Although Olympic Primary School is situated in Kibra, home of Kenya’s biggest slum, its stellar academic accomplishments saw children of the high and mighty attend in equal measure.
But the academic sheen faded with the introduction of Free Primary Education (FPE) in 2003, when more than 5,000 turned up to enrol at the school.
Olympic was established with the help of the British government in 1980 and named after Olympic estate where it is located.
Then British minister of finance, Gordon Brown, who later became the UK’s prime minister, visited Olympic in 2003 to witness the effects of universal primary education - one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. Money from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFiD) was used to fund FPE.
Today, the school, dubbed “a little oasis of hope behind some iron gates” by the British press, is an academic shadow of its former self.
But former students have fond memories of Mrs Omuoyo ‘Tena,’ so nicknamed for her tendency to tell students to sema tena, and Mrs Namulanda, the CRE teacher.
School folklore has it that one day, Mrs Ng’ang’a, the no-nonsense headteacher, once told students to pull up their socks during a school assembly.
The standard one up to three pupils innocently bent and literally pulled up their socks!
The sight had the entire school struggling to hold back laughter.
Notable ‘Olympians’ guided by the motto ‘endevour to excel’ include Kibra MP Ken Okoth, events organiser Fakii Liwali, architect Eric Miseda, thespian and radio presenter Larry Asego and his rugby star brother, Lavin Asego.