Wednesday, 25 April 2018



201By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted April 25)

Horace Awori together with Kondia Wachira have crafted an utterly well-told story that’s assuredly the fulfillment of the Awori family’s collective dream come true.

In ‘Seizing the Moment: the Amazing Story of the Awori Family’, Horace has compiled and documented one of East Africa’s most illustrious dynasties. It is a feat that is unsurpassed by any other Kenyan or Ugandan family, given that none other could have traced their genealogy all the way back to 1785 to the Awori patriarch, Nambanja Muka. The book is a lifetime achievement by the one person in the family best suited for the task.

It’s a challenge Horace says he received immense support and unpublished documentation from his aunt, Canon Dr Mary Okelo, one of the many renowned members of a family that stretches across borders. It’s also a family known in both Kenya and Uganda for not only their roles in education and finance (for instance, Mary not only started the award-winning Makini Schools; she is also Kenya’s first indigenous female bank manager).

They’ve also served in top leadership roles, as for example, Kenya’s former Vice President Moody Awori. In fact, thanks to their upbringing, discipline, dedication to Christian ethics and devotion to education, excellence and hard work, the vast majority of the Awori’s have been achievers of the highest caliber.

That Horace can tell this complicated and well researched story in such a readable fashion, including facts as well as anecdotal experiences that go back decades, is a major credit to this man who only refers to himself in the context of his mother’s life story.

Ellen Peris Osinya Awori-Owori (1922- 2002) was the eldest of the 16 children of the renowned family’s 20th century patriarch, the Canon Yeremiah Musungu Awori and his beloved wife Mariamu. Ellen, who eventually qualified as a nurse and social worker, married Reverend Owori, and they spent most of their lives in Uganda (as did/does a good portion of the Awori family). But Horace, after attaining senior positions in Ugandan journalism, fell fowl with Idi Amin, causing him to flee for his life. After that, he’s played a leading role in Kenya journalism and now, with this book qualifies to be a leading family historian.

Horace’s tracing of Yeremiah Awori’s early career in the church reflects a thoughtful unfolding of an early churchman’s life and reveals why he entitled his book ‘Seizing the Moment.’ For Canon Awori clearly worked his way up through the ranks of the Anglican church, learning lessons from dedicated missionaries who Horace understands as being both spiritually minded and pragmatic to the point of encouraging young Yeremiah to study both theology and development. As such, the Canon as a father also showed his children explicitly how he wanted them to live their lives. He imbibed modernity, but he also respected his Samia community’s cultural traditions.

The book is also well indexed in scholarly style and the lives of all the offspring are noted, never forgetting all their accolades which are many.

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