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46 Responses

  1. Its not always that you meet someone who leaves such an everlasting positive impact on your life. Wanjiru was such a person. She knew how to lift ones spirit regardless of the circumstances. Never met someone who sacificed her own needs and priveleges to make others comfortable to the level Wanjiru did. And her sense of humour …… I still giggle privately when I recall some of the humorous discussions we had. Last time I met Wanjiru was the week before the accident in Nairobi and we had a great time.. (Sorry Nish we blew your dinner ….) She kept teasing me that I was putting on weight in the wrong places and that I was being very picky with my food …. and what was with the chicken wings every day? Thought I would surprise her when she got back to London …..

    Wanjiru may be physically gone. But to me she is always around. She will be with me when I replay a conversation we had, a joke, when I make a cup of tea and not put milk first or was it the tea bag first? I could never get it right .. Her impact in my life will never go away

    I have missed her since the accident and will continue to miss her. And while we it is a difficult time I am grateful to God that He gave me a chance to know Wanjiru and to consider her more than a friend but more like a big sister to me.

    To the family all I have to say is that your strength through it all has been unbelievable. Your support for one another admirable and I have no doubt in my mind that she is very proud of you. May God continue to give you strength and the grace to bear the loss of such a special person.

  2. Comrade Wanjiru Kihoro, you may not be with us physically today, but the good Lord knows your spirits are still with us. We shall hold the baton you left behind firmly and continue your struggles. It is a shame that our so-called leaders that you helped usher them into power refused to honor you by attending your farewell, claiming they had more important matters to attend to. Forget them — we the little people that you cared so much about will honor you by continuing to soldier thru the struggles you left unaccomplished.
    R.I.P. Madam comrade!

    John Maina

  3. I did not know Dr. Kihoro personally, but I was touched by her life and her fight to survive. She inspired me… her life was an example of how we should never give up on fighting for what we believe in. I have learnt a lot from her, even though most of it was learnt after January 2003. I am praying for the family… they have lost a pillar. Rest in peace, Wanjiru.

  4. My condolences to Dr. Kihoro’s family.
    May the Almighty God rest Wanjiru’s soul in peace.


  5. The news of the passing of Wanjiru Kihoro must have struck most of us who knew her in a very personal way.

    It surely leaves a void in all of us who knew her and found great energy and inspiration in her comradely work and indefatigable fight for the African vision especially women in Africa.

    I had always heard alot about her ever since i was a child since she was involved in the same fight for a more democratic and equal society with both my parents, the Late Kaara Macharia and Wahu Kaara and also my uncle Prof. Ngotho Kariuki.

    I got to know her both at a personal and activist/ work level when she worked closely with my mother at the Abantu office in Nairobi.

    For all of us, we have lost a major inspiration in a common voice and face for Africa.

    But especially for her family, we stand in great solidarity and support especially at this trying time.

    Surely, Wanjiru stands in the annals of the African greats and in the traditions of Mekatilili, Nyanjiru she is a Kenyan heroine.

    When our Kenya history unfolds, history will definety absolve her. And may her lingering memory always be an inspiration to a new generation of African Activists, Scholars, Teachers,Leaders, Mothers, Wives, Aunties and Sisters.

    Rest in Peace.

    Kiama Kaara,
    Bangkok, Thailand,

  6. Wanjiru.A great gal.I first met my friend Wanjiru at Kenya High School in 1970.Yes,that’s as long as I have known Wanjiru.Even as school girls in formerly all white school, the seeds of struggle had been sown -the struggle as Africans and as women,as Panafricanists and feminists , for African women to be recognized for what they are and not what someone else determines.Then came the days of reckoning and real hard times when hard choices had to be made and the long,long journey started.With Wanjru in my thoughts, I know I am not alone.
    A luta continua

  7. May God bless the family of the late Wanjiru Kihoro. For four years we prayed that God may get her out of the coma. Now she is not with us but with God in heaven. I pray and hope that one day we who are faithful shall be united with Wanjiru again. Accept my condolences and well wishes as you, the family and us the friends go through this difficult time. Let us celebrate the life she lived.

  8. You were in a coma for so long and I know that it is your love for us that kept you alive and going…

    Wanjiru my big sister, the one who inspired me, irritated me, spurred me to better myself. The one who reassured me when I failed and encouraged me to see a brighter future. My big sister who motivated me. We talked ideas all night like the Coffee Campaign” until 3 am and wasn’t I tired?

    I was waiting for you to wake up; I wanted you to wake up from your coma to see how your children have grown and how you would be so proud of them.

