Cynthia Salvadori

71 views
Skip to first unread message

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 10:04:21 AM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com, Goanet
We might have heard of Cynthia Salvadori, in the context of writing about Asians in Africa. Often wondered who she was, till a friend mentioned her name, and a Google search took me to this link. Not very recent, but perhaps worth knowing...

http://www.coastweek.com/obit/obit-78.htm

Coastweek -- Cynthia Salvadori at work in her Lamu retreat - she wrote an extraordinary number of books on a wide variety of subjects. PHOTO - COURTESY: JUDY ALDRICK

.

.

Cynthia Salvadori Remembered For
Her Books About Asian Community

SHE HAD A DEEP LOVE FOR KENYA AND CAME
FROM AN ANGLO-ITALIAN-KENYAN HERITAGE
.

Coastweek -- The news of Cynthia Salvadori’s sudden death in Lamu, on Monday 27th June, at the age of 76, will come as a sad shock to her many friends.

She will be remembered chiefly for her books about the Asian Communities and the Asian pioneers in Kenya.

She chose to draw attention to these communities at a time when their history had been largely ignored and their contribution to Kenyan society was underrated.

Her book ‘Through Open Doors’, published 1983, opened the eyes of many to the intricacies of the various religions and differing peoples that make up the Asian communities of Kenya.

The meticulous research and remarkable assembly of facts made this book an essential reference book on the subject, which would be hard to improve on.

She went on to collect the histories of the Asian pioneers in a number of books ‘We Came in Dhows’, ‘Two Indian Travellers’ and ‘Stories of the Punjabi Muslim Pioneers in Kenya’.

Her hallmark was always exact research with plenty of references, indexes and illustrations.

She was a perfectionist in her work and demanded it from the publishers and editors, with whom she worked.

Besides her interest in the Asian communities she also had a deep commitment to the nomadic peoples of the NFD, who lived on the borders with Ethiopia in an area that is amongst the poorest and least developed in Kenya.

She spent time in Marsabit and Moyale and was never happier than when riding her mule and collecting anthropological notes amongst the Borana people.

She later wrote a book about the Borana and also helped com-pile a dictionary of their language.

She wrote an extraordinary number of books on a wide variety of subjects.

She loved to write, contributing to magazines, fascinating articles on subjects as diverse as sea urchins, the mysterious graves at Ishakani, or Borana circumcision rites.

But as she often told me, she did not write for money, she only wrote on subjects that interested her and because she wanted to.

Her father Max Salvadori, also a prolific author and a former professor at Smith College, Massachusetts, had told her that important maxim for success as a writer, at a young age.

Cynthia had a great admiration for her father, but also inherited an artistic talent from her British mother.

Cynthia had a deep love for Kenya and came from an Anglo-Italian-Kenyan heritage.

She was born in Kenya and was always particularly proud of her mother’s ancestor Jack Haggard a former British Consul in Lamu.

He was the brother of the famous writer Rider Haggard.

Her father, who had been imprisoned by Mussolini for his anti-fascist views, came to Kenya as an exile from Italy in 1932.

When the Second World War broke out in 1939, he returned to Europe to fight, while Cynthia and her mother went to the United States where they eventually settled.

But as soon as she could, immediately after finishing university, she returned to her African roots.

Cynthia was a nomad who never liked to settle long anywhere.

She loved to travel and needed the continuous stimulus of a wide variety of people, cultures and religions.

She wore her erudition lightly, but was immensely knowledgeable and well read on any number of subjects.

Amongst her passions could be listed cats and horses, cross-word puzzles and detective novels.

She cared little about what she wore or luxuries of any kind, and always travelled light – never going anywhere without her notebook, camera and more recently her trusty computer.

Cynthia possessed immense determination and strength of character, at the end of her life she refused to have an operation on her arthritic hip, but suffered it with great stoicism, never complaining.

She also had the gift of friendship and sympathetic conversation and was most generous to those entire she befriended.

She was a person of great value, her multi-facetted talents will be difficult to replace or forget her like ever to meet again.

Cynthia will indeed be sadly missed.

- kindly contributed by Judy Aldrick, London, U.K.

--
FN* फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎ +91-9822122436  

Braz Menezes

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 11:03:36 AM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Cynthia’s Books are Library’s collectors items. ‘They Came in Dhows‘ is a 3-volumes, boxed collection. 

--


*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***


---


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.


To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.


To view this discussion on the web, visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/goa-book-club/CAMCR53LDY9DeRQ7p2jjj6HyAR3haJ1_GEO4otP4106oHkkHLNg%40mail.gmail.com.


--
Matata Books

Braz Menezes

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 11:10:42 AM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Through Open Doors is another hardcover heavyweight with an incredible amount of firsthand anecdotes and well researched anthropological info. 
She received much support both financially and in extensive dialogue with all the communities representing the Asian diaspora in Kenya.
She was rumoured to have been depressed in her later years just before she passed away in her beloved Island of Lamu.
--
Matata Books

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 12:03:57 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
I've only heard of this book. A lot. Never actually seen it. FN


-- 

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/
_/
_/  FN फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎
_/  https://archive.org/details/goa1556
_/
_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

   

Braz Menezes

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 12:14:08 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Did the photos come through?

--
Matata Books

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 12:44:55 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com

Mervyn Maciel

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 12:44:55 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Cynthia Salvadori and I were close friends for many years.
She always made it a point to visit us whenever she was in
England and it was she who introduced me to OLD AFRICA
magazine and encouraged me to write for them - which I did
and still do.
  Cynthia and I used to exchange frequent e-mails - hers were
sometimes 2 pages long but always full of interest
She was also the first author/ historian to review my first book very
favourably and even quoted it in her book, 'Through Open Doors'.
  Her magnum opus was the 3-Volume "We came in Dhows"
during the preparation of which we corresponded  a lot.
  Like me, she loved the N.F.D.(Kenya's Northern Frontier
District), and spent many days there enjoying the hospitality
of my good friend the late Fr. Paul Tablino, an
accomplished writer and historian in his own right, and an authority on
the Gabbra peoples of Northern Kenya.
    I was among the few who received a 'farewell'' postcard
from Cynthia before she left this world.
    I still treasure the many memories of this great lady who,
like me, was a nomad at heart.
   Attaching a photo taken when Cynthia had lunch at our
manyatta.


