Lawrence Sagini was Kenya's first Minister for Education at independence in 1963. Photo: Courtesy.

The Ndemos are a prominent family in Gesonso, Kisii, largely due to the patriarch, Ndemo Kibagendi being the President of the African Tribunal Courts in Kisii, and his father before him being a teacher, community elder, leader and judge of the traditional courts.

Ndemo Kibagendi had five wives, including Esther Ndemo, a Seventh Day Adventist deaconess who later converted to Roman Catholicism, alongside other Ndemo brood who went on to become prominent members of the society. Kibagendi valued education and his family often met children halfway from school with food and uji as he was convinced “we must learn a lot from the white man. He knows how to fly in the sky and cure diseases.”

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Hon Lawrence Sagini: Was Kenya’s first Minister for Education at independence in 1963. The alumnus of the then Kaba Mang’u High School didn’t use the name Ndemo since missionaries discouraged the use of family names.

The one-time teacher and headmaster proceeded to Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, USA and graduated with a degree in sociology and political science in 1959. The education officer also educated his siblings including Dr Salim Ndemo, Prof Francis Abuga Ndemo, Job Kibagendi and Dr Bitange Ndemo. A staunch Catholic, Sagini attended mass even when sick and for his contribution to church projects, has the Ria Sagini Chapel named after him, besides being ‘knighted’ by the Pope.

The first elected Kisii representative to the Legislative Council in 1961 later became MP for Kitutu West in 1963. He was awarded a posthumous doctorate by the University of Nairobi for his role in the development of education in Kenya in November 1995, four months after he died in a car accident. He was 69.

Prof Francis Abuga Ndemo: The expert on curriculum review is an associate professor of pharmacy at Hamilton University, USA.

Dr Salim Ndemo: This alumnus of Washington University was a commissioner of the Public Service for seven years until 2009. The one-time director of shipping and maritime affairs in the Transport ministry is the author of The Epitome of State Power: The Provincial Administration in Kenya, published in 2007.

Dr Salim Ndemo. Photo: Courtesy.

Prof Bitange Ndemo: Former PS in the Ministry of Information and Communications lectured on entrepreneurship and research methods at the University of Nairobi’s School of Business. The alumnus of Sheffield University, UK (PhD, Industrial Economics), University of St Thomas and University of Minnesota, USA (MBA and BA in finance and accounting) is also former Chair, Global Alliance for Affordable Internet.

Prof Bitange Ndemo. Photo: Courtesy.