    I wanted you to wake up to see how the family has grown and the new baby who is now 2 years old how the children have grown and how they remember you…

    I wanted you to wake up so that you could see the seeds you had planted grow into big ideas.

    I wanted you to wake up from your coma so that I could tell you how much I love and will always treasure the good memories.

    I wanted you to wake up because you had so much to offer the world. I now know that you have woken up in a much better place and that your legacy will carry on. The things that you did that made it seem so easy and effortless though you worked hard to make it happen. I now know that you have woken up and are at peace.

  9. I have known Dr Wanjiru Kihoro since the late 1980s.

    When her husband, Wanyiri, was detained without trial in 1986, I was incarcerated at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. It was at Kamiti that my long friendship with the family started. When I was admitted as an advocate of the High Court, Wanjiru bought me my first designer suit. Over the years, I have received pin-stripped Max & Spencer suits, shirts and ties from her.

    Wanjiru was truly internationalist. She participated in liberation struggles at home, Africa and Latin America. At home, she was part of the Second Liberation as a founder member of the International Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya.

    She was a generous person. In London, her house was a stopping point for Kenyan exiles. Due to her efforts and others, the case of political prisoners and repression was publicised worldwide. In 1987, their struggle bore fruit when more than 100 political prisoners were adopted by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience.

    Wanjiru was among the Freedom Mothers who wanted their sons released from detention. With them, she agitated for the release of Mr Koigi Wamwere, Mirugi Kariuki, Mr Rumba Kinuthia and Mr Gitau Mwaura. The struggle gave birth to Freedom Corner and the Release Political Prisoners Pressure Group.

    We have lost a human rights defender, patriot, mother, sister and comrade.

    Ng’ang’a Thiong’o
    Release Political Prisoners
    (Copied from the letters page East African Standard Thursday October 19, 2006)

  10. Farewell, Comrade!

    Our condolences to Wanyiri & the rest of the family.

    Mwakenya-December Twelve Movement

  11. I never got a chance to meet with Dr. Kihoro but she had raised an amazing family. I’ve been really close with the Mburu family(Wambui and Sam), getting to know and acknowledge what a great family they are. This was most definately a tragic death for me as well as the Kihoro’s. I wish I had got to know and meet Dr. Kihoro…R.I.P

  12. My condolences to the family of Dr Wanjiru Kihoro. Though I did not know her personally, I have read about her work and can say that it has been a true inspiration. My heart goes out to her entire family.

    Shila W. Mwangi
    Houston, Texas

  13. When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

    When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not there to see,
    If the sun should rise and find your eyes, all filled with tears for me,
    I wish so much you wouldn’t cry, the way you did today,
    While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.
    I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,
    And each time that you think of me,
    I know you’ll miss me too.
    But when tomorrow starts without me,
    please try to understand,
    That angel came and called my name and took me by the hand.
    And said my place was ready in Heaven far above,
    And that I’d have to leave behind, all those things I dearly love.
    But as I turned away, a tear fell from my eye,
    For all my life, I’d always thought,I didn’t want to die.
    I had so much to life for, so much yet to do,
    It seemed almost impossible,that I was leaving you.
    I thought of all the yesterdays,the good ones and the bad,
    I thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had.
    If I would relive yesterday, just even for a while.
    I’d say goodbye and kiss you, and maybe see u smile.
    But then I fully realized,that could never be,
    For emptiness and memories,would take the place of me.
    And then I thought of worldly things,I might miss come tomorrow,
    I thought of you,and when I did,my heart was filled with sorrow.
    But when I walked throught heaven’s gates,I felt so much at home.
    When God looked down and smiled at me, from his great golden throne.
    he said,” This is eternity,and all I’ve promised you.
    Today your life on Earth is past, and here it starts anew”
    “I promise no tomorrow,but today will always last,
    And since each day’s the same day,there’s no longing for the past”.
    “But you have been so faithful,so trusting and so true,
    Though there wre times you did some things,you know you shouldn’t do”.
    “But you have been forgiven,and now at last you’re free,
    So won’t take my hand now and share My life with Me”.
    So when tomorrow starts without me,don’t think we’re far apart,
    For everytime you think of me,I’m right here in your heart.
    By Erica Shea Liupaeter

    Idra Mugure Kihoro

  14. I may not have met you
    But i have read much of you

    I may not have spoken to you
    But i will always speak of you

    I may not have seen how you did your work
    But i will always buy ideas from the vision of your work

    Dr. Wanjiru you inspire many,
    Not only in Kenya, East Africa, Africa
    But the entire World.
    You are not gone!

    For humanity liberation,
    Your mission shall be realised
    May your work keep moulding
    The young, the youth, the old and generations to come
    For you make many of us in many ways!!!!!