Mervyn Maciel





--
With Cynthia Salvadori in our garden-1993.jpg

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 12:44:57 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
How extraordinary that she should be so little known -- or is it only me?
Do you mind if I forward this to Awaaz in Kenya? It's right up their street.
Jeanne

--

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 12:44:59 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Braz, is there stuff about Goans, including Goan pioneers?
Jeanne

joaoroquelit...@yahoo.com

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 6:48:52 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Little known? She is a legend, a goddess of the original oral histories documentation of the South Asian diaspora in East Africa. She paved the way to bring to light a little known, mostly forgotten and largely undervalued history. There are few references to Goans in her work but they are essential ones. 

All best wishes,
selma

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 25, 2020, 6:49:22 PM8/25/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
This is what Mervyn said in 2003:

Q: For someone wanting to look at this field, which resources would you suggest?

MERVYN MACIEL The excellent opus by my good friend and author, Cynthia Salvadori, provided me with most of the information. Her two tomes, "Through Open Doors" (first published in 1983) and "We Came in Dhows" (three masterly volumes published in 1996) were a real asset.

http://www.goanvoice.org.uk/supplement/MervynMaciel.html

A QUERY: By the way, could anyone share the names of books which we might have not noticed that focus on the Goan community of East Africa, or have references to it? And how many (or which?) would there be dealing with the Indian community there? Curious....

FN




--
FN* फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎ +91-9822122436 
Can't get through on mobile? Please SMS/WhatsApp

Mervyn Maciel

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 3:00:28 AM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Hi Fred,

Cynthia's book, "Through Open Doors" does have a chapter
on Goans including some photos.
In the second tome, "We came in Dhows", there are articles/photos
by Goans(including myself)!
   The list of books mentioned earlier by Braz are the only ones 
I know of but others may have more information?


Mervyn Maciel

fredericknoronha2

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 3:03:56 AM8/26/20
to The Goa Book Club
Yes, the photos did come through. Thanks for sharing, Braz. FN
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-club+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
--
Matata Books








--


*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***


---


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.


To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-club+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.








--


*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***


---


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.


To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-club+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
--
Matata Books

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 9:00:40 AM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Surprised that Jeanne didn't hear about Salvadori. Those who wanted to read about Indians in Africa were indeed pointed to her works. 
Africa woud remain the "dark continent" if not for her works that shone a shining light on the arrival, development and the beauty of the region.
I came to know of some of the leaders like Makhan Singh through readings articles that quotes her.
If I remember well, I don't think our Goan experts on Africa quoted her at length in their works. A pioneering writer who has brought Africa before the eyes of the western world.
Eugene Correia

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 9:20:24 AM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Not sure that Jeanne was looking at Goan (or Indian) issues in East Africa when the Italian-origin Salvadori (whose dad was being persecuted by the Fascists pre WWII) was writing on the topic. Her dad, of course, was well connected with this field, and even played a role in shaping the history of the Indian diaspora in Africa (Kenya, that is) around the Independence of that country. Have you read his book (Brown Man, Black Country), Eugene? If not, why not? FN

On Wed, 26 Aug 2020 at 18:30, Eugene Correia <eugene....@gmail.com> wrote:
Surprised that Jeanne didn't hear about Salvadori. Those who wanted to read about Indians in Africa were indeed pointed to her works.  
--

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 1:33:19 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Jeanne took an elective course at Syracuse University in the US in the 70s on the history of East African Asians. The book that made the biggest impression was Portrait of a Minority, edited by Dharam Ghai and Yash Ghai and republished by OUP in 1970. (I particularly like this line from one of the contributors: "To be Asian in Africa is to be always wrong" -- I quote it in the e-version of my father's book.) I'm curious now about whether Cynthia Salvadori was mentioned in Portrait of a Minority -- she must have figured in the bibliographies.
I really liked the AwaaZ article written by Zarina Patel at the time of Salvadori's death in 2011. Zarina Patel is the granddaughter of AM Jeevanjee. She is one of the publishers of AwaaZ and a formidable East African Asian herself.
xx

--
*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Mervyn Maciel

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 1:34:03 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
At the risk of appearing to be blowing my own trumpet, I
quote below an extract from Cynthia Salvadori's review
of my first book which appeared in the journal of the
Kenya Institute of Management:
 
  "We each see the world through our eyes, but one of 
the greatest value of published memoirs is that it enables us
to get a glimpse through other people's eyes.
Mervyn Maciel's 'Bwana Karani'  is a real eye-opener.
We have innumerable records of life in the early days
by Europeans in Kenya - from the European viewpoint.
I am deeply and personally grateful to Mervyn Maciel,
for his  is the only work of its kind to be published by
a member of any Asian community in Kenya"

Mervyn Maciel

--
*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 1:39:53 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
You blow your trumpet, Mervyn, and I'll blow mine!
(More seriously, wow! That's quite something to get a comment of that kind from Salvadori!)
On the other hand, I quite forgot about this interview, archived online, which I accidentally ran into while googling for something else. Mervyn, over 18 years back... The world was younger then :-)....)
FN

Mervyn Maciel

Frederick Noronha interviews Mervyn Maciel
Source :Goa Messenger. 1st July 2003.
 

Mervyn Maciel sees himself as a Kenyan-born Goan. This septuagenarian loved the African bush, and had a "particular fascination" for the tribes. Some years back he penned 'Bwana Karani' (Merlin, UK, 1985), a personal narrative of two decades in East Africa. The title literally translates to 'Mister
Clerk', the humble capacity in which he started his working career in Kenya.

He himself joined the Kenya Civil Service in 1947 and worked my way up from a junior clerk to a senior executive level. When his family (wife Elsie and four children) moved to the U.K. in 1966 following the Africanization of his post, he worked here in various managerial capacities in the private sector.

"In retirement my days are taken up by doing social work for various charities; I still enjoy and do a fair bit of writing and believe it or not, even cooking some of our Goan specialties," says Maciel. After their golden wedding anniversary, they grow their own produce.

Wife Elsie was the first Goan to have her "Goan Cookery Book" published in the U.K in 1983. His brother Wildfred was an avid writer and freelance journalist. Elder brother Joseph is a Jesuit, retired at St Xavier's High School in Bombay.

More recently, Maciel mer...@bwana-karani.freeserve.co.uk was speaking at a luncheon hosted at Henley-on-Thames reminding former British colonials, who ruled Kenya, that Goans too played a role in Kenya.

