The Sad Ending of Lord Egerton.

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The story of Lord Egerton is a really sad one. Maurice Egerton (4 August 1874 – 30 January 1958) was the fourth Baron Egerton. He was a member of the Egerton family and was the only son of Alan de Tatton Egerton, 3rd Baron Egerton and his wife Lady Anna Louisa.

Maurice was known as an aviation and motor car enthusiast, a friend to the Wright brothers. He served as a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the First World War after which he was granted some land in Ngata area near Nakuru in Kenya under the Soldier Settlement Scheme.

He later purchased a further 21,000 acres around the same area from Lord Delamere. On this land, he founded a school in 1939 named Egerton Farm School (now Egerton University). The school was meant to prepare white European youth for careers in agriculture.

But the story starts when he build his second house for his bride to be. And on seeing the house she said, you have build a house for chickens. Taking it as a challenge he started building another house, this time bigger and better. Close to the Castles that rested in the Land of the then King George VI.

Lord Egerton Castle as its known now was build from from 1938 to 1954. It’s said that he imported most of the things that he used to build this important castle. The castle has 52 rooms. Among them; dance hall with electric organ, dark chamber for developing photos, entrance hall, master bedrooms, study rooms and a wine cellar.

The story is later told that on seeing it, his bride to be said that was a house for the horse. And so she did not marry him and from that point its said the lord hated women and so he did chicken. Interestingly, the other culprit was the horse, and he went scort free. In those days I am sure he would not be able to farm….which was his passion without a horse. So it’s safe to say his hate was selfish.

So he never allowed Chicken and women in the compound where the stands. Maurice did not marry and on his death in 1958 the barony became extinct. Today the Castle still stands out, with most things vandalised. Its now the property of Egerton University.

I visited the Castle with my wife when we were celebrating our second year anniversary.  The gardens are really good for weddings and parties. And yes, women and chickens are now allowed to visit the Castle. The ghost of Egerton has rested.

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The inside of the Castle has not been maintained, especially the Bowl room, which if it is kept well can create a really nice experience for those who have never had one.  It’s also a pity that the management would allow something and pricy and eunique as the Organ to be vandalized. I wish more can be done on the inside.

I visited the Ethnographic Museum at the University of Addis Ababa, this was Emperor Haile Selassie’s house that he donated to host the university. It’s a wonderful museum and I wish the management of Lord Egerton Castle would do the same. 

The lady abandoned the house by calling it “chicken house” then the castle she called it “Horse House”. The Lord died and left it where it stood, its should not be abandoned again, it has had enough of it……and it needs justice.

 

Africa Cyber Security Summit 2014.

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The highly anticipated Africa Cyber Security and Forensic Summit that was scheduled for the 27th and 28th September did not happen. This is the first time in my event planning that I was not able to make un event happen.

Organizing events is not an easy job, I have seen events become successful and I have watched other crumbule. I have not been part of one that has crumbled until this week.

We started with a great plan, seeking the partnership of the Kenya Cyber Security and Forensics Association, with expectations that together we will be able to pull together a great event.

We also hired the services of a PR company with was to approach sponsors and raise money that would make the event happen. For  sometime we felt we were on schedule, and we would make it, but as the date approached it became clear that it will be difficult to have the event.

We have not had discussions with the organizing team to see the way forward. Some people are of thought that we should give a new date and keep planning, others think that we should call it a day, at least for this year and plan for another year 2019.

We will keep you updated on what happens, if we will have a new date or if we will plan for the event for 2019.

Amazing Love For Joomla.

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Last week marked the end of a long journey we have travelled to make sure that we put an event together. Organising an event in Nairobi is not easy. Its really difficult getting sponsors for IT event and maybe other events. I have had opportunities to be involved in a number of events, Joomla! Day Ke being one of them.

For four years now, iHub being both the main catalyst for regional tech acceleration and a role model for tech hubs across emerging markets has supported this event by sponsoring a venue for the Joomla User Group – Nairobi and JoomlaDay Event.

Founded in 2010, iHub is a globally recognized organization that is deeply steeped in the local tech innovation culture. We are happy to announce that iHub has been and is still home for JoomlaDay Kenya, and we hope that this will be a partnership that will benefit everyone.

