Mboya,Thomas Odhiambo Joseph

First name/s: Thomas Odhiambo Joseph
Last name: Mboya
Known names / nicknames: Tom
Date of birth: 15/08/1930
Year of birth: 1930

Life before Ruskin

Date and place of birth 15 August 1930  Kilima Mbogo, Kenya

Family Parents: Leonard and Marcella Ndiege, overseer on a sisal plantation. Educated at Catholic Secondary School, Nyanza Province. Holy Ghost College. Completed Cambridge School Certificate.
Work Sanitary Inspector, qualified 1950.
Politics/Trade union activity African Staff Association, which, as President, Mboya helped transform into Kenya Local Government Workers Union (1952); Kenya Federation of Labour (Secretary-General, 1953)

Trade Union membership (at time of entry to Ruskin) ~ other Trade Union

Life at Ruskin

Dates at Ruskin 1955-56
Source of funding ( British) TUC, and Kenya government (Goldsworthy)
Campaigns/political activity According to Goldsworthy, below, joined Labour Club and Socialist Club. Connections with Labour Party, Fabian society and Movement for Colonial Freedom

Subjects studied at Ruskin Industrial Management (but see Goldsworthy’s comments below, on the range of Mboya’s studies.)
Qualification None

Life after Ruskin

Education None
Work Politics
Politics/trade union activity Member, Kenya Legislative Council (under British rule). Founder, People’s Congress Party (1957). Chairman, All-Africa People’s Conference, Ghana (1958). Kenya African National Union (1960), Secretary-General. Head of Kenya Delegation to Lancaster House Conferences, pre-independence (1960-63). MP for Nairobi Central in first Kenyan Parliament (1963). Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, then Minister for Economic Planning and Development.
FamilyMarried Pamela Odede, 1962. 5 children.
Place & date of death Assassinated 5th July 1969, outside a pharmacy in Government Road, Nairobi. Buried in mausoleum, Rusinga Island

Date of death: 05/07/1969
Year of death: 1969

Achievements / Publications

Co-founder 1959 of African-American Students Foundation (AASF), which raised money to subsidise the cost of flights for East African students studying in America (230 beneficiaries including Barack Obama, Sr).

Publications include: Freedom and After Boston, Little, Brown 1963

The Challenge of Nationhood: speeches and writings, London, André Deutsch 1970

Material in archives or already published articles

D. Goldsworthy Tom Mboya: the man Kenya wanted to forget. Heinemann, Nairobi 1982“Ruskin College knew very well it was receiving a most unusual student. Just after his arrival, Marjorie Nicholson *wrote to the college’s principal requesting a private talk about Mboya. ‘He is in such a different position from the average Ruskin student – or even others from the Colonies – that he may be faced with problems that don’t arise for them’ Mboya was already the general secretary of a national trade union federation, and was to some extent a celebrity. He differed from most other students, too, in that he would not be studying for any kind of degree or diploma. Thus the principal, H.D. ‘Bill’ [sic] Hughes realised from the outset that Mboya would have to be run on a very loose rein. What he got out of Oxford would be up to Mboya himself.”

Note that Goldsworthy gives as his source for his quotation ‘Ruskin files’.

* Marjorie Nicholson was an extra-mural tutor with Ruskin College. She later worked for the International Department of the TUC which had been famous for its anti-communism



Notes on Image/s

Cover portrait on Time magazine http://www.child-sponsorship.com/kenya/tom_mboya.jpg

Comment of contributor/s and sources

The issue of Mboya’s closeness to US policy interests in Africa has often been raised and is discussed in Gerald Horne Mau Mau in Harlem: the US and the Liberation of Kenya. New York Palgrave 2009.

See also Goldsworthy


Ken Jones

created 26/10/2013 at 1:50 pm, updated 14/11/2013 at 7:10 pm

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