An estimated half a million in Britain, USA, Canada, Australia
and other countries, the ex-Kenya Indians have a very emotional
connect with the land of their birth or their fathers they left
in waves after Kenya’s independence.
Like Obama, they visit Kenya from time to time to catch up
with their friends and relatives and observe how the country is
And this is exactly what Obama will do when he re-visits the
land of his father on his third visit.
But this is the first one as the President of the United
States, the world’s most powerful nation.
For all Kenyans this is a matter of unlimited pride because
Obama did not visit Kenya for seven years while he was in the
In fact, he purposely avoided Kenya during his previous visit
Now Kenya has overcome the stigma of its President Uhuru
Kenyatta charges of genocide in the international court and
Obama has no major election to worry about in the US, thus the
Similarly, after settling down in their new home, Kenyan
Indians crave about the good life they left behind: the ‘eternal
spring’ climate of the Kenya Highlands, the easy incomes, the
Indian foodstuffs and, above all, the efficient and robust
domestic help they had all their lives.
When the Kenyan Indian housewife faces the mountain of dinner
dishes in the middle of harsh winter in the West, she cries out
for her domestic help.
When the Kenya Indian is holed up in his home during a wet
weekend, he yearns for his former land of sunshine almost
throughout the year.
Other equally powerful experiences and memories pull her or
him back to Kenya.
And perhaps it is the same with Obama.
He has visited Kenya three times, the last trip as a Senator.
After all, he has his extended family, including a
half-brother and siblings, among others, still living in Kenya
and he would like to visit Alego, the village in Nyanza province
on the shores of Lake Victoria, his ancestral home, very much
like Kenyan Indians who have settled abroad and come to look at
their former homes with new owners to see how they have
maintained or re-developed them.
The highest number of Kenyan Indians is in the UK where they
have set up their community organisations to interact with each
Curiously, they are not very comfortable with Indians from
Their basic command of English language is better than
Their mother tongue has a good sprinkling of Swahili words
which the Indians do not understand.
They instantly bond with each other with their Swahili
It’s the same tale in USA, Canada or Australia or other
Of course, Obama knows more than a smattering of Swahili and
will make full use during his formal speeches at the
international conference he will inaugurate and during bilateral
talks on human rights and terrorism.
An editorial in Kenya’s largest newspaper, The Nation,
termed this visit of immense significance to Kenya.