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Joomla! is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) for publishing web content. Over the years Joomla! has won several awards.It is built on a model–view–controller web application framework that can be used independently of the CMS that allows you to build powerful online applications.

As of May 2018, Joomla! has been downloaded over 93 million times. Over 8,000 free and commercial extensions are available from the official Joomla! Extensions Directory, and more are available from other sources. It is estimated to be the second most used content management system on the Internet, after WordPress.

Open Source Matters has always supported Joomla Day Events, depending on the budget they have. JoomlaDay events are officially recognized, but not organized, by the Joomla! Project and Open Source Matters, Inc. Each event is managed independently by a local community.

The participation this year was as balanced as it could be, 50 attendees ranging from Joomla Community in Nairobi, Techies, bading techies and students.

But important to say that the support from Open Source Matters is always not enough to make an event happen, and so the need to bring in more sponsors becomes important.

This year Joomshaper came to our rescue.

JoomShaper is the home of beautifully crafted unique Joomla templates and highly functional extensions along with award winning drag and drop SP Page Builder for you to create your dream website in minutes.

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What was new during this Joomla Day? Apart from a wide range of topics being covered, Networking and discussions, we hosted our first ever Joomla Administrators Exams, the second in Africa.

The Joomla! Certification Program has been created to ensure the competence of Joomla! professionals through documented measurement of skills and knowledge. The program aims to establish a certain standard whilst promoting a qualified workforce.

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Professional certification can play an important role in the decision of a company or business owner when hiring skilled individuals for specific roles. Six people had given interest in doing the certification exam, but only one has the courage to actually do the exam.

We thank iHub for providing the room and dedicated internet to be able to have a successful certification exams. It took a lot of time to get everything ready, being the first time, Joel Mbugua, who was supervising the exam had some difficulty getting things started. This is understandable, but we have a good start.

One of our speakers from Italy couldn’t make it for the event, but he managed to send a video link of his presentation.

Our desire for the future is to push this event to a different city other that Nairobi…..to be able to grow the community.

I thank all the speakers, who have shared knowledge during this event. I thank the people who have worked on our social media campaign and all who worked on the background. What a wonderful team we had, and we hope that you all accept our sincere appreciation.

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We thank all our sponsors and partners, Host sponsors iHub, Open Source Matters, Joomshaper, CMS Africa, Kenic and Kenya Web Experts, whom without their support we would not have succeeded doing this event.

We value your genuine support and partnership.

A Successful JoomlaDay Kenya 2018.

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JoomlaDay event came and went. I would like to thank those who put in the time to volunteer, this includes the speakers. Last year our event did not have a good attendance, in our post event meeting, some of the things we overlocked were the timing of the event which affected the attendance, marketing and promotion.

We decided to start organization of this event in good time, early in the year. We also knew we will face challenges on funding. We started talking with people really early in the year and am happy to say it helped. We were really loud on social media, talking about the event, getting feedback and interacting with other joomlas.

I have said before, organizing an event is not easy, even a small event like JoomlaDay. But having a good team of volunteers really help. Having good partners too. For the first time we had our first Administrators certification Exam. Six people had expressed interest in doing the exam hours to the event. When the day came, only one of those was brave enough to sit for the exam.

It took a lot of time to get everything ready, being the first time, Joel who was supervising the exam had some difficulty getting things started. This is understandable, but we have a good start. One of our speakers from Italy couldn’t make it for the event, but he managed to send a video link of his presentation.

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Our desire for the future is to push this event to a different city other that Nairobi…..to be able to grow the community.

I thank all the speakers, who have shared knowledge during this event. I thank the people who have worked on our social media campaign and all who worked on the background. What a wonderful team we had, and we hope that you all accept our sincere appreciation.

We will be doing this again next year, hopefully in a different city. Check out our Joomla User Group page for more information about the jug meetings.

 

Thanking to Our Sponsors.

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This week will mark the end of a long journey we have travelled to make sure that we up an event together. Organising an event in Nairobi is not easy. Its really difficult getting sponsors for IT event and maybe other events. I have had opportunities to be involved in a number of events, Joomla! Day Ke being one of them.

Joomla! is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) for publishing web content. Over the years Joomla! has won several awards.It is built on a model–view–controller web application framework that can be used independently of the CMS that allows you to build powerful online applications.