"Why we, former members of the Administration were excluded from membership (of the elitist Kenya Administration Club) for nearly 30 years is something I find difficult to understand. You obviously had your reasons, but with so few of us in the U.K., I can assure you, you wouldn't have been swamped, nor would there have been any takeover bid," he told them.

"Unfortunately, our (the Goan) contribution in the civil service, more particularly the Provincial Administration, although verbally acknowledged in speeches by former Governors, senior officials and even politicians, has only recently, save with a few exceptions, merited a mention in some of the
published works," he pointed out.

Maciel spoke to FREDERICK NORONHA, outlining this issue. Excerpts:


FN: What do you see as the Goan role in colonial East Africa?

I have always felt that scant recognition was given for the tremendous Goan contribution in the civil service. It was as though the successes attained were the work of the Europeans only.

To set the record straight, I felt my opportunity had arrived when, in 1997, I was invited by Sir John Johnson to contribute a chapter to the book, "Colony to Nation". But because of financial restraints it was not published until this year!

FN: Why did the Goan role go un-noticed?

As I said earlier, all memoirs by former white Colonial officials spoke only of the European achievement as though the Goans hardly existed.

Many, it seems, chose to forget that during their early service careers, it was the Goans who 'showed them the ropes', even though we had no training ourselves!

FN: From the chapters of colonialism -- a problematic period, to say the least -- how do Goans emerge?

By and large, the Goans do come out in a positive light. But as mentioned earlier, any tributes were all verbal with nothing recorded for future generations.

FN: How many Goans would there have been in Kenya and East Africa at any point of time? Do you have estimates?

I'm not really sure, but I would say something between 18-20,000.

Of this number some 500 were in the Administration; others worked for the various government departments. Many more worked in the private sector i.e. banking, commerce etc.

There was a small number who went into business, grocers, tailors. Professionals (were there too) included doctors, teachers, lawyers, musicians etc.

FN: For someone wanting to look at this field, which resources would you suggest?

The excellent opus by my good friend and author, Cynthia Salvadori, provided me with most of the information. Her two tomes, "Through Open Doors" (first published in 1983) and "We Came in Dhows" (three masterly volumes published in 1996) were a real asset.

FN: Where have the East African Goans since reached?

Many emigrated to Europe (chiefly the U.K.), Canada, Australia and even the U.S.A. Some retired to Goa. Those, like me, who emigrated, left more because of political changes following independence and for the betterment of their children's future.

FN: How did Goans do elsewhere in Africa?

I have no experience of the other E.A. States, but imagine that the Goans were well respected and regarded in whatever territory they served.

FN: There were very few Goans who took the side of the Africans in the de-colonialism struggle. How do you read this?

Pio Gama Pinto, like his brother Rosario (a good friend of mine), had veins 'flowing with political blood'. They risked all to further the cause they believed in and, as in the case of Pio, sadly, paid the price.

Most Goans of that era, with a few exceptions were not political animals. Besides, those of us in the civil service could not join any political party or express our views.

I think it was the Indians, rather that Goans, who agitated about being given a voice in the Legislative Council. Fritz D'Souza and Oscar Fonseca are two others who had political leanings.

Jomo Kenyatta did include some Goan blood into his first Cabinet by appointing as his right hand man none other than Joseph Zuzarte, son of a Goan District Clerk (Peter Zuzarte).

Conforming to the political correctness of the day, Joseph Zuzarte chose to go as Joseph Murumbi -- serving in Kenyatta's first cabinet as Foreign Minister, Minister of State in the P.M's office and even Vice-President.

FN: You had some blunt words for the British administrators at their recent meet in the UK. What did you remind them?

(There's no need for an) apology for highlighting the Goan contribution especially since the majority of posts in the Administration, especially those of Cashier, were filled almost exclusively by Goans.

(This was) much to the annoyance of the other Asian communities as can be seen from comments made by that distinguished Q.C., J.S. Mangat. In telling how Goans in particular dominated the Administration, he cites Sir Charles Eliot who, in an official report in 1901 had this to say: "The District officers were usually assisted by a Goan or more rarely European clerk; in the Coast towns there is also a Customs official, usually a Goan; even the Germans envied the British Administration for their Goan staff who they observed 'have enough experience to avoid incurring the distrust which so many of our members inspire'."

Mangat then went on to quote from a D.C.'s report which spoke of the trust one could place in the Goans. Needless to say, Mangat added, "All the names mentioned by the D.C. are Goan (Fernandes, Ferreira, Braganca, Menezes)." He must have forgotten the D'Souzas.

(Others too were not) happy with the Goan involvement in Government service. I understand that when Winston Churchill visited Kenya in his capacity as Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, a delegation of White settlers protested against the employment of Goans in the Administration.

No notice was taken of their protests, but in 1934 a Committee was instructed to look into the possibility of employing European clerks, and this is briefly what they had to say:

"We have given consideration as to whether increased economy and efficiency could be attained by the more general employment of European clerks, and our opinion is in the negative. We have been favourably impressed by the dedication with which the majority of Goan clerks do the work required of them, and also of their conspicuous loyalty and willingness to work overtime, and their fixed determination to finish at all costs, the work that has to be done. It would be out of the question to employ in District offices, European clerks other than those of the highest integrity and proven ability, and in any case the salaries they would demand would be much higher than those paid to the Goans."

So (I told the Kenyan administrators) "you got us on the cheap!"

(I mentioned that) while some of us may still harbour memories of the injustice within the service, now is not the time for "if only's". We were privileged to work under men of quality and distinction, from some of whom we learnt much, and to whom I hope we were also able to leave behind memories of the valuable Goan contribution towards the building of the Kenya Nation.