    Aluta continua!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Stephen Musau
    Executive Coordinator,
    Release Political Prisoners (RPP)

  15. Wanjiru Kihoro was Secretary of the London-based Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya. When she and Wanyiri arrived in London in 1982 the arrests had intensified, particularly among academics and lawyers. Wanjiru already had international experience and contacts, so she quickly showed her organizing ability and her enthusiasm in making the Committee respected.

    Kenya News was one of the most influential public products of the Committee and Wanjiru not only did the necessary technical work but was one of the main writers, gathering good material from Kenya. We worked as an unusually tight but flexible team, able to argue our points but concede the best; and the government of Daniel arap Moi was only too aware of the influence of Kenya News. Special Branch came to London to investigate the Committee and, of course, Wanjiru. That government made the grave mistake of believing that, like all women, she was only a child.

    Wanjiru was always under pressure, particularly after the arrest of Wanyiri. But her home and family were always welcoming. Marvellous warmth, delicious food. Thank you, Wanjiru, for your political strength and personal gifts”.

    Yusuf Hassan
    Nish Muthoni
    Sarah White for John La Rose
    Shiraz Durrani
    Anne Walmsley
    Yvonne Brown
    Pat Haward
    Wanyiri Kihoro
    Milverton Wallace

    21 October 2006

  16. “How great is your name O Lord. Your majesty is
    praised above the heavens and on the lips of man. When
    I see heaven, the works of your hands, the moon and
    the stars you have arranged, I remember the life and
    works of Wanjiru, her love for family, friends, and
    work and all she touched in her life.
    I know that she fought the good fight and spent
    herself in building up of your church. Into your
    hands, we commend her spirit and pray for healing for
    the family and friends who mourn her.
    I pray that we are left with the good memories of her
    Thank you Lord for giving me the opportunity to meet
    her and her family.
    May the Lord rest her soul in eternal peace. Amen”

  17. I first knew Wanjiru when she became, like me, a trustee of Oxfam and we were fellow trustees for some three years. She was a true friend and it was a privilege to have known her and her work with Abantu for Development which I also came to know and respect as an organisation.

    I appointed Wanjiru as a trustee of the Charity I set up in 1981 the Marlborough Brandt Group whic formed a link between my community of Marlborough in Wiltshire UK and the town of Gunjur in The Gambia.

    She and her family stayed with my wife and me in Marlborough and she prepared a wonderful meal for some 80 people in a Church Hall while her husband Wanyiri spoke to the assembled company about his life in Kenya.

    I will always remember Wanjiru for her kindness, her friendship, her humour (I can hear her laughter as I write) and for her passionate commitment to working with the poor. I will also remember her for her humility. She taught me so much. I received so much pleasure from her company.

    I will miss her.

    Nick Maurice

  18. To the family of Dr. Wanjiru Matenjwa-Kihoro.
    We have all followed closely on Dr. Wanjiru’s progress over the past 3-4 years and have constantly prayed that she would pull through. Things happen beyond our control but they can not kill the big dream she had for us Kenyans/Africans/ThirdWorldians. Our work is to continue her legacy. She has not died in vain, and her work must continue and her memory must be kept alive. Bossie, Wahu, Muthoni, Mama Ciru ( I will call you this weekend. Email me other lines), Wanjiku, Njeri, Pambi, Amandla, Nimu, Kui, Mathe and Fathe, Wanyiri and the Kinyohos, my family is with you at this time and I am glad that our paths did cross at one time as I got to meet a true mover and shaker of communities and a nation. That is our beloved Wanjiru. I remember my visit to the London flat all so well and I am glad that I got to meet and hear her. Wanjiru, Wanyiri and Mathe made me become all the more political:). I have read about all her achievements and I am amazed that one person did all that. Good people do go before. May she rest in peace. I have a poem that may express what I think she would tell us.

    The Final Flight
    Don’t grieve for me; for now I’m free,
    I’m following the path God laid for me.
    I took his hand when I heard his call;
    I turned my back and left it all.
    I could not stay another day,
    To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
    Tasks left undone must stay that way;
    I’ve found that peace at the end of the day.
    If my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembered joy.
    A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
    Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.
    Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
    I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
    My Life’s been full, I savored much,
    Good friends, good times, a loved one’ touch.
    Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
    Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
    Lift up your heart and share with me,
    God wanted me now, He set me free.

    RIP Dr. Wanjiru, RIP our Kenyan Heroine

  19. I did not know Dr Kihoro personally but having met her sisters and daughter via the online KBW community, I feel like I knew a little bit about her.