As of May 2018, Joomla! has been downloaded over 93 million times. Over 8,000 free and commercial extensions are available from the official Joomla! Extensions Directory, and more are available from other sources. It is estimated to be the second most used content management system on the Internet, after WordPress.

Open Source Matters has always supported Joomla Day Events, depending on the budget they have. JoomlaDay events are officially recognized, but not organized, by the Joomla! Project and Open Source Matters, Inc. Each event is managed independently by a local community.

But important to say that the support from Open Source Matters is always not enough to make an event happen, and so the need to bring in more sponsors becomes important. This year Joomshaper came to our rescue.

JoomShaper is the home of beautifully crafted unique Joomla templates and highly functional extensions along with award winning drag and drop SP Page Builder for you to create your dream website in minutes.

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We would like to thank Joomshaper for supporting this event, and we hope that they will continue to partner with us in the future.

What’s new during this Joomla Day? Apart from a wide range of topics being covered, we will also be carrying out the Joomla Administrators Exams.

The Joomla! Certification Program has been created to ensure the competence of Joomla! professionals through documented measurement of skills and knowledge. The program aims to establish a certain standard whilst promoting a qualified workforce.

Professional certification can play an important role in the decision of a company or business owner when hiring skilled individuals for specific roles.

We welcome you to come and learn, interact and network with tech enthusiast and professional during this event.

For more information please visit http://www.joomladay.or.ke

 

 

 

The 11 Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela.

Lalibela’s 11 churches are carved out of a hillside, which is made of soft reddish volcanic rock. The churches can be divided into two complexes—a northern and a southeastern complex—that are connected through a series of carved passageways and naturally occurring wadis.

Six churches are featured in the northern complex and four in the southeastern complex. The 11th church—Beta Giyorgis (Church of St. George)—stands alone and is not part of either interconnecting complex.

The northern complex is composed of 6 churches.

Beta Madhane Alem (Church of the Savior of the World)

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Beta Maryam (Church of Mary)

 

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Its two weeks of fasting and churches here were very buy with worshipers coming to pray.

Beta Masqal (Church of the Cross)

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Beta Danagel (Church of the Virgins)

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This is the only church that we couldn’t enter, it is being renovated.

Beta Mika’el (Church of Michael)

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Beta Golgotha (Church of Golgotha)

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The southeastern complex consists of four churches.

Beta Emmanuel (Church of Emmanuel)

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I took this picture from across the bridge, my wife could not handle the height, so she ren.

Beta Abba Libanos (Church of Father Libanos)

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Beta Merkurios (Church of Mercurius)

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Beta Gabriel and Beta Rafa’el (the twin churches of Gabriel and Raphael)

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Located west of the other complexes, the final—and most famous—rock-hewn church of Lalibela is (11) Beta Giyorgis (Church of St. George).

Shaped like a cross, Beta Giyorgis sits on a stepped platform inside a 72-by-72-foot courtyard that is 36 feet deep. Originally, it was accessible only from the west by means of a long approach—measuring nearly 100 feet—that led uphill and connected the church to the wadi below.

Standing at the same level as the church, it is not immediately apparent that Beta Giyorgis is shaped like a cross, but from above, it becomes clear that not only is it shaped like a cross, but that Greek crosses have been carved into its roof as well. Beta Giyorgis has three doors and twelve windows.

This is the masterpiece by king Lalibela.

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This master peace can be seen from very far, the view from up here is breathtaking.

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Each of the windows is adorned by a cross and floral motif carved in relief above its opening. An additional nine false windows are carved into the exterior of the church at the same level as the doors, but they do not open into the church’s interior. Of all the churches at Lalibela, Beta Giyorgis is the best preserved.

Dated to the late 12th or early 13th century, it is also one of the latest churches at the site. The other churches are estimated to have been built over a span of several centuries—from the 10th through the 13th centuries or later.

#FreeBobiWine Concert @ PAWA254.

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Yesterday I attended #FreeBobiWine concert at PAWA254. The musician-turned MP was arrested last week sparking violent clashes between Ugandan police and protesters.

Since his surprise election to parliament as an independent candidate in July 2017, under his popular “People Power” slogan, the self-styled “Ghetto President” has continued using his fame and influence to speak out against the decades-long rule of Museveni, whom he accuses of being a “dictator”.