The speech was before some 100 former Administration (men who ruled Kenya) and their wives. (ENDS)

http://www.goanvoice.org.uk/supplement/MervynMaciel.html




--
FN* फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎ +91-9822122436 

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 2:38:07 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Does that mean that there is no other published memoir by a single Asian in Kenya recording life in those 'early' days? Can that be true? I suppose Fitz de Souza's memoir doesn't qualify in this context as it was published after Salvadori's death. 
Robert Gregory has a chapter on literature and the arts in his book on the Asian contribution to 'the rise and fall of philanthropy' in East Africa (published in 1992), but I couldn't find specific references to memoirs other than Peter Nazareth's In a Brown Mantle.
My father's book and Sofia Mustafa's are mentioned as 'autobiographies'. My father's, however, is more a political than a personal account, although it has some interesting material on early times in Kenya.
I guess Asians did better in the field of philanthropy than that of writing. All the more credit to Mervyn!
(Jeanne) 


Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 4:36:01 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Writing on Goa from East Africa (and Lusophone Africa)

          If my hon.  friend is referring to the Goans born
          in Goa, Goa is a Portuguese state.  Goans born in
          the Colony are British subjects, but a Goan who has
          come from Goa to live in the Colony is not British
          but a protected person, though his children, if
          born here, are British....  No, I am sorry, I have
          made a mistake.  A Goan coming from Goa to live in
          this Colony is not a British protected person.  The
          question was put and carried.  -- Willian, in the
          Kenya National Assembly Official Record (Hansard) 1939.


Cliff J Pereira has mentioned these books in his writing:

* Richard J Burton's The Lake Regions of Central Africa (1860)
* Harry Johnston's The Uganda Protectorate (1902)
* Out of Africa (1937) by Karen Blixen Finecke (doesn't mention)
* Errol Trzchinski' (1988): The Kenya Pioneers. Ch on Dr Ribeiro
* To My Wife -- Fifty Camels (1966) by Alyce Reece
* Cynthia Salvadori: Through Open Doors (1983)
* Cynthia Salvadori: We Came in Dhows (1996)
* Ladis da Silva: The Americanization of Goans (1976)
* Mervyn Maciel: Bwana Karani (1985)
* Teresa Albuquerque: Goans of Kenya (1999)

* Community, Memory and Migration in a Globalizing World: Margret Frenz
* Forward to Independence: My Memoirs. Fitz DeSouza
* Brown Man, Black Country. JM Nazareth.
* Blanche Rocha D'Souza: Harnessing the Trade Winds
  a cultural, social and economic history of the East African Indian. 
* Yesterday in Paradise. Cyprian Fernandes (2016 and later)
* A Railway Runs Through. Selma Carvalho.
* Butcher, Baker, Doctor, Diplomat. Selma Carvalho.
* Stars Next Door. Cyprian Fernandes.
* Sita Valles: Revolucionária, Comunista até à morte: Leonor Figueiredo
* Sita Valles: A Revolutionary Until Death. Leonor Figueiredo. (Angola)
* Battles Waged, Lasting Dreams: Silvia Braganca on Aquino Braganza
* Waiting for the Sunrise: Judy Luis Watson (Goan musicians of Dar) 

Fiction

* Peter Nazareth The General is Up. (1991)
* Peter Nazareth: In a Brown Mantle (1981)
* Braz Menezes' Matata Trilogy.
* Vasanji, etc might have some minor Goan character

Might have partial or briefer mentions:

* Into the Diaspora Wilderness: Selma Carvalho
* Lawrence Mbogoni: Miscegenation, Identity and Status in Colonial Africa
* Stella Mascarenhas-Keyes: Goans in London: Portrait of a Cat.As. Comm.
* Profiles of Eminent Goans: J Clement Vaz
* A Stranger at My Table: Ivo de Figueiredo
* Shack & Skinner (1979): Strangers in African Society 
* Uhuru and the Kenya Indians: The Role of a Minority Community
  in Kenya Politics. Dana April Seidenberg. Vikas, 1983.
* A Life Well Spent: A biography of Pascoal de Mello, MBE
  Teresa Albuquerque. 1996.
* Kenya Past and Present. Has article by Mervyn Maciel
  "Memoirs of a frontier man: The Goan contribution to the
  Kenyan administration"  2007
* Community souvenirs, such as Magic 'n Memories and a Safari
  to Yesterday. Kenya Nite, Sept 1991.
* Magazines like Goan Digest (UK), Pulse (Canada), etc
* References in the Hansard, etc
* Occasional reports in the 'Goa Today', 'Goan Voice' (Nairobi) etc

* S. Trovao: Comparing postcolonial identity formations: legacies
  of Portuguese and British colonialisms in East Africa.
  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504630.2012.661996

Surely, would have missed some on this hurriedly-drawn list.
The problem as I see it, is that (i) the Goa book market is
scattered and mostly invisibilised (ii) little to no efforts
made to promote all Goa books, rather than "our own" books. 
-- 
FN* फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎ +91-9822122436 

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 4:38:45 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
I must confess that i enjoyed reading Merwyn`s experiences in the hinderlands of Kenya. He has provide pen-pictures of the Kenya beyond its towns and the lifestyles of thev tribal communities he began to admire and learn about.
To someone who wasn`t born in Africa but heard tales from near and far relatuves, the African-Goan writers have shone a light on the African nations.
Since Africa wasn`t a pressing subjectto me, it remained at the bhe back of my reading list. Much like Salvodori, I assume Goans loved the land and many African-Goans in Toronto keep harping on their good times there.
the film, Missisipi Masala, captured the essence of Uganda and I felt my heart break to see the Indian character told by his Ugandan friend that he has to leave, as per the marching orders of the BIG, FAT General Idi Amin,  though he preferred to stay.
For many, it was a Paradise Lost.
i still have to read Jeanne`s father`s narration of his political life.

Eugene

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 5:45:06 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Frederick, I guess your list also makes the point that the only East African Asian /Goan memoir, besides Fitz's, is Merwyn's.
Sorry, there's Cyprian's too.
xx

--
*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 26, 2020, 5:56:49 PM8/26/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
The list is far from complete. I'm sure I missed out many.... Just listed what I could find easily. Hopefully others will add to it. Even Google has a failing memory, like us, at times. FN
FN* फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎ +91-9822122436 

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 3:24:30 AM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
The idea is not volume but selection by category, implying some knowledge of content, meaning as opposed to mass. 
😶

--
*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 3:24:30 AM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
FN, I had mentioned quite sometime back that Nazareth's book is there on my bookshelf. However, I read few pages, tI flipped some  pages for a glance through, and I noted that he was part of Indians who fought for their rights.
I will read it as soon as I finish reading your published ones, Newman's second volume. Then comes Sita Valles.

--
*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 3:24:30 AM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Vassanji's The Gunny Sack has a Goan teacher, if I remember correctly. Can't 
remember if his short stories  Uhuru Street, has any.
The Goan Masala anthology has Africa-Goans touching on their lives.

