By AMOS KAREITHI
The path leading from the headland into the Indian Ocean is undoubtedly the oldest in Kenya, although it has been reduced into a narrow prison-like tunnel by the sands of time.
The echoes of the footfalls of the giants who created this path have long gone silent, just as the palm trees that once lined its sides, freely swaying with the breeze.
The few remaining trees are now embedded inside the irregular concrete high walls that make them as conspicuous as the fortified gates of the villas parading along the rugged route.
It is unbelievable that for 500 years, this footpath now meandering through an equally narrow gate where two donkey carts cannot fit leads to the monument that is one of Kenyaâs oldest heritages.
And as the tunnel opens, allowing the visitor a glimpse of the violent blue waters furiously beating at the coral beach, only then can one access the ancient pillar that comes with memories of 500 years.
Reminder of years gone by
It is a throw back into an epoch when Europeans had not yet ventured into the East Coast of Africa and long before Africa was shared out by the super powers like a piece of cassava in Berlin in 1884.
The tunnel too is a repository of a not too distant past when a new breed of Europeans and their local lackeys descended and appropriated every available space along the beach, completely blocking the view.
Remnants of concrete walls tell a tale of an era when stone walls were erected by the private developers three decades ago right up to the waters of the Indian Ocean, making it accessible only through the heavily manned gates of the resorts established by the investors.
The Vasco Da Gama pillar, for that is the monuments name, serves as a reminder of years gone by when a rugged fleet of ship from Lisbon, Portugal docked at Malindi on April 13, 1498, which had just been chased away from Mombasa. With prospects of misery and death looming large that Easter holiday, the sailors under the captainship of Vasco Da Gama, sailed to Malindi.
The fatigued occupants of the ship had just narrowly escaped death plotted by their hosts in Mombasa when a gang of locals attempted to board their vessels at night and sink them.