Kimani Maruge

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Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge (c. 1920 - August 14, 2009) holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to start primary school—he enrolled in the first grade on January 12, 2004, aged 84.[1] Although he had no papers to prove his age, Maruge believed he was born in 1920.

School time[edit]

Maruge attended Kapkenduiywo Primary School in Eldoret, Kenya; he said that the government's announcement of universal and free elementary education in 2003 prompted him to enroll.

In 2005 Maruge, who was a model student, was elected head boy of his school.

In September 2005, Maruge boarded a plane for the first time in his life, and headed to New York City to address the United Nations Millennium Development Summit on the importance of free primary education.[2]

Robbery[edit]

Maruge's property was stolen during the 2007-2008 post-election violence, and he contemplated quitting school.[3] During early 2008 he lived in a refugee camp, where he was reportedly a minor celebrity, four kilometers from his school, but still attended classes every day.[4] In June 2008, he relocated to the capital Nairobi.[5]

In June 2008, Maruge was forced to withdraw from school and relocate to a retirement home for senior citizens.[6] However, soon after, on June 10, 2008, Maruge enrolled once again into grade 6 at the Marura primary school, located in the Kariobangi area of Nairobi.

Film[edit]

A feature film about Kimani Maruge, starring Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris titled The First Grader, was released on May 13, 2011. The British-produced film was shot on location in the Rift Valley in Kenya, despite earlier reports that it would be filmed in South Africa.

Director Justin Chadwick said: "We could have shot it in South Africa, but Kenya has this unbelievable, inexplicable energy - inherent in the children, and the people we were making the film about".[7]

Baptism[edit]

On Sunday May 24, 2009, Maruge was baptised at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Kariobangi and took a Christian name, Stephen.[8]

Maruge was then using a wheelchair.[8]

Maruge was a widower, and a great-grandfather (two of his 30 grandchildren attend the same school). He was a combatant in the Mau Mau Uprising against the British colonizers in the 1950s.

Death[edit]

Maruge died on August 14, 2009 of stomach cancer, at the Cheshire Home for the Aged in Nairobi.[9] He was buried at his farm in Subukia.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC News, May 25, 2004: Kenya's record-breaking OAP pupil
  2. ^ BBC News, September 8, 2005: Kenya OAP school pupil flies high
  3. ^ The Standard, January 14, 2008: Displaced Maruge may miss school
  4. ^ Globe and Mail, March 20, 2008: Kenya's 88-year-old schoolboy
  5. ^ The Standard, June 7, 2008: Maruge relocates to Nairobi
  6. ^ BBC, June 6, 2008: Kenyan OAP pupil taken into care
  7. ^ Interview with director Justin Chadwick, reproduced in Soda Pictures' Theatrical Press Kit
  8. ^ a b Daily Nation, May 24, 2009: Oldest pupil now seeks to be listed in Book of Life
  9. ^ The Standard, August 15, 2009: World's oldest pupil, Stephen Maruge, dies
  10. ^ The Standard, August 26, 2009: Heroic sendoff for world's oldest pupil