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5 Key personalities who died in 2018 and will be fondly remembered by Kenyans


The cruel hand of death, as usual, robbed the world of some prominent personalities in 2018.

Here we’ve compiled just five of these personalities who will be fondly remembered by Kenyan for various reasons.

1. Koffi Annan (Died August 18, 2018) – This is the year the curtains fell on the only black African to hold the office of UN secretary-general. For many Kenyans, Annan, who died in Bern, Switzerland, at the age of 80 after a short illness, was man who pulled the country from the brink of civil anarchy following the post-election violence that rocked the country followed the disputed 2007 general elections. He successful brokered a peace deal between retired President Mwai Kibaki and opposition candidate Raila Odinga giving birth to a power-sharing agreement in a Grand Coalition Government.

2. Winnie Mandela (Died April 2, 2018) – Full name Winnie Madikizela Mandela passed on at a Johannesburg hospital aged 81. She was famed as a heroine  of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, and for her steadfast support for her husband Nelson, who was detained by the apartheid regime for 27 years. Many Kenyans will particularly remember fiery South African MP Julius Malema’s famous ‘Give us a signal, mama’ eulogy during Winnie’s burial.

The former wife of Nelson Mandela, WinnieMandela Madikizela. FILE PHOTO | AFP
The former wife of Nelson Mandela, WinnieMandela Madikizela. FILE PHOTO | AFP

3. Dennis Lewa (Died October 10, 2018) – Until his death in a grisly road accident, which claimed 55 lives in Fort Ternan, Kericho County, the former Thika United captain couldn’t be termed as a household name in Kenyan football circles. Yet, his tragic demise triggered an outpouring of emotions from Kenya football fans given that he died while enroute to signing a contract with Kakamega Homeboyz. His, like the other victims, was a case of life cut short at its prime.

4. Joseph Kamaru (Died October 3, 2018) – The celebrated Kikuyu Benga musician breathed his last the same month as Lewa. The veteran singer died aged 79, at a Nairobi hospital where he was undergoing treatment after developing complications in breathing. Kamaru who hailed from Kangema in Murang’a County started singing in 1956 and was known as the King of Benga. His funeral service at at Muthithi Secondary School in Murang’a was attended by the who is who of Kenyan politics, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

The late Kenyan Benga artiste Joseph Kamaru entertains guests during the Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2017 at Kabiruini grounds in Nyeri. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI
The late Kenyan Benga artiste Joseph Kamaru entertains guests during the Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2017 at Kabiruini grounds in Nyeri. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI

5. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (Died October 27, 2018) – The owner of English Premier League club Leicester died aged 60 when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium shortly after taking off from the pitch. The Thai billionaire, two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger were killed when the aircraft spiraled out of control and crashed in a fireball. Vichai was a hugely popular figure at Leicester, having bought the club for £39m (Sh5billion) in 2010. Many Kenyan EPL fans will remember him as the man who, against great odds, engineered Leicester’s Premiership victory in 2016 for their first and only English title.

In this file photo taken on May 18, 2016 then Leicester City FC's owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha applauds as they take part in a presentation of the English Premier League football trophy at the King Power duty-free headquarters in Bangkok on May 18, 2016. FILE PHOTO | AFP
In this file photo taken on May 18, 2016 then Leicester City FC’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha applauds as they take part in a presentation of the English Premier League football trophy at the King Power duty-free headquarters in Bangkok on May 18, 2016. FILE PHOTO | AFP