Royal-Like Carriage, Art Paradise at Tafaria

A Percheron horse imported by the Waititus to
A Percheron horse imported by the Waititus to pull the Landau chariot and guests around the castle grounds. PHOTO | COURTESY | NMG 

Tafaria is no longer just the name of a castle built by a Kenyan, George Tafaria Waititu.

“Tafaria is now what the neighbours call the area that used to be known as Deighton Down,” says Mr Waititu, the statistician and former owner of Steadman Group, a company which he sold, and after which he retired to develop his mother’s home village.

The Waititus, Eunice and George, have not stop developing their grandiose vision of a cultural complex that includes everything from the castle that contains over 60 rooms (including two wedding suites), three conference halls (one called the Think Tank, one the Round Table and the third called the Horse Shoe), a health centre featuring a tennis court, an archery range, a yoga-facilitating gym (complete with 16 yoga-posed metal statues) and a multi-faceted centre for the arts.

Mr Waititu says he recently imported a Landau carriage from the UK, which is drawn by a rare breed of horses brought in from South Africa, but originally coming from France.

In the carriage, one can tour a portion of the 20 acres on which is located the castle complex.

But as of now, it can only take one to the edge of the extra 100 acres of bush which Mr Waititu plans to transform into a ‘statue forest’ with the assistance of visiting sculptors.

The artists have begun coming to Tafaria to take part in the Castle’s Artist Residency Programme that he started several years ago with assistance from what was then known as Kuona Trust.

Kuona is now known as the Kuona Artists Collective/Alliance, but it’s still helping Mr Waititu to carry out his grand vision which keeps evolving even as it started from humble beginnings.

Mr Waititu himself came from humble root. The last born in a family of nine, he started school walking barefoot but now he has created a virtual paradise.

He studied mathematics yet he has cultivated a love of the arts.

He has also built an open air amphitheatre for the performing arts, a giant exhibition hall that he intends to make into a combination art gallery and ‘museum of experiential philosophy’ and what he is calling a collector’s paradise.

“I know there are many people with private collections who would love to share them with a wider audience. The collections wouldn’t be for sale, but it would be an opportunity to broaden our appreciation of art and the reasons for collecting in the first place,” says Mr Waititu who has become quite a collector himself.