Mzee Njenga Mwenda Kariuki, for whom the slum was named after is fondly remembered for the work he has done for the community.
Njenga died on February 8 in his car on the way to the hospital. He had suffered chest complications for more than 10 years.
He was 89.
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His daughter narrated his last moments on earth.
“My father woke up at 4am daily and turned on the radio that he preferred to television. At 5am he got out of bed, showered and put on his suit,” his 49-year-old daughter said.
Njenga always wore a suit, a clean and pressed shirt and polished shoes, a habit from his colonial schooling.
Njenga went to Loreto Mission, an approved school where young adults were forced to study. He dropped out, his daughters don’t know why.
“Even though he wasn’t properly educated himself, my father, an utter disciplinarian, ensured we all went to school. He would even call our school asking them not to allow us to come home for half-term. We never lacked school fees,” Wanjiru said.
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Njenga never returned to the countryside after he left, until his last days on earth.
A week before he died, Njenga invited his daughter Wanjiru for lunch at his bar.
“He inquired about all his children, seeking every detail. When I asked why he was so concerned with all of our affairs, he said I was easy to talk to and he wanted to know his children’s welfare,” she recounted.
“That day, he insisted on eating roast meat and had his pocket knife handy to help with that.”
Mzee asked her to accompany him to the village after a long time when he visited his niece. After that visit, his chest problems worsened.
“After about four days, his condition had not improved and he asked to be taken to Mbagathi Hospital,” she narrated, her face dimming.
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Njenga had bought a car two months before and said it would be used to transport him to the hospital whenever necessary.
“On his way to Mbagathi, on February 8, around 5pm, in the company of his son, Mzee Njenga took his final breath,” she said.
Njenga Mwenda Kariuki leaves behind 13 children, numerous grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
At Mukuru Kwa Njenga, the residents hoped the family would go against its traditions and allow them pay their last respects to the founder of their homes.
-The Star/ AKELLO ODENYO AND ROLYN NJOROGE