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Margaret Wambui Kenyatta- Kenyatta’s family first daughter



 Margaret Kenyatta [C] sworn in as mayor of Nairobi AUG 1972

Margaret Wambui Kenyatta was born on 16th February 1928 at Pumwani Maternity Hospital to then Kikuyu Central Association Secretary General Jomo Kenyatta and his first wife Grace Wahu. At the time of her birth, her father was an active politician who was constantly out of the country and therefore Margaret's younger life was spent around her mother and older brother Peter Muigai.

Margaret and her family lived in Gichungo near the Dagoretti Children's Centre. Margaret was a bright and inquisitive child who got to understand the colonial injustices at a young age.

Despite being a brilliant child however, she did not get to go to school until she was ten years old when she joined Ruthimitu Primary School and later on joined the Church of Scotland Mission School in Thogoto.

On passing her primary school final exams , Margaret now posed a great challenge to her teachers. There were no high schools for African girls at the time. As destiny would have it Margaret was admitted to the Alliance High School (now Alliance Boys High School). She was given an unique admission number 1000 to distinguish her as the first girl admitted to the school.

Upon clearing her high school studies in 1949 Margaret went on to take a teaching post at the Kenya Teacher's Training College in Githunguri, where she taught without earning a salary. She taught for three years until the college was closed down in 1952 after the state of emergency was declared.

Her father was arrested during the state of emergency and Margaret took over the responsibility of providing for her mother while her father and brother were in detention. Living in Kariokor Estate Nairobi in House Number 27, Margaret searched for employment and landed several jobs as a telephone operator for East Africa Bata Shoe Company, a junior accounts clerk and a book binder working for Mr. Ambu H. Patel. They say 'the apple never falls far from the tree'. True to this Margaret was influenced by her father and became involved in politics as soon as her father was released from detention in 1961. A passionate advocate of women's rights, Margaret was chairlady of the Kenya Women Seminar and was actively involved in Maendeleo ya Wanawake and the Young Women's Christian Association. Her active advocacy of women rights earned her the order of the Queen of Sheba awarded by Emperor Haile Selassie.

Her political career went to full gear when she was elected councilor for Dagoretti Ward in 1963 serving for four terms. She was chairlady of the Pumwani Maternity Hospital sub-committee during the reconstruction of the hospital and served as chairwoman of the Public Health Committee.

Margaret was elected deputy governor for Nairobi in 1969 then rose to become the first African woman to become the mayor of Kenya's capital city a post she held for two terms (1970-1976). During her tenure as mayor Margaret convinced the Austrian President to open the SOS children's homes in Kenya.

In 1976 Margaret was appointed Kenya's Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN Habitat. She also served as commissioner in the Electoral Commission of Kenya from 1992-2002. After her tenure at the electoral body Margaret quietly left the public life. A woman of many accomplishments, Margaret was a member of the Green Belt Movement, the Kenya Girl Guide Association and sat in several boards such as the board of the Kiambu Institute of Technology and Kenya High School. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Starehe Girls Centre. On April 5, 2017, while in the comfort of her home, Margaret Wambui Kenyatta passed on, leaving behind a legacy of great accomplishments. Half-sister to the current president of Kenya and mother to the late Justice Patrick John Kamau, Margaret indeed lived a full life.

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