World’s oldest pupil dies

2009-08-18 15:19

THE man who entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest pupil to enrol for elementary school at the age of 86 has died.

According to Kenyan media, Kimani Maruge died in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday after losing the battle against cancer. He was 90.

At the time of his death, he was doing Grade 5 at Huruma Primary School, having transferred from Kapkenduiyo Primary School in Eldoret where he had been displaced due to post election violence in the western part of the country.

The Mau Mau liberation struggle veteran took advantage of free primary education introduced in Kenya in 2003 to enrol as a Grade 1 pupil in 2004, a move that catapulted him into the international spotlight.

He told City Press last year that he aspired to become a veterinary doctor and be able to read the Bible on his own. He said he sometimes didn’t believe tales he heard from the Holy Book and wanted to read them with his own eyes.

After enrolling for Grade 1 in 2004, he hogged the limelight, travelling to among other places the United Nations in New York where he told thousands of people that it was never too late for anyone to achieve his objective.

He had predicted that he would live for 150 years and that he wanted to meet Nelson Mandela.

In 2008 he was among the thousands of Kikuyus who failed to report back to school due to post election violence and his property was destroyed during the protests.

Eleven people were killed next to his house on December 31, 2007, but he was lucky to escape. He later moved to Nairobi because he did not feel safe at his former home in western Kenya.

The International Red Cross found him a new home in Nairobi where he continued with his education at Huruma Primary School.

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