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An appreciation of Stars Next Door

Hey Silu,

I just want to thank you for gifting me the book entitled "Stars Next Door". You may not believe it but I scanned and read it from cover to cover. As you know I never lived in East Africa except for a brief visit with Birdie before I migrated to Canada. However, as I turned the pages of the book, I was intrigued by the number of people that I knew who were highlighted in the memoir. Some who are really good friends.  Some, sadly have passed away.
Of course, on page 113 your exploits on the hockey field are well documented as they have been many times before. My brother-in-law, Charlie DeSouza, is also featured in an earlier chapter. Charlie was a standout cricketer for Uganda. Of the many accomplishments in your life, your participation at the Rome, Tokyo, and Mexico Olympics, will surely figure as some of your greatest achievements.

I was delighted to read about people such as Auggie and Angela, Astrid, Zulema, Metalia, Hilary and Elsie, my good friend Henry Braganza. I was also pleased to see Jimmy Van Rossi and Lygia featured in the musical section of the book. They made good music together....as a matter of fact, they still do! Of personal interest were photographs of Reynold D'Souza, and Albert "Patch" D'Souza. The two of them were products of St. Paul's School in Belgaum. My Alma Mater. There are also some nice shots of Delphine Francis. I will show the book to Jeannine when I get the opportunity.

Well Silu, now you get my drift as to why I enjoyed reading this book. But it would be remiss of me not to make special mention of the author, Mr. Cyprian Fernandes. His easy and fluid style of writing made for a user friendly read. Authors of today could take a page out of his book....literally! Your friend must have been a very successful journalist and sports writer in his time. Please pass on my congratulations to him for an entertaining and well written book of memoirs. If it was of so much interest to me even though I did not spend time in East Africa, I can only imagine Kenyans and others who would have been absolutely enamored with this manuscript. It must have brought back fond memories of their happy days in the African Continent. I was also impressed with the quality of the photographs, given their age. 

And finally, let me give a "shout out" to the printers and designers in Goa for their professional production.

Take care and all the best. Will call you later in the week.

Hubert. 



Ben Antao's apology, Selma's lack of integrity

Having reviewed Ben Antao's article in light of the objections raised, I do not find anything defamatory nor of malafide intent on part of the writer. The role of writing and indeed literature must be to provoke thought. It must address issues of memory, of perspective, of truth, of collective responsibility, and everything else which advances the cause of humanity. This has been its role since time immemorial. This will be its role for all time. 

Ben Antao's article deals with memory: how it is shaped, how it is lost, how it is contrived, and how it is recorded in literature. It is an important discussion given that we do not have another community analogous with that of East African Goans. 

We have to be willing to introspect when points are raised. Introspection is key to maturity and growth. Without introspection and discussion, what we have is fascism, dictatorships, fundamentalism and all the worst excesses humanity has had to bear. As a writer myself, I cannot subscribe to censure of thought and introspection. 

Best wishes, 
Selma Carvalho 
Editor 




From: Ben Antao <ben.antao@rogers.com>
Sent: Friday, 31 August 2018 9:46 AM
To: John J. D'Souza; Juliet Rebello; Cyprian Fernandes
Subject: Re: I apologise

Dear Cyprian

The message I tried to convey in my article has obviously been misunderstood. I have read both your books. You’re a good man and I apologize for disturbing your peace.

Warm regards
Ben

I apologise ...


I apologise

Maladies of diaspora Goans:

Goans, like anyone else in the world, don’t have the time to waste on the nonsense created by Ben Antao in his criticism of me and my humble efforts as a an author and Goans in the diaspora. They have better things to do with their time … like family, friends, new experiences, work, religion, and the myriad things that created the home truth that a mother’s job is never done … especially when some of us are dealing with serious illnesses, emergencies or other matters of grave concern.
Ben, the editors of the blog he used as a vehicle for his attack,  for disturbing the peace of Goan households around the world but especially in Canada, and I, for having the readers (and friends) of my two books and nearly 58 years in journalism rush to my defence owe you all an apology.
You guys have better things to do. You should not have to deal with this kind of useless crap.
I hope to bring this nonsense to end shortly.

