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Jomo Kenyatta

(circa 1889-1978), Kenyan nationalist and political leader

Sitter in 4 portraits
Kenyatta was an anti-colonial activist and politician who was Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964. He was the first black head of government playing a significant role in the transformation of Kenya from a British colony to an independent republic. He was the leader of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) from 1961 until his death. Although authoritarian and accused of dictatorship he received the honorary title of Mzee during his presidency and considered the Father of the Nation. His message of reconciliation won him support of the black majority as well as members of the white minority. His leadership was divisive, although respected across Africa some considered him an agitator, authoritarian and dictatorial. Under his rule, Kenya joined the Organisation of African Unity and the Commonwealth espousing a pro-Western and anti-communist foreign policy. He died in office and was succeeded by Daniel arap Moi. His son Uhuru later became Kenya's fourth president.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Jomo Kenyatta, by Rex Coleman, for  Baron Studios - NPG x125733

Jomo Kenyatta

by Rex Coleman, for Baron Studios
5 x 4 inch colour transparency, 26 February 1962
NPG x125733

Mama Ngina; Queen Elizabeth II; Jomo Kenyatta, by Patrick Lichfield - NPG x29566

Mama Ngina; Queen Elizabeth II; Jomo Kenyatta

by Patrick Lichfield
cibachrome print on card mount, 1970s
NPG x29566

Web image not currently available

Jomo Kenyatta

by Rex Coleman, for Baron Studios
5 x 4 inch film negative, 26 February 1962
NPG x125731

Web image not currently available

Jomo Kenyatta and three unknown men

by Rex Coleman, for Baron Studios
5 x 4 inch film negative, 26 February 1962
NPG x125732

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