    Her family’s dedication, affection and obvious love for her sister have taught me a little about what she must have meant to them and in turn what kind of person she must have been, especially since they are such loving, independent and inspiring people themselves.

    And so, I pay tribute to Dr Kihoro. Rest in peace and God bless you.

  20. My dear aunt rest in peace.You will always be with me in thoughts and i will forever be grateful for you kindness and generosity.
    Rest in peace aunt Wanjiru

  21. A true inspiration,
    May angels lead you home Dr.Wanjiru Kihoro,
    And may God grant your family and friends peace.

  22. My condolences go to entire family of Dr. Kihoro. She epitomized what hardwork and determination are all about. Undoubtedly, her work will remain an inspiration to many. Rest in peace.

  23. My condolences go to the entire family of Dr. Kihoro. Though I did not know her personally, I constantly hoped and prayed that she would rise from the coma and be able to rejoin her family and friends.

    I admire all her hard work and achievements; she was an inspiration for young Kenyan girls like me to broaden their horizons and to forge ahead with courage and perserverance.

    May God grant her family peace and comfort in this difficult time. May God bless them for all the unwavering faith that they have demonstrated throughout this difficult journey.

  24. To an accomplished scholar, a distinguished lady, an elite economist, a national leader, a loving wife, a devoted mother and an enterprising soul,

    I salute you and give thanks for your incredible life. Rest in peace.

  25. Wishes: For Wanjiru

    If I could write a poem
    I would write about you
    I would say your heart is like a flower
    That blooms in a desolate wasteland
    Beautiful and natural
    To bring joy and never-ending bliss

    If I could sing a song
    I would sing about you
    Amazing and extraordinary
    I would sing of love
    Enduring and intense
    Sparkling eyes and selfless acts

    If I could paint a picture
    I would paint a picture of you
    You would be a shimmering star
    Shining bright in the dark of night
    My guiding light
    When my way was lost

    If I could write a book
    I would write about you
    Passionate and splendid
    I would say you are my sister
    My comrade and my friend
    Dearly loved by many
    Sorely missed by them and by me

    © Nish-MM

  26. I met most of the Kihoro family at a party held at Nish’s house about five years ago. Wanjiru made a wicked cocktail that I have never forgotten. The warmth and joy that the Kihoro family so evidently shared and celebrated left a distinct memory in me.

    I pray that her family and friends will find comfort through this trying time. And may Wanjiru rest in peace.

    For leaving such an immense and esteemed legacy, we honour Wanjiru’s life. May her memory continue to inspire us all, to be more.

  27. I am sadden to hear about the lost of your sister. I pray that your family, friends and all who have met, laughed with and loved Dr. Kihoro will accept my deepest condolences. God bless you~

  28. Without ever meeting Wanjiru Kihoro, I much admired her work as a fighter, feminist, activist, and courageous Kenyan.

    We watched and prayed these last years after the accident that she would pull through.

    It is with very deep sadness that I sent mine and my family’s deepest condolences to her husband, children and the rest of Wanjiru’s family.

  29. Much love and prayers to the whole family- Wangui and her brothers and sister, her aunts (whom I got to know through their blogs) and her dad. Mum’s memory will live on forever through us all who were touch directly and indirectly by her love.
    Didi, love yah and remember you stay in my prayers.

  30. I can clearly remember my last conversation with Wanjiru. We were talking on the phone while she was on the plane: I only realized afterwards that I was probably one of the last people to speak with her. That evening, I watched the news of the plane crash in shock on the news, realizing that we had probably spoken only minutes before the accident. We had been working on the Evaluation Book for the African Women Committee on Peace and Development (AWCPD) on women’s best practices in peacebuilding. Wanjiru, of course, was a key mover in pushing for a gender perspective during the transformation from the OAU in the AU; in fact, she was a crucial part of the overall struggle on the continent which led to its transformation into a new body. A key leader in the African feminist movement, Wanjiru spearheaded numerous initiatives on the continent. She demonstrated the expertise and leadership of women in Africa, and was living proof of what women, when united, can accomplish. Wanjiru did not throw stones; rather, she used intelligence, persuasive debate, and let her actions speak louder than words. We miss her now, and her absence will continue to be deeply felt by the women of Africa, her many colleagues and friends.

