A Selection of Quotes by Jomo Kenyatta

Statue of Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya.

rogiro/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Jomo Kenyatta was an activist and politician in Kenya who led the country as Prime Minister in 1963 and then as President in 1964. He is credited for his part in turning Kenya into an independent republic. He died in office at the age of 81.


"If Africans were left in peace on their own lands, Europeans would have to offer them the benefits of white civilization in real earnest before they could obtain the African labor which they want so much. They would have to offer the African a way of life which was really superior to the one his fathers lived before, and a share in the prosperity given them by their command of science. They would have to let the African choose what parts of European culture could be beneficially transplanted, and how they could be adapted ... The African is conditioned, by cultural and social institutions of centuries, to freedom of which Europe has a little conception, and it is not in his nature to accept serfdom forever."

"Europeans assume that, given the right knowledge and ideas, personal relations can be left largely to take care of themselves, and this is perhaps the most fundamental difference in outlook between Africans and Europeans."

"You and I must work together to develop our country, to get education for our children, to have doctors, to build roads, to improve or provide all day-to-day essentials."

"To .. all the dispossessed youth of Africa: for the perpetuation of communion with ancestral spirits through the fight for African freedom, and in the firm faith that the dead, the living, and the unborn will unite to rebuild the destroyed shrines."

"Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future."

"Where there has been racial hatred, it must be ended. Where there has been tribal animosity, it will be finished. Let us not dwell upon the bitterness of the past. I would rather look to the future, to the good new Kenya, not to the bad old days. If we can create this sense of national direction and identity, we shall have gone a long way to solving our economic problems."

"Many people may think that now there is Uhuru, now I can see the sun of Freedom shining, richness will pour down like manna from Heaven. I tell you there will be nothing from Heaven. We must all work hard, with our hands, to save ourselves from poverty, ignorance, and disease."

"If we respect ourselves and our Uhuru, foreign investment will pour in and we will prosper."

"We do not want to oust the Europeans from this country. But what we demand is to be treated like the white races. If we are to live here in peace and happiness, racial discrimination must be abolished."

"God said this is our land, land in which we flourish as people... we want our cattle to get fat on our land so that our children grow up in prosperity; and we do not want the fat removed to feed others."

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Boddy-Evans, Alistair. "A Selection of Quotes by Jomo Kenyatta." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/jomo-kenyatta-quotes-44448. Boddy-Evans, Alistair. (2020, August 26). A Selection of Quotes by Jomo Kenyatta. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/jomo-kenyatta-quotes-44448 Boddy-Evans, Alistair. "A Selection of Quotes by Jomo Kenyatta." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/jomo-kenyatta-quotes-44448 (accessed June 2, 2023).