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Lenana School’s deep fall from the pinnacle of white settler education

The  Lenana School administration block. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG
The Lenana School administration block. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG  

Emboldened by the Ally victory in World War 11 over the Axis powers, a favourable investment environment and climatic conditions, the British were convinced there was no better time to settle in Kenya for the long-term.

African nationalist activity had suffered a lull during the war years. A large influx of settlers, civil servants, retiring military personnel and entrepreneurs made their way to Kenya for permanent settlement after 1945.

Sir Philip Euan Mitchell (1890-1964), a long serving colonial administrator, was Governor of Kenya from 1944 to 1952. Mitchell was well known for his conservative views and paternalistic attitude towards Africans.

He wrote that “Africans were, in 1890, in a more primitive condition than anything of which there is any record in pre-Roman Britain”. In his presentation “The Agrarian Problem in Kenya” he stated “They are a people who, however much natural ability and however admirable the attributes they may possess, are without a history, culture or religion of their own and in that they are, as far as I know, unique in the modern world”.