Unknown to many, Edna Clarke was Jomo Kenyatta’s second wife after Grace Wahu.
They met during his visit to England.
Who was she? And how did these two come to be an item?
Join me as I uncover Edna Clarke’s biography, revealing the untold details of her life alongside Jomo Kenyatta as his second wife.
Let’s begin with some quick facts about Edna Clarke.
|Edna Clarke’s Biography
|Edna Grace Clarke
|Date of birth
|19th November 1909
|Country of birth
|Mother, Isabella Clarke; Father, N/A
|Peter Magana Kenyatta
|Date of death
|1995 (aged 86)
Little is known about Edna Grace Clarke. In fact, the only available historical information about her pertains to the period after she met Jomo Kenyatta.
Nonetheless, here is what we know about Edna Clarke…
How Fate Saw Kenyatta Meet Edna
To understand how the pair crossed paths, we need to take a step back and look at Kenyatta’s time in England and why he was there.
Kenyatta first traveled to England in 1929. His goal was to air his community’s grievances to the British government.
Since their arrival in Kenya, the missionaries had made it impossible for the Kikuyu community to continue their cultural practices, considering that they wanted them to completely abandon their customs and fully uphold Christian practices.
His visit had been funded by Indian merchants, who after his failed attempts to see the British officials, refused to continue funding him. He briefly moved back to Kenya in September of 1930.
The Kikuyu Central Association later that year and early in the following year raised him enough money to go back to England to represent them, and on May 22, 1931, he traveled back to the UK. This visit would last for 15 years.
During his stay, he would take on odd tasks just to afford his basic needs while making attempts to get an appointment at the Colonial Office.
None of those attempts bore any fruits. In 1932, he was able to win one battle, compensation for those evicted from their land.
In 1933, he moved to Cambridge Street, Pimlico, where he got the attention of the MI5 security agency.
Later, in 1936, he started studying social anthropology, where again he drew the attention of his trainer.
It was at this point that he wrote his book, Facing Mount Kenya, published in 1938.
Through writing his book, he gathered enough credentials such that the Colonial Office was willing to hear him out. Finally, he was an equal in terms of education.
Using his book he, shared his people’s history and aired their grievances. Having achieved his goal, he was all set to the return home.
But World War II broke out, which automatically delayed his return.
At this time, he was living in London, the central target of the German forces.
He had made friends with Dinah Stock, secretary of the BCAI, who urged him to relocate upstate where it was safer.
And so they both moved to Storrington, West Sussex.
Roy Armstrong, their host, was renting out the top floor of his house.
The landscape, farmland, the view, all reminded Kenyatta of his homeland, and so he set out to stay here till the war ended.
While in Sussex, Kenyatta cultivated vegetables on the farm and even kept chicken.
Shortly after moving here, he secured a job as a farm worker in Ashington.
He made friends with a nice family living at the Mill House, Mill Lane.
Edna was working for the family as a governess, looking after their children.
Edna and Kenyatta first met at a local tennis bar in Sussex.
This chance meeting was cemented by Kenyatta’s frequent visits to the Mill House during his lunch breaks.
Tragedy Brings Edna Close to Kenyatta
During this period, the World War was still in play.
The Blitz (lightning war) was really heated, with German Air Force randomly bombing British cities and towns.
These raids carried on from September 7, 1941, to May 1941.
Unfortunately, in May 1941, London was hit by a big air raid that claimed the lives of Edna’s parents.
Since they were already acquainted, Kenyatta did all he could to be there for the poor governess, offering sympathy and a shoulder to cry on.
This made them get really close, and they started their love affair.
Starting a Family Together
A year after her parents died, Edna married Kenyatta in May 1942 at the Registry Office in Sussex.
Their son, Peter Magana Kenyatta, was born on August 11, 1943, at the Worthing Hospital.
Edna’s Marriage Hits a Block
The only thing keeping Kenyatta from returning home soon enough was over, the end of World War II, was finally here.
By September 5, 1946, Kenyatta had set his affairs in order and made his mind up about returning back home.
And so he left his young wife and son behind.
Knowing his love and commitment to his people, Edna was certain that that would be the last she saw of her husband.
And being white, a race that was only viewed as enemies by Kikuyu Community at the time, Kenyatta was fully aware that bringing his family with him would only put them in danger.
So, with a heavy heart, he moved back to Kenya.
He however tried to stay in communication with Edna via letter writing, but she never responded.
Edna raised her son and never remarried. Magana went on to achieve greatness for himself.
Though he maintains a low profile, he worked at BBC as a presenter and later producer. He is currently retired.
It is reported that once he took on leadership of the country, Jomo Kenyatta tried to persuade his son to move to Kenya and take on a role in the government.
However, Magana chose to stay back in UK with his mother.
Magana is married, with three kids. Their identities and that of his wife are unknown.
Edna Clarke’s Death
Edna passed away in 1995 at the age of 86. Her cause of death is not known either.
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