Eugenre









--
*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Pedro

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 3:24:30 AM8/27/20
to The Goa Book Club
Thanks Fred. I'd forgotten all about that interview!
Cynthia Salvadori was very generous too. She offered to
sell my book in Kenya and got our mutual friend(Judy Adrich)
to collect the books from me and take them to Kenya. We
used to correspond on an almost daily basis!


Mervyn Maciel

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 3:25:32 AM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
That is the second step... FN

Frederick Noronha

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 3:53:08 AM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
You're right about Goa Masala, apologies for missing that out when I shouldn't have! 
As far as Vasanji goes, isn't the Goan schoolteacher in The Book of Secrets?
Have not come across The Gunny Sack.
FN

On Thu, 27 Aug 2020 at 12:54, Eugene Correia <eugene....@gmail.com> wrote:
Vassanji's The Gunny Sack has a Goan teacher, if I remember correctly. Can't 
remember if his short stories  Uhuru Street, has any.
The Goan Masala anthology has Africa-Goans touching on their lives.
 -- 

Pedro

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 3:54:00 AM8/27/20
to The Goa Book Club
I think that in referring to my book as being 'the first by any member of
the Asian community in Kenya' - Cynthia Salvadori was talking of the
situation at the time -i.e. 1985.
There have been subsequent memoirs since e.g. Fitz's and Cyprian's.


Mervyn Maciel

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 4:39:31 AM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Read Sita Valles first, Eugene.
It's wonderfully composed in no-nonsense prose.
I have been writing a review in my head ever since I read it a couple of weeks ago.
And singing Hallelulaj to Frederick.
Jeanne

Sajan

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 12:22:22 PM8/27/20
to The Goa Book Club
Dear Jeanne, 

Do write that review of the Sita Valles book. And post it here. 

I haven't read the book (which Rico has kindly sent me) yet, but I am familiar with the Sita Valles story. And it's exactly the sort of thing now happening in Delhi, with idealistic young people being dubbed 'urban naxals' and arrested on terrorism charges. And members of their family and circle of friends being hounded for guilt by association. Pamela D'Mello writes, "In March 1978, her [Sita Valles'] older brother Aldemar Valles, an electrical engineer who had eschewed political activity, was executed without trial – merely for bearing the surname of his sister." 

I come from a state with an elected communist government, and it is quite unnerving to have one's legitimate political beliefs tied to terrorism and global jihad and what-have-you, with hundreds of right-wing lunatics condemning your state -- a very successful one, I might add -- and baying for your blood on TV channels and social media.

I don't know if you are following the kerfuffle over Bloomsbury's decision to drop a book on the 2020 Delhi riots (during and after which -- the riots, I mean -- many young activists, younger than Valles, were jailed for nameless crimes). I have seen a copy of the book, and it's soaked in the kind of toxic innuendo and malice that I suppose Angolans of the 1970s would be very familiar with, that very often lead to firing squads and lynch mobs. 

The criminalization of dissent is a work in progress across the world. 

Anyway, I shall deck myself in saffron robes and carry worry beads and pretend I have never read The Communist Manifesto. (I need hardly add that having the 'wrong' kind of books in your library is now considered a crime in India). 

Do post that review here.

warm regards,
Sajan


Nazareth, Peter

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 12:22:22 PM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com

Dear Frederick et. Al,

I am confused by all the activity about books at the same time as I am teaching a class of selected novels by the International Writing program through Zoom on my laptop at the same time as I have been giving suggestions to John Otim of Uganda who is finetuning a novel on Idi Amin called Strongman inspired (he says) by my two novels at the same time as you mention Moyez Vassanji’s The  Gunny Sack.

The senior publisher in America of Heineman gave me the manuscript of Vassanji’s “The Gunny Sack” to read and evaluate in the1980’s.  I read it and recommended publication.

As soon as it was published, Vassanji was invited to the International Writing Program in Iowa City and I launched The Gunny Sack in Prairee Lights Bookstore and I taught it in my class on African Literature in the African-American World studies program and Moyez was in the class.  He was very relieved when Mary Gravitt, an African American scholar who attended every class I taught, praised The Gunny Sack.

The following year Vassanji came back to Iowa City for the launching of his book of stories.

I taught his The Book of Secrets several times.

Vassanji tended to base his characters on real life people, which is acceptable for novelists.  He also tended to draw from characters from different communities, which is also acceptable, as is making reference to other books.

I taught his novels several times, but have not kept up with his work because there is much to teach.

The Vassanjis are publishers too.  They published some of my work, chiefly in their journal, which they brought out several times.  The journal cam to an end suddenly.  I think they did this to focus on publishing books.  When I say “They”, I should say “Nurjehan Aziz”.

There is a major character who is a Goan teacher in The Book of Secrets.  As a teacher ,who came from India, he was able to provide certain perspectives on Africa.

Best.

Peter

--

*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Nazareth, Peter

unread,
Aug 27, 2020, 5:04:11 PM8/27/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com

Jean,

“In a Brown Mantle” is a novel.  It is  not a memoir.  I never met  Pio Gama Pinto.  His presence in the novel is imagined. 

The narrator of the novel was never a politician.  This too was imagined.

Best.

Peter

 

From: goa-bo...@googlegroups.com <goa-bo...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Jeanne Hromnik
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2020 1:31 PM
To: goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Subject: [External] Re: [GOABOOKCLUB] Cynthia Salvadori

 

Does that mean that there is no other published memoir by a single Asian in Kenya recording life in those 'early' days? Can that be true? I suppose Fitz de Souza's memoir doesn't qualify in this context as it was published after Salvadori's death. 

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 2:29:24 AM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
If Peter says that the Goa school-teacher is in The Book of Secrets is true. Having read those books long ago, I definitely forgot.
If you ask me now about the story-lines in thee books, I will draw a blank.
So will be the case of Naipaul and RK Narayan, and many others. Nowadays I forget where I left my keys. I am still trying to remember where I left my sunglasses, though it should be somewhere at home.
Fear is that it may mean early signs of dementia.
Eugene



--
*** Please be polite and on-topic in your posts. ***
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Goa Book Club" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to goa-book-clu...@googlegroups.com.

