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Sunday 18 February 2018

Queen's porter in Kenya joined Mau Mau rebellion

Nahashon Mureithi, 89, recalls his time as a porter and guide for the Queen (AP)
Nahashon Mureithi, 89, recalls his time as a porter and guide for the Queen (AP)

An 89-year-old Kenyan man who was the Queen's porter 65 years ago when she was informed of her father's death has revealed how he had a good opinion of the young royal, but later joined the Mau Mau revolt against British colonial rule.

Nahashon Mureithi said the young Elizabeth was "very beautiful" and was impressed by the elephants she saw while staying at the Treetops Hotel.

Mr Mureithi said: "Sh e was not wearing very expensive clothes... When we met her, we carried her bags and followed her and, as she stepped onto the staircase to go up to the hotel, she saw an elephant."

Despite his positive impression of the Queen, within a few years Mr Mureithi joined the Mau Mau rebellion because "we were being oppressed by the white man".

He said that when he decided to join the revolt "people were very happy" and he was promoted within the rebels because of his experience working at the safari lodge.

"My role was to cook for them and to look for weapons for them," he said. Within the rebel cells he became known as Nyawira, or "hard worker" in the Kikuyu language.

He said he worked with three older women who were not suspected of being rebels and who would communicate with other members of the resistance.

Eventually, Mr Mureithi took the government's amnesty offer and admitted he was in the Mau Mau. He spent time in jail.

Since then, Mr Mureithi has worked as a small-scale farmer on his plot in central Kenya, about 90 miles north of Nairobi.

Today he looks after his grandchildren and lives in a small house with no electricity that is relatively close to the now grand Treetops Safari Lodge.


Press Association

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