In this Post, I have shared some of the most memorable Jomo Kenyatta quotes.
Jomo Kenyatta was born in 1897 and died on August 22, 1978. He was a Kenyan anti-colonialist activist and politician who served as Kenya‘s Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964, and then as the country’s first President from 1964 until his death in 1978.
Kenyatta was the country’s first native head of government and was instrumental in transforming Kenya from a British Empire colony to an independent republic.
During his presidency, he was accorded the honorary title of Mzee and hailed as the Father of the Nation, with his message of reconciliation gaining support from both the black majority and the white minority. His leadership, on the other hand, was criticized as dictatorial, authoritarian, and neocolonial, for favoring the Kikuyu over other ethnic groups, and for fostering the emergence of rampant corruption.
Faces of Africa – Jomo Kenyatta : The Founding Father of Kenya (Video embedded from YouTube)
15 Jomo Kenyatta Quotes
Here are the ten most powerful and memorable Jomo Kenyatta quotes.
- “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”
2. “You and I must work together to develop our country, to get education for our children, to have doctors, to build roads, to improve or provide all day-to-day essentials.”
3. “We do not want to oust the Europeans from this country. But what we demand is to be treated like the white races. If we are to live here in peace and happiness, racial discrimination must be abolished.”
4. “Don’t be fooled into turning to Communism looking for food.”
5. “Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future.”
6. “They speak as if it was some how beneficial to an African to work for them instead for himself and to make sure that he will receive this benefit they do their best to take away his land and leave him with no alternative. Along with his land they rob him of his government, condemn his religious ideas, and ignore his fundamental conceptions of justice and morals, all in the name of civilisation and progress.”
7. “God said this is our land, land in which we flourish as people… we want our cattle to get fat on our land so that our children grow up in prosperity; and we do not want the fat removed to feed others.”
8. “Many people may think that now there is Uhuru, now I can see the sun of Freedom shining, richness will pour down like manna from Heaven. I tell you there will be nothing from Heaven. We must all work hard, with our hands, to save ourselves from poverty, ignorance, and disease.”
9. “Europeans assume that, given the right knowledge and ideas, personal relations can be left largely to take care of themselves, and this is perhaps the most fundamental difference in outlook between Africans and Europeans.”
8. “It Africans were left in peace on their own lands, Europeans would have to offer them the benefits of white civilization in real earnest before they could obtain the African labour which they want so much. They would have to offer the African a way of life which was really superior to the one his fathers lived before, and a share in the prosperity given them by their command of science. They would have to let the African choose what parts of European culture could be beneficially transplanted, and how they could be adapted.”
9. “The Bible is not the property of one nation or of one group of people,”
10. “The African is conditioned, by cultural and social institutions of centuries, to a freedom of which Europe has little conception, and it is not in his nature to accept serfdom for ever.”
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11. “The basis of any independent government is a national language, and we can no longer continue aping our former colonizers … those who feel they cannot do without English can as well pack up and go.”
12. “Where there has been racial hatred, it must be ended. Where there has been tribal animosity, it will be finished. Let us not dwell upon the bitterness of the past. I would rather look to the future, to the good new Kenya, not to the bad old days. If we can create this sense of national direction and identity, we shall have gone a long way to solving our economic problems.”
13. “I have no intention of retaliating or looking backwards. We are going to forget the past and look forward to the future.”
14. “Today, we in Kenya are making our own history, as an independent Republic. In the dark years of the war, when this work was written, social studies might have seemed absurdly academic, were it not for the living faith of a Christian society. A generation later, we find a new perspective, a greater and more universal enlightenment, brought about by swifter communications and mass media which probe into and make familiar all the social patterns of our human family.”
”15 “To .. all the dispossessed youth of Africa: for perpetuation of communion with ancestral spirits through the fight for African freedom, and in the firm faith that the dead, the living, and the unborn will unite to rebuild the destroyed shrines.”
My favorite Jomo Kenyatta quotes are, “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.” and “The Bible is not the property of one nation or of one group of people.”