Ngina Kenyatta

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Her Excellency
Mama Ngina Kenyatta
1st First Lady of Kenya
In role
12 December 1964 – 28 August 19781
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Lucy Kibaki
Personal details
Born Ngina Muhoho
1933[citation needed]
Nationality Kenyan
Political party KANU
Spouse(s) Jomo Kenyatta (m. 1951)
Children Christine Wambui (born 1953)
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 1961)
Anna Nyokabi Muthama née Kenyatta (also known as Jeni)
Muhoho Kenyatta
Residence Nairobi, Kenya
Religion Roman Catholicism
1. Ngina retained her First Lady status even after the death of her husband in 1978. Incoming President Daniel arap Moi had separated from his wife in 1974.

Ngina Kenyatta (born 1933[citation needed]), popularly known as "Mama Ngina", is former First Lady of Kenya. She is the widow of the country's first president, Jomo Kenyatta (~1889–1978), and also the mother of President Uhuru Kenyatta.


Mama Ngina was born Ngina Muhoho, daughter of Chief Muhoho wa Gathecha and Anne Nyokabi Muhoho, Kiambu District, Central Province.[1] She married Jomo Kenyatta as his fourth wife in 1951, a union characterised as a "gift" to Kenyatta from his ethnic group, the Kikuyu.[2] This became her reference as the "mother of the nation",[2] becoming Mama Ngina Kenyatta, independent Kenya's glamorous First Lady when Kenyatta became President in 1963. She often accompanied him in public, and had some streets in Nairobi[3] and Mombasa, as well as a Children's Home,[4] named after her. In 1965, she became patron of Kenyan Guiding.[5]

In the 1970s, she and other high-level government officials were allegedly involved in an ivory-smuggling ring which transported tusks out of the country in the state private airliner.[6][7][8] A May 1975 edition of New Scientist cited her as one of Kenya's "ivory queens" but also asserted they could not be completely certain that these claims were true.[9] However, New Scientist claimed that there was now documentary proof that at least one member of Kenya's royal family had shipped over six tons of ivory to Red China.

Mama Ngina became a Roman Catholic,[10] and was known to attend Mass every Sunday in the Catholic mission with some of their children.[11] She also became one of the richest individuals in Kenya, owning plantations, ranches, and hotels.[12] She currently leads a quiet life in Kenya as a wealthy widow.


She bore Kenyatta four children: Kristina Wamboi (born 1952), Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 1961), Anna Nyokabi Muthama née Kenyatta (also known as Jeni, born May 1963) and Muhoho Kenyatta (born 1964). Her son Uhuru, the senior Kenyatta's political heir, unsuccessfully ran for president as President Moi's preferred successor in 2002 and is today the Kenyan fourth President. Muhoho Kenyatta runs the family's vast business but lives out of the public limelight. During Jomo Kenyatta's exile at Lodwar and Maralal, Ngina stayed with him, as did their daughters, Jane and Wamboi.[13] Mama Ngina is step-mother to Kenyatta's other three children, two by his first wife and one by the second.[14]

Monsignor George Muhoho, Roman Catholic chaplain at University of Nairobi is one of her brothers.[15]


  1. ^ Kenya Gazette. 17 June 1947. pp. 306–. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Kiluva-Ndunda, Mutindi Mumbua (2001). Women's agency and educational policy: the experiences of the women of Kilome, Kenya. SUNY Press. pp. 56–. ISBN 978-0-7914-4761-1. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Murray, Martin J.; Myers, Garth Andrew (2007). Cities in contemporary Africa. Macmillan. pp. 85–. ISBN 978-1-4039-7035-0. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Kilbride, Philip; Suda, Collette; Njeru, Enos (September 2001). Street Children in Kenya: Voices of Children in Search of a Childhood. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-89789-862-1. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Proctor, Tammy M. (25 September 2009). Scouting for girls: a century of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. ABC-CLIO. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-0-313-38114-0. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Animal kingdom. New York Zoological Society. 1980. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Wieland, Terry (25 March 2004). A view from a tall hill: Robert Ruark in Africa. Down East Enterprise Inc. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-89272-650-9. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Munger, Edwin S. (1983). Touched by Africa. Castle Press. ISBN 978-0-934912-00-6. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  9. ^ New Scientist. Reed Business Information. 22 May 1975. p. 452. ISSN 0262-4079. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Gibbon, Peter (1995). Markets, civil society and democracy in Kenya. Nordic Africa Institute. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-91-7106-371-7. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Tablino, Paolo (2006). Christianity among the nomads: the Catholic communities in Marsabit, Moyale and Samburu districts of Northern Kenya. volume II. Paulines Publications Africa. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-9966-08-120-9. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Meredith, Martin (26 June 2006). The fate of Africa: from the hopes of freedom to the heart of despair : a history of fifty years of independence. PublicAffairs. pp. 267–. ISBN 978-1-58648-398-2. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  13. ^ Johnson Publishing Company (August 1961). Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 82–. ISSN 0012-9011. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Johnson Publishing Company (2 July 1964). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 26–. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  15. ^ Gitari, David M.; Knighton, Ben (15 September 2009). Religion and politics in Kenya: essays in honor of a meddlesome priest. Macmillan. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-0-230-61487-1. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 

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