Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the revered founding father of Kenya, left behind a legacy that extended beyond his political achievements.
Among his numerous children from his four marriages, Peter Magana Kenyatta stands as a notable figure in his own right.
Born as the third child of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Peter Magana Kenyatta inherited a rich heritage deeply intertwined with the history of Kenya.
In this blog post, I delve deeper into the captivating journey of Peter Magana Kenyatta’s life, exploring his background, career, personal life, and the heartwarming story of his reunion with his father.
Let us take a quick peek at his biography:
Magana’s Profile Summary
|Peter Magana Kenyatta
|Date of Birth
|August 11, 1943
|Place of Birth
|Worthing Hospital, Worthing, West Sessex
|Mother, Edna Grace Clarke; Father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta
|Peter Muigai Kenyatta, Margaret Wambui Kenyatta, Jane Makena Wambui, Kristina Wambui Pratt, Uhuru Kenyatta, Anna Nyokabi Muthama, Muhoho Kenyatta
|Three daughters, names unknown
|Presenter and producer
Peter Magana’s Background
Despite being born into a well-known family, Peter has managed to keep his face fairly hidden from the limelight.
His parents met during the Second World War in 1941. Kenyatta had traveled to the UK to demand land and religious rights for his people back home.
The war broke out before he made his way back, keeping him grounded in a foreign land.
At the time, Edna was working as a governess in West Sussex where Kenyatta had relocated to hiding from the ravages of war.
They started out as acquaintances, but when Edna’s parents suddenly died during an air raid in London, she was broken and shattered, only for Kenyatta to offer her a shoulder to cry on.
This brought them close, they started a relationship and got married on May 11, 1942.
Magana was born on August 11th, 1943 at the Worthing Hospital in West Sussex.
During this time, Edna had no idea that Kenyatta had already married Grace Wahu at a traditional wedding back home.
After four years of marriage, when Magana was only three years old, his father moved back to Kenya.
This rapid change was attributed to the end of World War II in 1945. Given the colonial conditions in Kenya at the time, Magana and his mother had to be left behind.
Before returning to Kenya, Kenyatta had promised to take care of Magana’s education by forwarding royalties he gained from his book, Facing Mount Kenya.
Records show that Kenyatta did not honor that promise, and so she relocated in search of better employment.
Learn more about Edna here: All About Edna Clarke, Jomo Kenyatta’s Second Wife
Magana Raised By a Single Mom
Magana had to grow up without his father.
In search of work, Edna was able to secure a teaching job at Pinewood boarding school, Hertfordshire, where the in-accommodation package allowed her to educate her son.
This is where Magana was raised.
Despite their separation and possible divorce, he was able to get to know his father perhaps from the endless letters to Edna.
Given that there is no record of Edna writing back to Kenyatta, it is safe to assume that Magana was not able to stay in touch with his father until his early adulthood years.
His mother, Edna Grace Clarke, died in 1995 at the age of 86.
Reuniting With His Father
After 17 years since his departure from UK, Kenyatta went back to London in October 1963 to attend the Kenya Constitutional Conference.
He took some time off to visit his old friends back in West Sussex.
But since Magana and his mother had already moved away, there is no mention of him trying to reconnect.
Magana made several trips to Kenya while his father was still alive.
For instance, he visited Kenya with his wife and children in 1971.
There are pictures of him greeting his father at JKIA, and later seen together at the State House.
In 1973, Magana together with his family spent some time at the Kenyatta family home, in Ichaweri, Gatundu South.
When Mzee Jomo Kenyatta passed away in 1978, Magana was among those in attendance, as seen seated next to his half-siblings.
He also attended the memorial that followed in 1979.
Magana is a married man, with three daughters and an unknown number of grandchildren.
Their names have been kept away from the public, with only photos of them being those of his visits in Kenya.
His daughters and grandchildren are said to visit Kenya frequently, especially during family gatherings, but Magana himself has not visited since Kenyatta’s memorial in 1979.
This means he hasn’t been present for most of Kenyatta’s family occasions, including the burials of two of his siblings, his half-mother Grace Wahu, and nephew Mbugua Mwangi.
He also missed Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential inauguration ceremony back in 2013.
Magana worked at BBC London before retiring. His roles included presenter and later producer.
During his visits to Kenya, Kenyatta asked his son to consider a career in politics, offering him a high position in his government.
He repeatedly turned his father down and chose to continue with his career back in the UK.
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