1987,I was just eight years old in class 3 and i was fascinated by Wambui Otieno.
Her face was all over the newspapers,as she fought the Umira Kager clan who didnt want her burying her husband at their Ngong home.The clan wanted him buried in Nyamila village,Nyalgunga in Siaya District.
I pored over the blow by blow accounts of the court proceedings that were printed out in the Daily Nation every day.
I could read pretty well for my age by then and I could not wait for my dad to bring home the paper so that I could see what would happen next.
Two things stuck out during that time,that Wambui was a woman fighting men who didn’t want her to bury her husband the way she wanted.
I will never forget picking out the words Umira Kager clan ,this band of men that were hounding the poor widow because of traditions.
Feisty woman that she was Wambui fought the clan but the clan won and her husband was buried in his ancestral home.
Years later when Kenya had almost forgotten this woman who apart from being well educated ,came from a wealthy family and was reputed to have been a Mau Mau fighter,she hit the headlines again in 2003.
She was marrying a man 39 years younger than her.
Picture from mwakilishi.com
Kenyan society was scandalized but Wambui never faltered ,she was in love with Sam Mbugua.
I was enthralled with this feisty woman.
Now sad to say she has gone to rest after being unwell for sometime.
Let us not forget the courage with which she faced all her battles her gender not withstanding.
Let us remember Wambui the woman who was willing to confront tradition that said a woman should never challenge men in African society.
Let us remember Wambui the warrior who fought in the trenches with the men in the Mau Mau war.
Let us not forget that the rights we enjoy today as women were partly as a result of the battles and wars women like Wambui and others fought.
Let us remember and not forget that we owe Wambui and other fallen heroines of this country to fight for our daughters,grand daughters that they may enjoy freedom,rights and opportunities to live in a free and democratic country regardless of what tradition says.
Women like Wambui lit candle of women rights when it was unfashionable to be so outspoken .
And now that she is gone,she has passed on the baton to the women left behind,let us keep the flame burning…….
Fare thee well Wambui Otieno- Mbugua.