This week we’ll travel to Africa, Kenya specifically, to learn about the Kenya 50 Shilling p47e 2010 note. This note features Kenya’s first president: Jomo Kenyatta.  It also depicts a caravan of camels, as well as the Mombasa Tusk Monument.  I love the deep colors on this note: red, blue, and gold.

Jomo Kenyatta was born with the name Kamau Ngengi.  His parents were farmers (just like the Mirabal sisters we learned about last week!), and when he was 10, Kenyatta became quite ill with jigger infections in his feet and leg (Jiggers are sand fleas that burrow under the skin and lay eggs, causing irritation and infections – Yuck!).  He required surgery which was performed at the Church of Scottland Mission.  He was so amazed with what he saw at the mission during his recovery that after returning home he ran away back to the mission to go to school there. Shortly after he changed his last name to Kenyatta, which was the name of the type of belt he often wore.  He later changed his first name to Jomo, which means “burning spear”. His first introduction to politics was when he served on the Nairobi Town Council.  In 1922 Kenyatta joined a political protest movement against the white settler domination of the government of Kenya.  Kenyatta was from the Kikuyu ethnic group in Kenya, and one of the goals of this political movement was to regain Kikuyu land that was taken when Kenya became a British Colony.

Kenyatta had a long stint in politics, which I will not get into here, but in 1947 Kenyatta launched a mass nationalist party. In 1952 the Mau Mau rebellion occurred, again protesting the white settlers taking land that did not belong to them, and although Kenyatta insisted that he was not involved in this rebellion, he was held responsible for it and imprisoned for 7 years.  However, this did lead the British government to begin taking steps to have an African Majority Rule and also to adapt to a one man, one vote form of government.  On December 12, 1963, Kenya finally celebrated their independence with Jomo Kenyatta as their Prime Minister, and he became its first elected President in 1964.  The economy improved tremendously under Keyatta’s leadership and he remained President until his death in 1978.

It is amazing the leadership that rises up out of humble circumstances and one person really can make a difference!

Country: Kenya
Denomination: 50 Shilling
Pick #: 47e
Year: 2010
Grade: UNC
Other Info: Central Bank of Kenya
Coloration: Brown/Red
Depictions: The first president of Kenya- Mzee Jomo Kenyatta; Crest; Dromedary Caravan; Entrance to town, with two large tusks at entrance
Note Size: 5 1/2″ x 3″
Continent: Africa
Watermark: Head of Lion