Political tensions rose further last week when Kyagulanyi was arrested in northern Uganda and his driver shot dead amid clashes between opposition supporters and security forces.

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Good citizens around the world have gone online to voice their support with calls to #FreeBobiWine. There would also a march to Uganda’s High Commission offices in Riverside, Nairobi on Wednesday, August 22, in protest of the oppression meted on the Ugandan Opposition politician.

The illegal arrest and detention of Bobi Wine has gotten the full attention of the world with the Washington saying that they are monitoring the situation closely.

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Many young people of Uganda have never known how it feels to have a different president. President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for the last 34 years, his intention is to be there forever.

A few people are seeing this as the last days of Mr Museveni. Time will tell. It’s important to understand that the energy of the young is the energy that builds a country or brings it down.

A Visit to the African Jerusalem-Lalibela.

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I always listen to BBC in the morning, 6:00am. It is a 30 minutes swahili news that has been on for as long as I can remember. Many years back, maybe 5, there was a feature on the rock carved churches of Lalibela. That morning still in my sleep, I told myself, I have to visit this place – Lalibela.

Many things have changed since then. Meles Zenawi the then Prime Minister Died, Hailemariam Desale was forced to step down and now Abiy Ahmed has taken the reign of leadership in Ethiopia.

Under Desale, Ethiopia and Kenya agreed to rescind the visa requirements for Kenyan business travellers in July 2015 making it possible to travel without the trouble of acquiring a visa. It’s only Djibouti and Kenya who can travel to Ethiopia without a visa.

It was then time for me to travel. Maybe you have had about Genna, the Christmas in Ethiopia that happens every January 7th. Maybe you have not, then we cannot blame you, because this was not the reason for my visit to Lalibela.

Our journey started in Bahir Dar, 5am in the morning aboard Level 1 bus. It was dark, but i am starting to get used to Ethiopia’s early morning travel. At 4:30am it was just me and my wife in the bus, but some seats had been marked for occupation. Then people started walking in one by one. Then it was Glen, the tourist from China.

The bus was about full when we finally departed at 5am. At sunrise, it was easy to see Lake Tana as it welcomed a new day. The journey took us to Dabre Tudor, then to the hills and mountains, to the clouds and back and we were finally in Gachena……65km from Lalibela. This was our fueling station.

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We took sometime to get something to eat and interact with other passengers, at least those that were easy to talk to. Its not common to find English speakers in Ethiopia, many have only managed a few English words. Amharic is what they know and what they speak.

From Gachena it was 65km of semi-tarmac road. Parts of it are still unders contraction so they were really challenging to the car. Some parts are complete. I said to myself…..looking at the amount or construction taking place. The people who will visit Lalibela years to come will have an easy way, especially if they will be using the road.

The landscape is breathtaking. Its one waterfall, then two and suddenly three….all on one mountain. Our driver with years of coming to Lalibela could manage the terrain very well. It seemed far to me, maybe more than 65 km but at about 2pm we arrived at the small town.

The bus park is a long way out of the town. When we arrived, we had to take a Tuk Tuk to our hotel. There are no taxi….just Tuk Tuks and some few personal cars. Lalibela relies purely on tourism so everything is designed to attract you into blowing your dollars.

There is an airport 25km away making it very easy for those who don’t want to endure a whole day on the road, or just dont have the time to do so. A few minutes later we settled ourselves at Villa Lalibela and 5 minutes from the villa, there was Kana restaurant. We made it our home too.

In the evening we walked around, and just saw the churches we were to tour from afar. With the help of a young student we were able to walk to the second group of churches and from the top of the hill, we had a view of the famous St George Church.

The hotel organized a tour guide for us, and we agreed to start the tour 8am the following morning. We went to bed, after a long day of travelling. It has not been possible to travel to Lalibela from Addis Ababa in one day unless you are flying.

But for us we managed to include Bahir Dar into our itinerary making it possible to have a day to Bahir Dar and a day to Lalibela. If you want to have discounted fares on domestic, its advisable to book Ethiopian Airlines on the international flight. Ethiopians or those with International tickets get discounts only enjoyed by citizens.