Peace

Cyprian Fernandes


CYPRIAN FERNANDES: How Ben Antao got it all wrong


The unkind cut

Roland Francis: I fully agree with what Francis Noronha of Lethbridge Alberta has written in reply to Ben Antao’s unnecessarily harsh and critical analysis of Cyprian’s books. 

Being neither from East Africa nor a resident in Goa except during Summer Holidays, I support the need any Goan may have to write about his life experiences. These are precious because that human ecology exists no more.

I enjoyed Cyprian’s two books immensely while I found Ben Antao’s books extremely shallow. I am not attempting a comparison here, but will go so far as to say that one who plays in the wet mud of a village is bound to find it meaningless to look up to a magnificent setting sun, let alone enjoy it.

Braz Menezes, Cyprian Fernandes and to a certain extent Selma Carvalho have made a huge contribution to my understanding of the Goan African experience.
Roland Francis


Vivian A. D’Souza: Ben's remarks were totally un-called for and betray an underlying jealousy, as well as mis-conception about us East Africanders. There is a certain panache about East Africanders which makes those who did not experience that life, very jealous.  I once had an exchange with someone, who asked me to explain what was special about life in Tanzania.  He thought it was hum ho, and no different from life in Bombay, where he grew up.  I guess I could not adequately describe the ambience of East Africa,

I exchanged correspondence with Ben Antao many years ago when he was writing a novel about a Portuguese soldier who had defected and moved to  Belgaum.  I spent 6 years of my life in Belgaum, so l was able to give Ben some tips, to make the novel  appear more authentic.  Ben also visited  us in Goa, so I got to see him but have not been in touch with him in over a decade..

I was born in Tanzania, but the family moved to India when I was 12 years old as my father had to retire prematurely because of ill-health.  I returned to Tanzania when I was 19, got married there and had two of our children there before emigrating to the USA where my wife and I spent 32 years of our lives.  In Tanzania we were not well off, lived in a single bed-room apartment, an did not own a car or a scooter or even a bicycle till 18 months before we left Tanzania.  I had many African friends.  I was General Secretary of the Goan Institute for 2 +  years at the time of  Tanganyika's independence, and our club was reserved by the Government  for all the diplomatic functions as it was the best facility in town at that time. I was  invited " to all the Independence related functions, not because I was anyone of importance, but they wanted me around in case there were any facility related problems.

After educating our three children and  seeing to them getting married, we moved to Goa, to experience the life I recalled from my younger days. We built a large house and are enjoying our life here.  We return to the USA for 3/4 months every year, as we maintain an apartment and a car there.  So we have the best of both worlds.

Despite having experienced the luxuries of the West, we still remember our simple but very contented lives in Tanzania.  In the last 6+ years of my life in Tanzania I worked for the American embassy, and visited Nairobi at least two times a year on temporary duty. We remember the days in Africa as the best days of our lives, even though we did not have much money.

We were the poor cousins of you Nairobi based folks, but living by the beach, going fishing and enjoying fresh fruits of the sea, we were a contented lot.

Cyprian, Francis Noronha has done an excellent job of rebutting  Ben's small minded comments.  Don't worry about his comments. You have achieved renown and are respected by many.

