Google Honours Kenyan Wonder Woman

An image of Mekatilili wa Menza
  • Kenyan freedom fighter Mekatilili wa Menza is on Sunday, August 9 being honoured by Google, using a doodle.

    A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures.

    Mekatilili becomes the fourth Kenyan to appear on doodle after Margaret Ogola who was a doctor and author, Wangari Mathai; a Nobel Laureate winner and Kimani Maruge who was the oldest student.

    A statue of Mekatilili wa Menza.

    She is one of the first freedom fighters in Kenya and is best remembered for inspiring the Giriama people to resist colonial rule in the early 20th century.

    Google’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Ms Dorothy Ooko recounted how Mekatilili wa Menza defied the odds to fight for freedom.

    “She had a heart that was full of passion. Passion for freedom. Freedom against the oppressors of her people.

    “We remember that her resistance quest led to her imprisonment in a far land in Western Kenya and that she had to walk 965 kilometres to get back to her land after escaping from the prison,” she noted

    Due to the Covid-19 pandemic festivities of the traditional Malindi Cultural Festival, an annual celebration of local history and pride that honours Mekatilili will not be held in 2020.

    Mekatilili was born in the Giriama village of Matsara wa Tsatsu in coastal Kenya during the mid-19th century.

    In her long documented history, she is fondly remembered for performing the native dance of kifudu (the Giriama funeral dance) to draw large crowds and then unleashing her powerful oratory skills to garner support and encourage her tribe to resist and swear oaths. 

    Her Mepoho’s prophecy which was about the coming of strange people who had hair like sisal fibres and moved in flying vessels, as well as those moving on the water and on land, came to pass when the British colonised Kenya.

    After being imprisoned in Kisii, she was against recaptured in 1914 and sent to Kismayu, Somalia where she again escaped under unknown circumstances.

    Google began honouring people, events, anniversaries, and holidays with Doodles designed by one of its engineers in 1999.

    An image of Mekatilili wa Menza
    Festivities of the traditional Malindi Cultural Festival, an annual celebration of local history and pride that honours Mekatilili.
    Afro Tourism

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