Letters from Elsewhere: Charles Omari Ondiek

An' de walls came tumblin' down

Letters from Elsewhere

Today’s guest speaks to me from Africa and is brought by Jane Bwye.

SPEAKING FOR MYSELF

Thank you for having me, Miriam, and letting me come alive from the pages of Breath of Africa.

You ask me to speak for myself? Where shall I start…

My birth name was Charles Omari Ondiek and I was born in a remote village called Amayoni (which means birds) in a beautiful pocket of tropical forest in the western region of Kenya.

But I’ve used different names in the course of my tumultuous life. At Oxford, I was known as Charles (yes, as a student more mature than most, I graduated in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from that venerable university in the early 1960’s).

But when I returned home and started a career in journalism I had to cover my tracks for fear of being discovered by Mwangi, a Mau Mau oath-giver…

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