Saturday, April 8, 2017

KENYA | Olga Marlin with Mboya Family (Updated Apr 10, 2017)

At birthday party (photo says 1975) with Alphonse, brother of Luo Leader
Tom Mboya (1930-1969) and Tom's widow Pamela and children, behind
whom is Olga. (Another Luo leader's son was U.S. President, 2009-2016.)

Tom Mboya was a fervent apostle for Kenya's freedom, following Jomo Kenyatta. However, Mboya sought to achieve independence without violence, and did not join in the Mau Mau uprisings against the British. Mboya led Kenya's second-largest tribe, the Luo, which included many Catholics and Anglicans and some Muslims like Barack Obama's father.

When Pamela Odede was engaged to be married to Tom Mboya, she attended classes at the Kianda cooking school. A graduate of Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio (now part of Miami University in Oxford) — also attended by Donna Shalala who now heads the Clinton Foundation — she decided to convert from the Anglican faith to her husband's Catholic faith. She came to several classes in Catholic doctrine with Olga Marlin.

Olga and Pamela became friends and the Mboya children called her "Auntie Olga".

JFK and Tom Mboya, assassinated six years
apart. JFK was 46 in 1963, Mboya 38 in 1969.
In her memoir, To Africa with a Dream, Olga writes about getting to know Tom Mboya. He told her several stories of how he was treated during pre-independence days (pp. 124-125, 2nd edition).

Prior to independence, Mboya worked on major documents for a future independent Kenya, including its constitution.

He also pleaded eloquently for a Marshall Plan for Africa and was appointed Minister of Economic Planning and Development in the first coalition government led by Mzee Kenyatta.

On July 5, 1969, a quiet Saturday afternoon, Mboya, was shopping downtown. He stepped into Chhani's Pharmacy to buy a bottle of lotion. When he came out, an assassin opened fire, escaping in the ensuing confusion.

Mboya was struck in the chest. Blood soaked his suede jacket. He died in an ambulance on the way to Nairobi Hospital.

Grieving Kenyans soon gathered in such numbers at the hospital that police with batons were called out to keep the crowd under control with batons.

In her memoir, Olga vividly describes how Tom Mboya's death affected her (pp. 160-162, 2nd edition).

Only 38, the handsome, articulate Tom Mboya embodied many of the qualities so urgently needed by the fledgling nations of black Africa. He saw beyond his tribe to Kenya's detribalizing urban classes. He made them his constituency. His loss was a big blow to Kenya.

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