for the KCA, The Kikuyu Central Association, who sent him to London to lobby for their Kikuyu tribal land affairs. He went on to attend the Woodbrooke Quaker College and the University College of London. He also studied economics in Moscow's Comintern School.
Upon his return to Kenya in 1946, he lectured at the Kenya Teacher's College in Githunguri . It was during this time when he was elected as president of the KAU or the Kenya African Union.
Kenyatta began to campaign for independence and for the return of Kenyan land from the British colonialists. He was arrested by the British Government and charged for engaging in the Mau Mau rebellion. He was a part of the Kapenguria Six namely: Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, Kung'u Murumba, Bildad Kaggia & Achien'g Oneko who were also tried & imprisoned in Lodwar, Northern Kenya.
Jomo Kenyatta served as Kenya's Prime Minister between 1963- 1964 and was inaugurated as Kenya's first president on June 1st 1964.
On August 22nd 1978, President Jomo Kenyatta passed on. He was said to have been well into his 80's.
He was survived by his wife Mama Ngina Kenyatta and eight children.
His son, Uhuru Kenyatta and niece Beth Mugo are in active politics. Uhuru is currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court after his alleged involvement in the post election violence in 2007.
Beth Mugo is an MP and the minister of public health.
Kenya's biggest international airport, two universities, highways, the country's main referral hospital, markets, housing estates, various streets are some of the landmarks named after Jomo Kenyatta . In addition to this, his family has major business interests in the country and is reputed to be one of the wealthiest families in Kenya.
Until 2010 Kenya observed 20th October as, "Kenyatta Day" in his honour. It was however abolished and renamed "Mashujaa", Heroes day in recognition of all the freedom fighters/veterans.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta is remembered for his eloquent speeches, authoritarian style of leadership and for running a fairly stable economy. There are some people who claim that the Kenyatta era was by far the most economically stable time in Kenyan history.
He was however accused of nepotism, consolidating executive power and for setting a poor example for the future Kenyan leadership.
Here's what a few young Kenyans had to say about the Late President:
Chris Honorable Mugo "I hear he was a good economic manager and a good politician. A combination of Moi and Kibaki".
Chege Medley "His boldness to the colonialists."
Ngatia J. Bryan "All the large tracts of land he took while millions of Kenyans will forever be squatters and freedom fighters die poor."