Africa Leaders Magazine

Kimani Nga’ang’a Maruge – The Oldest First Grader in Guinness Book of Records

Kimani Nga’ang’a Maruge – The Oldest First Grader in Guinness Book of Records - African Leaders Magazine

Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge, a Kenyan man in his 80s who is eager to learn to read after spending his youth fighting for Kenya’s liberation from British colonial rule, including long periods in detention camps where he was tortured . After the Kenyan government promised free education for children in 2003, the Mau Mau veteran knocked on the door of a primary school on a remote mountain in the Kenyan bush. He asked to be seated along with the other students, first graders about 6 years old.

 Maruge was initially denied a seat, but the head teacher fought to get him admitted. Maruge started school in 2004 at the age of 84 (he believed he was born in 1920, although he had no official birth certificate), and he indeed learned how to read.

His story became an international sensation, and in 2004 he flew to New York, the first time he was on a plane to address the United Nations on the importance of free education for children.

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