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 3:40:56 AM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Dear Peter
Why did you choose to use the real person's name (Pio Gama Pinto) for the imagined character? Is this a literary device? I notice you do the reverse when calling the real country -- Uganda -- by the imagined name Damibia in The General is Up. Clearly, that, too, has a purpose. 
Would you say, likewise, that Idi Amin is an imagined character? Did you ever meet him? 
I recently read Fitz de Souza's memoirs and was obliged to re-imagine Fitz, who was a familiar figure to me through my early years in Kenya. Now I no longer know which is the more imaginary character -- the Fitz of my youth or the Fitz that Fitz has chosen to depict in his memoirs!
I don't recall ever meeting Pio. However, his brother Rosario was well known to me. I wish someone of the calibre of Leonor Figueiredo would write a Sita Valles type book on Pio, based on the recollections of those who knew him and such documents as are available. His wife Emma is also an impressive character.
Best wishes
Jeanne


Nazareth, Peter

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 9:24:15 AM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com

Dear Jeanne,

Jeanne,

I called my character Pius Cota.

Rosario Pinto assumed that the character was Pio Gama Pinto and decided that I did not know his brother well and when he returned from the US to England, he was going to sue me.

I never heard from him again.  I did meet a Goan attorney in England  who implied that Rosario had contacted him and he had told him (Rosario) there was no case.

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 11:14:46 AM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Isn't a newly-published book on Pio out?
Eugene


Mervyn Maciel

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 12:01:02 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Yes, Shiraj Durani brought out his book on Pio Gama Pinto=
Kenya's Unsung Martyr.


Mervyn Maciel

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 1:40:44 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com

Any reviews of the Durrani book on Pio? 

Eugene


On Fri., Aug. 28, 2020, 1:36 p.m. Eugene Correia, <eugene....@gmail.com> wrote:
Is Pio relevant today in Kenya? Is g
Freedom history taught in schools and, if so, and does Pio get a prominent place in it?
I first heard of him when his sister, Sevigne Gama PintonAthaide gave me a small booklet that was published on Pio's third death anniversary.
The booklet had tributes from Kenyan politicians and some who were co-fighters with him in Kenya's freedom struggle.
I think a movie on the heroic deeds or rather on the revolutionary lifestyes of Pio and Sita would be great in letting young Goans know about their roles in Africa, which is a large part of Goan diasporic history.
Sevigne is there to add her views. I was to visit her in Taleigao and told her daughter I would make come. But two trips to Panaji were occupied with some important personal work.
Goa's journalists must get her views, not just on Pio but her fasts in Goa against Bandodksr and her time in the Maharashtra Upper House as a nominated Christian member.
Someone should do when she's still alive. Also Francis Ribeiro, the Herald ex-sports editor, god-child of Pio, would be an interesting person to add, as an extensive story on Pio.

Eugene

Mervyn Maciel

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 1:49:39 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
You will find the Review here, Eugene.
Regards


Mervyn Maciel

20 Oct 2018 - Cyprian Fernandes, a former Chief Reporter of the Nation and the ... and 'Stars Next Door', reviews the recently released 'Pio Gama Pinto, ... the long-awaited book on Pio Gama Pinto, edited by Shiraz Durrani, is finally here.


Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 1:54:09 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Dear Peter
Rosario was never a literary type of person. Here am I trying to reconcile Pio, Pius and literary theory while he is/was trying to sue you. Really, 'our' Goans amaze me. They are too busy fighting to write memoirs or novels.
However, you are a corrective element and for that 'we' can only be grateful.
I haven't read In a Brown Mantle, as you may have guessed, but I am going to do something about that.
Very best wishes
Jeanne

Jeanne Hromnik

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 1:54:09 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Won't you post it, Merwyn?
The site is not a secure one, according to my pc.
Jeanne

Eugene Correia

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 3:01:15 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Thanks Merwyn. It gives an inkling about Pio's idealism. Talking to a couple Kenya Goans in Toronto I got the feeling Pio was seen as an "outcaste" in Kenya's Goan society. Or, perhaps ?made to feel like a "pariah".
Just like on Goa, there were Goans, including some whomcould be called "public intellectuals" who fought on the side of freedom struggle from the Portuguese, and these were seen as "betrayers" to Goa's self-dignity if not transparently pro-Portuguese.
Drawing a comparison, though it may not be apt, Sevigne stood out in her political behaviour as a "mergerist" and was closely aligned with the MGP, maybe not a card-carrying member of the party.
In that respect, I ask Kenyan-Goans on thus forum if the new nation of Kenya can be said to be duly independent or leaning on Brtish shoulders? 
My understanding is that there are still Goan families in Kenya. Will the Goans who left have any desire to go back if they could help build tge nstion where some were born and some made their careers. Or, just for tge love of the nation and its environment, as Cynthia Salvadori did?

Eugene


Nazareth, Peter

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 5:28:59 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com

Dear Jean,

A package reply to things you said and asked earlier.

I was working in the Ministry of Finance in Uganda.  We had to take an oath not to give away secrets.  I decided to write a novel set in a country called Damibia so (1) I could not be accused of writing about Uganda and making it possible I would end up in prison.

(2) I did not want to deal with all issues in Uganda: only what I wanted to focus on.

(3) Damibia was a good name because it sounded like Namibia.

(3) The narrator thought he was not a practicing catholic but he was always cursing, Damn and Hell.  He realized that he thought he had left the Church but he realized the Church never left him.

His story was triggered by the assassination attempt on his friend and the leader of the country he had fled to England this led him to confess. 

But in a Catholic confession, one tries to avoid the biggest sin.  The duty of the father confessor is to draw him to the sin.

The novel has a number of conscience figures, who turn up from his conscience, the biggest of which is Pius Cota.  He turns up when the narrator is going to do something bad.

When it came to writing “The General is Up”, I decided to use the name “Damibia” again since it had worked the first time.

Your other question was whether I ever met Amin.  I did.  The scene in “The General is Up” where Ronald has his back to the wall while he hears the General give a scary speech while launching a new development bank was based on my experience: I had my back to the wall in the real story from which that scene is taken..

I once went for a drive with my wife and daughters in Entebbe and as we turned round a corner, I found myself looking into Amin’s face and he into mine as he turned round the corner going in the opposite direction.

Way back, I used to have two nightmares about Amin.  One, that he discovered that I had written a novel based on him and I would be trying to hide it from him.  The other was that he would make me an ambassador to another country, which was first step to being killed.

Mervyn Maciel

unread,
Aug 28, 2020, 5:28:59 PM8/28/20
to goa-bo...@googlegroups.com
Here it is Jeanne.

Best.