  31. I’ve just heard about Wanjiru’s death from Dan in Brazil. I knew Wanjiru in the 1980s. The emotional and intellectual energy she gave to the causes she believed in was awesome. Even more awesome was the energy she still found for her family and friends: a really generous and spontaneous warmth. Her patience with and tolerance of those who were not her friends was also a great example. My condolences (and Chiara’s) to all her family and a big hug especially to all those with whom I shared her company – especially Wanyiri, Wangui, Pambi, Amandla, Wanjiku, Nish, Njeri, Boss, Wahu, Wambui and her Mama Matenjwa. Phil Davey Brussels

  32. I have been amazed at how much one person can do and how deeply she touched the lives of so many people.
    I marvel and wonder how she managed to do all that when all we think about is how we have no time for this and that.
    Surely, Dr. Wanjiru was a lady of a big big heart.
    Her family, especially her husband and parents, has taught many what great love and devotion is.

  33. I watched you each day as you brought Michaela to school.She was in year 4 then.Each day I prayed and asked God that you may wake up.Each conversation I had with Michaela started with..How is mum..and ended with..dont worry, mum will wake up. But you woke up in heaven and the energy you left will circulate among all of us women rights activists forever.

  34. Something came over me this evening, prompting me to think of my dear friend Nish, whom I’ve not seen or heard of in a decade. My next thought was of her warm and welcoming sister Wanjiru. From their small London flat, The Africa Center, and WOMAD festivals, they were, for me, essential London.

    So I googled and came across this site, a tribute to the late Dr Kihoro. Shock & sadness for now, but an increased desire to be in touch with friends and appreciate them while they still walk amongst us.

  35. Sail on silver girl, sail on by.Your time has come to shine.

    Rest in peace, Dr, Wanjiru Kihoro

    Peace and strength be with your family

  36. I never knew Wanjiru Kihoro but from everything I have read she sounds like an awesome person and I feel I missed something by never meeting her. I hope one day to meet Mshairi and other members of her family who are part of the blogging community. I feel I understand much better who they are and why the write what they write.

  37. I did not know Wanjiru Kihoro, but I know her sisters – Njeri, Wahu and Nish. I know that Wanjiru was and continues to be their inspiration and having worked with them, I had the privilege of understanding the great strength of character and commitment that Wanjiru had for addressing social injustices and empowering women. My sincere condolences to the Kihoro and Matenjwa families. Your pain and loss is immeasurable. Remember that you are the custodians of Wanjiru’s work, commitment, sacrifice and legacy.

    Much Love

    Rosemary Emodi (London)

  38. I did not meet Wanjiru, but from what I have read about her,she must have been an inspiration to many.Rest in peace.

    Elizabeth Mwamodo-Mwangi.

  39. I was very shocked when I learnt about the plane crash in 2003 at a time, when Wanjiru was back in Kenya to start a new era, united again as a family on Kenyan ground. I only learnt about her passing very late and felt very sad that such a great woman should depart. I only saw this page today, when I was thinking about Wanjiru, the many good talks in the ’80s and 90s in Africa House, in my house in Denmark, in KULU-Women and Development, on the boat on River Thames with a gang of the Kihoro children and my niece. A wonderful day, when Wanjiru took a day off and relaxed with her family and me. Her love for her family was great. Her concern about her beloved husband in prison was touching. I have met many women of ABANTU and Akina Mama wa Africa in different countries to whom Wanjiru has meant an important change. She was the mother, she was the teacher, the engineer, the philosopher – loved and appreciated.
    Wanjiru is one of the persons who leave this world with an long trace behind her, having made an important mark. She was a star. Blessed be she and treasured is the time we had together. Let’s continue use of ‘Wanjiru’s work and personality for inspiration. Rest in peace. Condolences to the Kihoro family.

  40. Dr. Wanjiru was like my elder sister to me! She worked with me as a consultant (from ABANTU for development) on capacity building and implementing policies to develop the Zairean Community Association (ZACA-LISANGA) in London from 1998-2000; organisation I was the Managing Director. I and the entire Congolese community pay tribute to the person who has transformed our organisation, and more important who has changed our vision towards organisation development. I personally missed her deeply, as she was to me as a sister. God take care of her spirit.
    Bob Mudingay Ilunga, London (UK)

  41. A poem For Wanjiru Kihoro

    The ghost of Toro,
    shower me with sorrow
    So horror-a terror
    when I remember you
    Dr.Wanjiru Kihoro,
    fate of the crash
    Wasn’t a wish
    For four years we wished
    That you could come out healed.
    Kwaheri Daktari
    We have the spirit of Abantu with us

  42. I often frequent this website to read what people have to say about my Mummy.

    I like that everybody loves her.
    That seems to sum her up perfectly.

    Everybody loved her.

  43. RIP

  44. Lala Ngokuthula

  45. imeet wanjiru at london ,iwas wellcomed by and mzee kihoro na watoto idont think i will ever forgot that one weekshe took me and my brother to bbc london office but the day will come when we will be free .RIP

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