 

 

Addis Ababa First on The List.

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The “Red Terror” Martyrs’ Memorial Museum in Addis Ababa was established in 2010 as a memorial to those who died during the Red Terror under the Derg government. 

It is my first time in Addis Ababa, and my first day on our (my wife and I) trip in Ethiopia. When I arrived, I was eight years back in time, I left Nairobi on 3rd of August 2018 and here I was 27th November 2010. I felt young, I felt God has been gracious to me with time. In November 2010 I was planning fo my first trip to South Africa which I took in January 2011…..and here I was again…..November 2010

“If I was stranded on a desert island & could only bring one thing. I would bring Dora, that b*tch has everything in her backpack”.

If you are a backpacker, you have probably came across this quote. I don’t think I can call myself a backpacker, but am willing to learn, so together with my wife and our backpacks we will be travelling to some of the most remote locations in Ethiopia.

Float on the blue nile in Bahir Dar, rule from the castle of Gondar and worship at the new Jerusalem in Lalibela. We will travel on budget, avoid luxury of star hotels, eat street food and try to meet fellow backpackers and make friends. After all this, we intend to come back home tired but alive and full of memories that will encourage us to plan our next trip.

Addis Ababa is an interesting city, its a combination of the old and the new. Tall skyscrapers live harmoniously with traditional mud houses. Traditional food like Injera as it found out can be served at the same place Pizza is being served. The Metro…just like a Cobra snake runs along the road populated by the blue Mini bus called Taxi.

Sometimes it is raining and sometimes it is sunny…..and thats just how Addis is. I asked a friend who has been here for a few months if she has adjusted, she said NO, you don’t adjust in Addis, you come stay and leave Addis the way it is.

Old cars run a longside the new. Its common to see the VW Beatle, well maintained without modification. The Beatle is a historic car for Ethiopia. In 2nd February 1974 (not Ethiopian Calendar) Addis streets were filled Beatles of Taxis drivers striking the high price of fuel. The last Emperor Heile Selassie was hustled away to a military barracks in a blue VW Beatle.

The Beatle might have died where it was born but here in Addis, its alive and kicking a**.

All instructions in the university are in English, but the language that rules here is Amharic. Its difficult to get your way around, but if you are a backpacker…..you always find a way.

Twice somebody has attempted to pick pocket me around Stadium, the first time shouting at the top of my voice I threw him a jab, the second time my wife lifted the tennis racket she was carrying…..the guy retreated really fast.

People love Ethiopia for the food, boy they can make some really nice food. You would believe from the way they make their pizza that they invented it. When it arrives its half chicken and half beef……just the way you ordered, with chilly at the centre. Interestingly, they love to eat Injera with their hands but when it comes to pizza…its folk and knife business.

Coffee is a big thing here and it comes in all form and choice. Whether you are having it in an uptown restaurant in Bole or a roadside makeshift spot in Yeka. You got to respect the coffee and the coffee tradition.

Enough with the food and culture, the sight seeing……

The first thing on my list was Lion of Judah Monument. Nobody new where it was and nobody was caring. We went to Addis Abeba Museum instead, it turned out to be great to learn the history on Addis once called Addis Abeba.

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We have tried to learn as much history of this country that was never colonised as we possibly can, we have also made friends. Angel from Bulgaria whom together with his backpacking friend Liu from China are touring eight countries. A Chinese cyclist who has cycled from China and he is headed to South Africa.

A young guy from Senegal playing professional football here and a Kenyan working with the department of gender at the African Union….and yes, we have seen that building present the Chinese government gave Africa.

The Metro is a game changer for this city. It moves people in four different directions with two connections. Trust me, there are countries in Africa who will not have this in 2050, whether it is Ethiopian year or European year.

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Technologically, Ethiopia is still in Kenya’s 2010, when we had only one mobile telco, with an option of 2G or 3G network and internet that was slower than the tortoise race. I am trying to make sure I publish this article today, tomorrow we are off to Bahir Dar and I am not sure what is ahead.

I have a lot to share, but this time I am running out of time. I have missed one cup of coffee already. I am not sure how long the internet is here for, we had a disconnection in the morning and when I asked at the reception what was the problem…..the lady answering in borrowed English just said “company problems”

My wife needs to edit this post before I publish and I am being reminded by yours truly…I need to set the alarm for tomorrow. Our bus is for 4:30am International time.

