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Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge

Images of Mzee Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge who burst into public limelight when he enrolled for primary school education at the age of 84 in 2004, many dismissed it as a bad joke and a public stunt driven too far. But when this great-grandfather finally departed to his grave on August 14, 2009 of stomach cancer at the Cheshire Home for the Aged in Kariobangi North, Nairobi, he not only left a sweeping legacy that defied the odds in education and proved to many that it’s never too late to salvage a dream, but had his name firmly inscribed in the coveted Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to start primary school.

Maruge, who believed he was born in 1920, attended Kapkenduiywo Primary School in Eldoret, Kenya. His trials to go to school before had proved fruitless. His renewed interest in education, he said, was as a result of the government’s decision to provide free primary education. While in school, Maruge commanded the respect of his classmates (grandchildren) and teachers and abode by the school rules and regulations. His socks were always pulled to the base of his knees, his hair was always well kempt and he reported to school early and frequent enough. With such discipline, he was made a prefect in the school. The 2007-2008 post-election violence that hit Kenya did not spare the old man. His property was stolen and his house in the Rift Valley was burnt down in the violence and he found himself...

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