Mervyn


Cyprian Fernandes: PIO GAMA PINTO Blood on British and Kenyan hands







Pinto: Blood on the British governor’s and Kenyan hands
Pio Gama Pinto, Kenya’s Unsung Martyr 1927-1965
Edited by Shiraz Durrani

The long-awaited book on Pio Gama Pinto is finally here. It was launched in Nairobi on
October 16. It is simply just a word or two short of being colossal. Perhaps, one flaw is that there is too much repetition. 

However, I found myself thinking about a gigantic banquet. Your tour guide is the book’s Editor and he takes you on an almost never-ending safari to the events, the people, milestones, and most of all the history … with Pinto in the starring role and the reader will get to know virtually everything there is to know about him. Sometimes the book is taxing to read, other times it races along. All time Pinto is never too far from the reader’s gaze (if only in the mind). The entre is about one of the key figures of the Kenyan struggle for freedom: Senior Chief Koinange. Appointed by the colonial government, he surprised them by choosing to fight for freedom. He was also a man Pinto looked up to.

The other two big influences in Pio’s life were India and Goa. He spent five years in the latter agitating against the Portuguese. His association India was far longer because India chose to support the Kenyans’ fight for freedom and played an important role throughout the emancipation period.
But Goa was never too far from Pinto’s mind, as Fitz De Souza recalls his talks on his early days in Goa:
“One day during our discussions, Pio suggested that we should do something in East Africa to assist the liberation of Goa. I was a little surprised and told him that while I was very sympathetic to the liberation of Goa, and indeed the rest of the world, I thought as we were East Africans we should confine our activities to East Africa. We might dissipate our slender resources and there was also the risk of being misunderstood, even by our friends. He explained that as a student and a young man in India he had taken part in the struggle for the liberation of Goa. He had actively assisted in the formation of the Goa National Congress and escaped from Goa only when police were searching for him with a warrant to arrest and deport him to an island of West Africa. It was our duty, he suggested, as socialists to assist all liberation fronts. Even if we did not consider ourselves Goans we had names such as De Souza, Pinto, etc. Portuguese colonialism was as bad as any other.”

The main course, naturally, is Pio Gama Pinto. Durrani does not solve the mystery of Pio’s assassination but through the words of the various players, he takes the reader on a guided tour to the assassination and underlines what we have known for a long time: It was a conspiracy of the British Government, especially the last Governor of Kenya, Malcolm MacDonald, and Jomo Kenyatta and his KANU moderates in power. We will never know exactly who ordered the assassination or who pulled the trigger. That is the other tragedy that will claw at the heart of anyone who can remember the assassinations in Kenya, because without closure, no one can rest in peace either or earth or in the afterlife. Perhaps, there are one or two people who could offer Kenya the sacrament of closure or will they too take it to their graves? Just as Njoroge Mungai, James Gichuru, Mbiyu Koinange and others may have done?

“…the engineers of the neo-colonial Kenya feared him even more than the colonial authorities did and they had him assassinated.”

There are many voices in this book but few are the so-called KANU moderates, except of course, the late Joseph Murumbi and the former Deputy Speaker of the House, Fitz De Souza. But then, they were Pinto’s personal friends.

Pinto was driven by a single ideal:

Kenya’s Uhuru must not be transformed into freedom to exploit, or freedom to be hungry, and live in ignorance. Uhuru must be Uhuru for the masses – Uhuru from exploitation, from ignorance, disease and poverty. The sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands of Kenya’s freedom fighters must be honoured by the effective implementation of KANU’s policy – a democratic, African, socialist state in which the people have the rights, in the words of the KANU manifesto: “to be free from economic exploitation and social inequality”.

So there we have it: Moderates on one side and Oginga Odinga and his socialist supporters on the other. Pio chose the socialists and in doing that probably signed his death warrant because the moderates feared his organisational and strategic skills would lead to revolutionary changes in Kenya unless he was stopped.

Malcolm MacDonald: “I thought if the moderates … came to power in independent Kenya they would not only be moderate in their national policies, in economic and social and political affairs, but on the side of moderation in international affairs, and for example not go Communist and not come under the influence of any other communist anti-British, anti-Western power.”

The imperialist manipulation of Kenya’s politics provided the momentum that ultimately led to the assassination of Pio Gama Pinto, according to the book.

It was in the corridors of Parliament where Pinto’s fate was sealed.  “It was around Sessional Paper No.10 of 1965: African Socialism and its implications for Planning in Kenya that the polarisation between Pio and KANU erupted exacerbated by revelations of misappropriation of funds by the Kenyatta regime.

“The paper, written by an American Edgar O. Edwards, despite its claims of socialism was a perfect articulation of how subservient capitalism would be developed in the post-independence period. It was in opposition to this text that Pio wrote a counter proposal which, had he not been assassinated, could very well led, some believe, to the removal of Kenyatta as president through a vote of confidence and the emergence of Odinga as the new president.”

Fitz De Souza: “He had falling out with the Powers that Be and he got into a shouting match with Kenyatta over what was perceived as land grabbing by those in power. He refused to participate in such things as he was all for equality.”

There was also the issue about missing money which was given to Government.

Pheroze Nowrojee: “This money was not distributed to these ex-freedom fighters and ex-detainees for whom it was intended. Instead a few powerful persons pocketed it. Pio vehemently opposed this. He spoke out against this betrayal of the freedom struggle. He said he would raise the matter in Parliament to ensure the sums be paid over to the ex-freedom fighters and ex-detainees. The powerful persons saw such an exposure as a threat to their wealth and their positions. They decided to get rid of Pio.”

The money in question was “grants and loans for development, land settlement, compensation for overseas officers and administration (12,400,000 pounds) from Britain.

In the final analysis, according to Durrani, “the imperialist manipulation of Kenya’s politics provided the momentum that ultimately led to the assassination of Pio Gama Pinto. Thus, the responsibility for this death lies not only with the Government of Kenya but also with the British Government whose policy and actions supported the Western-oriented Government.

“The assassination was part of the overall imperialist plot to ensure Kenya remained in the capitalist camp managed by the key imperialist powers USA and Britain.”

As I said this is a huge banquet of Kenya’s emergent history. I hope every man, woman and child gets to read this some time in their lives. There are some important lessons to ponder, celebrate some of the men and women who lived and died in the cause of freedom and to look anew at life as we know it.

There is an interview with Emma Gama Pinto by Frederick Noronha, and another by Benegal Pereira. Pio’s late brother Rosario’s memoir is also featured as are the memories of Angelo Faria. There are also several contributions by members of the family.

