Grace Wanjiku Kenyatta was one of Jomo Kenyatta’s four wives.
She was third in line, and he married her shortly after he got back to Kenya after his second stay in London.
She was the daughter of a well-known Kikuyu chief, who was on the forefront of Kikuyu freedom fighters.
In her years of marriage, she only bore Kenyatta one child, a daughter.
The following is Wanjiku’s biography.
|Grace Wanjiku’s Basic Facts
|Grace Wanjiku Koinange
|Kiambaa, in the then Kiambu District
|Year of Birth
|Jomo Kenyatta (1946 – 1951)
|Jane Makena Wambui Gecaga
Grace Wanjiku’s Background
Wanjiku was born into a huge family of 34 siblings.
Her father, Koinange wa Mbiyu, was a politician during the colonial era, serving as a headman, senior chief, and later an advisor on African affairs. He was married to six wives.
Amongst her many siblings are Charles Karuga Koinange, Noah Karuga Koinange, John Karuga Koinange, Fred Mbiyu Koinange, Isabella, who was one of Kenya’s first trained African nurses, and Lilian Wairimu.
It is reported that quite a number of her siblings died at birth, and others at a very tender age.
The Koinange Family Background
The Koinange family is well known in our country, for their history in politics and success. This is all credited to Wanjiku’s father.
In the Colonial era, he held a high position as chief, where he helped colonizers put an end to African freedom fighters’ movements while giving his home to the Mau Mau groups to host meetings at the same time.
He was what we would call a double agent. He was entrusted with state secrets, to the point he even restrained from sleeping with his wife just to make sure he doesn’t leak the information.
He was a political role model and many of his kids would follow in his footsteps later.
For instance, Wanjiku married one of the most powerful politicians of her days, who would later become the first prime minister and later president of Kenya.
Even though she didn’t live long enough to see that come to be, Kenyatta’s zeal in the fight for freedom was evident in his work and trips to Europe.
Being married to Jomo Kenyatta opened doors for her siblings. One of her brothers, Peter Mbiyu wa Koinange, was crowned a powerful Minister of State at the Office of the President.
He retained his position during the Kenyatta administration for 16 years, holding several other titles in his time, including Minister of External Affairs, Pan-African Affairs, and served as Minister of State for Education.
Her brother, Charles Karuga Koinange, also followed the family political career path, becoming a colonial chief just like their father in the 1950s.
He also served as a civil servant for more than three decades after Kenya attained its independence.
Wanjiku is the aunt to the TV guru, Jeff Koinange.
Wanjiku’s Marriage to Jomo Kenyatta
Kenyatta met Wanjiku after his return from London in 1946, where he had been for about 15 years.
They got married in the same year. Wanjiku was married to Kenyatta for less than 5 years.
Wanjiku’s Sudden Demise
Wanjiku died in 1951 during childbirth. Her child, Jane Wambui, survived and was adopted by the Kenyatta family.
Shortly after her death, Kenyatta married his fourth wife, famously known as Mama Ngina.
She played a huge part in nurturing and raising Wanjiku’s daughter.
Her Daughter, Jane Wambui Gecaga
Wambui Makena is a legendary athlete who participated in the 1968 Olympic Games, and created a legacy that women can participate in the male-dominated world of sports.
She is married to Udi Gecaga, chairman of Lonrho East Africa.
Wambui is a mother of three; Soiya, Jomo and Nana Gecaga, all who hold lucrative careers in Kenya.
Jomo has served in the government as the former President Uhuru’s Personal Secretary and as first officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.