I will see you the other-side of Bahir Dar.

 

How We Killed the Pioneer Car.

If you are fortunate, like me, maybe privileged and one day you arrive in Italy. It’s the beginning of winter but still that doesn’t break your spirit, you went ahead and toured Italy, walked the streets, eat the food and most importantly admired the cars, I mean the Fiat.

The Birth of FIAT

But the real history of Italian cars begins after Italy unified into a nation when? on July 11, 1899, F.I.A.T. (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) was founded as a company, after acquiring other major Italian brands.

The first model produced by Fiat was the Fiat 3 ½ HP. Built in 1899 by design engineer Aristide Faccioli from an inspiration he received from his previous drawing of the Welleyes, the 3 ½ HP had a maximum power output of just 3.5 hp and 400 rpm. Fiat produced just eight copies of the automobile, a far reach from what modern automotive assembly lines can churn out, but at the end of 19th Century, the car was not a common good, but a luxury that only a wealthy few could afford. The 3 ½ HP was not equipped with a reverse gear and its frame was made of wood.

A few years later Fiat achieved the first of many victories in car racing with the help of Vincenzo Lancia, winning the Torino Sassi-Superga in 1902. In subsequent years, Vincenzo Lancia was to create his own car company.

Today, the streets of Italy are filled with Fiats, something to really admire. Italians have gone ahead to develop worlds best sports cars racing in different grand pix all over the world.

Pioneer Car

Many of you might not know or remember the Nyayo Car. The Pioneer was to be Africa’s first independently developed car, and the project was started with this amazing quote from Kenya’s then president: he asked for the development of a car, “no matter how ugly or slow it may be.” This must be borrowed from many quotes, The need for a people’s car – VW Beatle or a cheap car for everyone as long as it came in one colour – Ford. Elon Mask said “when Henry Ford made cheap and reliable cars people said, nah! whats wrong with the horse? That was a huge bet he made and it worked”

There’s something really refreshing about hearing this sort of brutal honesty when it comes to cars. Everything that any car company says about their cars or the origin of their company is almost invariably a string of overwrought hyperbole that proclaims their cars to be the finest, noblest, wheeled saviours of humanity. So hearing one exasperated leader plead with a university to develop any ugly, slow car they could be remarkable.

One of the remaining of the Pioneer car rests at Numerical Machining Complex at the Railway Godown in Industrial area. It’s been almost 40 years since the Pioneer car and just last week I managed to see it with my eye.

The University managed, after four years and a bunch of money, to develop five prototypes: a five-door sedan, a sedan with a trunk, a pickup, a sports coupe, and even a rally version. The cars look pretty conventional for the time, and seem to be transverse, FWD cars in keeping with many economy cars of the era.

They used a 1200cc engine designed locally and the Pioneer could make about 75 MPH with it, with the state of roads we had then remember. So, not really all that slow, and it wasn’t even particularly ugly, either.

The start of the Nyayo car might have not been good, Only two of the five cars that were displayed at the Kararani Sports Complex could start, and when the President jumped in one of them he could not manage more than 400 mitres.

The Nyayo Pioneer was an engineering disaster, many people said. The headlights, bumpers and boot did not come together neatly, and the car lacked the finesse you would expect from a consumer product.

Eventually, the factory built for the cars was sold to another firm, and in some ways that did become successful, becoming one of Africa’s first and comparatively few plants capable of producing automotive and locomotive parts, lathe equipment, and other machinery.

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In this country, people will kill something and they will surely make sure that its dead. I agree that this was a disaster, but at least it was the start. I have travelled a little and I can tell you that I have come across a lot of automotive disasters, AMC Gremlin – 1970 Ford Pinto on the same year, Fiat Maltipla – 1998, Ford Explorer – 1995, Lamborghini LM002 (1986).

When Kenya was making their First automobile disaster, Lamborghini too were making theirs. The difference between Lambo and Kenya is that they learnt from their mistakes, WE DID NOT.

Today Lamborghini is the fastest car, if not one of the fastest cars, made in Italy and sold all over the world, the FIAT, rules the streets of Italy, while in Kenya we still import cars from Japan.