Naturally, this book is a monument to Pio Gama Pinto and his once socialist ideals for a Kenya without capitalism. Shiraz Durrani, the book editor, makes no apology for that.


Emma Gama Pinto

(Excerpts from the book)
Pio’s detention on Manda Island: Pio told later that he built a small shelter against scorching sun and a simple bed. The land was destitute of vegetation and there were no facilities when he got there. A daily ration of food was barely enough to suffice for one meal. He went on a hunger strike, but after nine days realised that it would hurt prisoners nothing more. They would die like dogs for the all the authorities cared. The prisoners were sullen and dejected. Pio met some of his old friends there … Achieng Oneko and others and they set about improving the morale of the 9000 men on the island prison. They organised games and tried to catch fish, turtles and the like to supplement their impoverished diet. After pleading with the authorities, I was allowed to write to my husband once a month but the letter would be censored. His reply would be censored. I received permission to send Pio literature. He asked for the works of Shakespeare and (George Bernard) Shaw. Later Pio said the books kept him from committing suicide. Everything he had, he shared with his friends, even my letters.
Our home: We had little finances. Pio sadly confessed that the money given by my father had been used as part-payment for a printing press which he wanted to operate as the voice of the people. The press was lost as soon as Pio was arrested. On his release from restriction in 1960, Pio asked Oginga Odinga (head of the Kenya People’s Union and arch opponent of Jomo Kenyatta) to help him buy a house. It was more like a hotel –we had people coming and going and dropping in for a meal at all hours. Pio would have political refugees from Angola and South Africa spend a night or two and listen to their accounts of their situation.
No African who came to the house was turned away –if they needed school fees for their children, advice or just a letter written to a relative or government official, Pio lent a hand. They were his brothers, and I mean brothers. He knew the weaknesses of some of them but felt they would see reason enough if temporarily they did not put their country first. From the start of his interest in Kenya politics, Pio understood clearly that the African cause must be carried by Africans. He identified with the Africans completely and secretly suffered anguish that he was no born and African. He preferred to work behind the scenes, but he did not work in isolation. He consulted with lawyers, economists and politicians before planning his work.  He chose his non-African friends carefully for what they could contribute to the cause.
Despite the fact that Pio vehemently worked against those opposed to the African freedom movement, he did not harbour rancour against any individual. I never once heard him raise his voice in anger or swear at anyone, he called them blind or stupid in their policies. He was once given a pistol for protection … he promptly buried it in the garden. Later when he heard that one of his friends was in danger, he dug the weapon up and gave it to his friend for protection.
On the Goans in Kenya:
Pio and I had attended a few social functions after his release from detention and even though several men forward to hear about his “detention” there was little evidence of their sympathy for the detainees.
When the Portuguese anthem was played at the end of an occasion, Pio could guess where their allegiance lay. He had painted a sketch of Kenya’s road in the struggle for freedom and left it to them to pursue a course. Mr J. M Nazareth Q.C. and a few others were already on the road.
Later we did not attend Goan functions, so I was not aware of the view they had of Pio. Even after Pio’s assassination I did not feel that I belonged to the Goan community. I do not fault the community –it is just that we had other interests and concerns. I was happy with an Asian who understood and helped Pio’s work.
Goa: Pio and a small group of Kenya politicians including Tom Mboya and Joe Murumbi flew to India around 1961 and met with Pandit Nehru. The agenda included the liberation of Goa as well as funds for a printing press in Kenya (to provide the African political viewpoint). Funds were granted, and Pio went on to set up the Pan African Press. Subsequently, Pio and Fitz De Souza attended Goa’s liberation celebrations. There are some Goans who applaud Pio’s small contribution for Goa.


A friend of mine sent me the following note:
He never met Pio Gama Pinto personally, but offered his observances from the sidelines.

He left Kenya in 1964 after graduating from Royal College, Nairobi.
These young grads were told by their professors that there were no jobs for Asian grads.
“We were young and somewhat callus then. No point in crying in one’s beer.  Off to Ulaya (UK) where jobs were plentiful.

 One painful memory remains. In Dec 1963 (year of independence) Royal College students, were pressed into service as aide-d-camps to visiting dignitaries at Uhuru time and hence were at the flag raising.  After the event there was somewhat chaos in the parking lot searching for the limos. The place was dimly lit, but looking over his shoulder for a second take he noted Pio walking alongside with Tom Mboya and several others. 

While in the UK, where most of us were then, we heard the news of their assassinations over the radio and grieved in isolation.

Sometime in the late 1950s or early 60s, the Goan Voice in Nairobi, published a letter from his father, pleading to the Governor Patrick Renison for the release of his son.  My friend is convinced it evoked tears for many who read it.

He asked those who were connected with the family whether the letter was still available, but was told that after his death, the papers and documents pertaining to his life and activities  were destroyed. This to forestall reprisals.  It is possible that the Colonial Archives - located in Kew UK has copies of the Goan Voice featuring this letter, but would be like looking for a needle in a haystack..

He has somewhat vivid memories of Pio as:  a mid-distance athlete. Watched him at the GI sports. He flopped on the ground after winning the 440 yards. Don't think he captured the Victor Ludorum, Stanley Braganza had a tight hold on this trophy for many years.

He reckons Pio owned a Peugeot 203 -- hum drum compared to the 403 -- a long time Coronation Safari winner!

He used to see him sitting in the last pews of the Holy Family Church, looking quite bored and reading a religious paper left in the racks. This must have been a weekday Mass, which his mother attended. You could say he was a dutiful son, driving her to church.

My friend does not think he was ostracized by the Goan Community.   “Goans were apolitical. Our parents held Portuguese passports.  We were non-judgmental, accepting the quirks and foibles of those around us.  He was a member of our community. We respected what he tried to do and will forever be saddened by the brutal manner he was struck down.

Mervyn Maciel: I knew Pio quite well and often 'bumped' into him on my
official trip to Nairobi, firstly from Machakos and latterly, Njoro.
He was a very modest man. His brother(Rosario) and I were
close friends both in Kenya and latterly here in England. Once,
when he heard I was recovering from flu, he sent me a whole
parcel of tonics and some delicious eats too. He too was very
generous. I knew the family well.
  I have a photo of Emma and her young children when they
visited us at Njoro long after Pio was assassinated.