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Iconic St Austin’s Parish Church deserves national monument status

St. Austin’s Parish Church, Nairobi. PHOTO | DOUGLAS KIEREINI
St. Austin’s Parish Church, Nairobi. PHOTO | DOUGLAS KIEREINI 

As early as 16th century AD, the Augustinian Friars, who were the first missionaries to reach Kenya, settled in Mombasa on the Islands of Pemba and Lamu which were flourishing trading centres, the most sought after merchandise being African slaves.

The Friars campaigned against slave trade but were quickly silenced and martyred by their Muslim counterparts.

Zanzibar was the most important trading centre, visited by Arab (for slaves and ivory) and Chinese (for ivory and cloves) merchants.

The next missionary attempt came after Pope Pius 1X spoke of a new evangelisation in the 1850’s. Missionary orders began, again, to go all over the world. Parts of Africa were assigned to different orders.