5 Life Lessons from ‘The Duke of Kabeteshire’ Sir Charles Njonjo

Charles Njonjo

Kenya’s first post-independence Attorney General Charles Njonjo turned 100 years old today. Famous for his British mannerisms and 3-piece pinstripe suits with a rosebud lapel pin, hand made in London, the Duke of Kabeteshire is a formidable, powerful figure in Kenya’s Independence era and history at large wielding enormous influence.

Born in family of eight in 1920 to Senior Chief Josiah Njonjo in 1920, Njonjo’s life was and still is characterized by affluence and power. He is the only living member of Kenya’s first-ever 15-member Cabinet and indeed he is an epitome of a life well-lived and here are a few lessons you can borrow from him.

1. Family is one’s greatest gift and treasure.

While confirming receiving numerous messages of congratulations and best wishes on his 100 birthday, Mr. Njonjo upholds his family as the source of his energy and love for life.

“On this occasion, I am humbled by what I consider to be my greatest blessings: my loving family, which, as expected, has grown over the years,” he said.

Njonjo has three children with his wife all of whom are successful in various professions

2. Give back to society

He is touted as among the wealthiest men in the country. Having served as Kikuyu’s MP now Kabete Constituency after his election in 1980 and later as the Cabinet Minister for home and constitutional affairs under President Moi’s government, Njonjo said that among the things he treasures is his long service to the country, church, people and civil service.

He also served in the private sector through various boards he was in and dedicated his time to the society

“I have also dedicated many hours to numerous charities, social enterprises and educational institutions such as the Alliance High School, the Kenya High School and Starehe Boys Centre,” he noted.

3. Find the right girl

Word has it that late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had asked Njonjo to marry as he was not comfortable with an Attorney General who was still a bachelor. He then married his wife, Margaret Bryson in 1972 shortly after celebrating his 50th birthday.  In an interview with Daily Nation’s Bikozulu, Njonjo said he took too long to marry because he had not yet found the “right girl to live with’.

4. Exercise

The Duke of Kabeteshire still swims in order to keep fit. Although he has toned it down to seven laps from the 12 that he used to do in the pool. He also spends 10 minutes on the treadmill and 10 on his bike.

5. Eat healthily

Clocking 100 years did not come easy for Sir Charles Njonjo. He traded Nyama Choma for vegetables and fruits which he says has been his trick for long life.