The newspaper’s epic journey started in Mombasa in 1902 when an ambitious Indian contractor working on the Kenya-Uganda Railway line, Alibhai Mulla Jevanjee, took a bold step to fill the information void in East and Central Africa. He installed a rudimentary printing press and engaged a British journalist— W.H. Tiller — to help start what was to be the first newspaper in the region. On November 15, 1902, the first copy of the African Standard, a single sheet printed on black and white, rolled off the press. It has sustained a bold and focused journey over the decades with a crisp coverage of every historical moment in Kenya and the region.
The paper made its first milestone when the publishers charted a train to relocate the printing press to Nairobi as political and economic interests shifted from Mombasa to Kenya’s current capital city some 500 kilometres north.
It is The Standard that has provided the most complete record of Kenya’s history from the first and second World Wars that planted the seed for the fight for freedom, to the Mau Mau days and the push for self-governance to Independence, the nascent post-Independence days through the regimes of Presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
The Standardcovered Kenya’s first major international guest in 1905 when Queen Victoria’s son — the Duke of Connaught — came visiting.
When the colonial government held the first Agricultural show in the country in 1904, only The Standard was there to record the historic event.
Indeed The Standard Library reflects the rich history of East Africa’s journey from virgin land to present day development.
The Standard’s incisive reportage of World War I and World War II in 1918 and 1945 endeared it to both Kenyans and the colonialists. Kenyans whose relatives were enlisted into the armies fighting the wars relied on The Standard for updates from the battlefield.