Warmest regards,

   Vivian

MARK FONSECA: I am a Goan, born and bred in Bombay (now Mumbai) and left India permanently in 1971 for Canada. In late 1973 I moved to Australia to be with most of my family. So I have experienced life across 3 countries. I have NEVER been to Africa and specifically Kenya but I am married to an ex Kenyan and have many East African friends - all with wonderful memories of a life in days gone by. I am a good friend of Cyprian Fernandes who I met in Sydney and have worked with him for the Goan community here in Sydney. As you may be able to gather from that, Cyprian is a very proud Goan, a popular and respected person in our Goan Community here in Sydney.
 In reading your review and opinion about Cyprian's books, I find the general tone and some comments offensive and uncalled for. You stated: "In 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, Rudi and I decided to bring out a second anthology called Goa Masala 2, but the response was lukewarm and disappointing, in that several submissions were tedious reminiscences of East Africa, of no general human interest. So we shelved the project." How many people did you canvass for this opinion?
 What has your failure got to do with Cyprian's books? Could it be that the presentation was lacking and added little value to the already rich heritage that is East African? Its colonial past was not the subject of the book, nor was it intended to be. Africa retains a raw natural beauty and heritage, regardless of its past colonial masters or present day rulers that you could not expect a Goan from Goa to ever understand.
Added to that, I Ben Antao I am a Goan, born and bred in Bombay (now Mumbai) and left India permanently in 1971 for Canada. In late 1973 I moved to Australia to be with most of my family. So I have experienced life across 3 countries. I have NEVER been to Africa and specifically Kenya but I am married to an ex Kenyan and have many East African friends - all with wonderful memories of a life in days gone by.
 I am a good friend of Cyprian Fernandes who I met in Sydney and have worked with him for the Goan community here in Sydney. As you may be able to gather from that, Cyprian is a very proud Goan, a popular and respected person in our Goan Community here in Sydney. In reading your review and opinion about Cyprian's books, I find the general tone and some comments offensive and uncalled for.
You stated: "In 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, Rudi and I decided to bring out a second anthology called Goa Masala 2, but the response was lukewarm and disappointing, in that several submissions were tedious reminiscences of East Africa, of no general human interest. So we shelved the project."
How many people did you canvass for this opinion? What has your failure got to do with Cyprian's books? Could it be that the presentation was lacking and added little value to the already rich heritage that is East African? Its colonial past was not the subject of the book, nor was it intended to be. Africa retains a raw natural beauty and heritage, regardless of its past colonial masters or present day rulers that you could not expect a Goan from Goa to ever understand. Added to that, I the first edition, she paused thoughtfully and said, 'I have had some interesting experiences in Canada.' 'Well, write about them and tell your friends to do the same', I said." Are you a self-appointed mentor of the Goan community in Canada? haven’t heard about you nor your book.. and definitely will not be seeking to read your works.
Mark Fonseca



An attack on Cyprian Fernandes and Eastern African Goans in the diaspora


A rather silly waste of trees
I had not planned to respond to the pathos of the excerpt below, however, the attendant clinical examination of the story in question by Francis Noronha is, in my view, quite brilliant (even if I say so myself) and should be shared with fair-minded thinkers everywherw
An excerpt from a piece by Ben Antao: 
Maladies of diaspora Goans
 I find it astonishing that so many of the Canadian Goans who immigrated to Canada from East Africa in the 1960s and 1970s still hearken back to the good times of the so-called paradise they basked under  the British colonial sun. The term ‘paradise’ to describe life in East Africa comes from Cyprian Fernandes, a journalist born and raised in Kenya who, like most of his generation, was forced to abandon the paradise following the end of colonial rule, and the introduction of Africanisation policies by the newly independent countries of Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania.
In his memoir Yesterday in Paradise (2016), Cyprian recounts his rise from humble beginnings to the position of a fearless  journalist until death threats force him to leave East Africa in the 1970s. He has since lived and worked in Sydney, Australia, for over 40 years, more time outside than inside of Africa. Naturally, I was astounded, not having lived in colonial East Africa myself, that Cyprian would call Africa ‘a paradise’ . The critical reporter that he comes across as in his book, I thought he’d be more inclined to be objective, judicious and rather circumspect than eager to pander to his compatriots in the diaspora. They, wholeheartedly not only approved but celebrated his descriptions of life and times, as if a messiah had sprung with spring water to quench their thirst and longing for bygone days.
In Toronto, the Goans received the book with praise and wistfulness.
Antao then goes to chronicle his rather sad experiences with books in Canada.




A RESPONSE TO “THE LITERARY MALADIES OF DIASPORA GOANS” BY BEN ANTAO
Dear Mr. Antao,
I have just read your diatribe above attacking author Cyprian Fernandes and the many other Goans “who immigrated to Canada from East Africa in the 1960’s and 1970’s who still hearken back with nostalgia to the good times of the so-called paradise they basked in under the British colonial sun.” I am one of these Goans that you are so disappointed with because they have failed to live up to the lofty goals that you have apparently achieved in that your fiction and non-fiction “embraces” your experiences in Goa and Toronto. Bravo! You point out to all of us lesser beings that “a writer has to draw upon his lived experiences if he seeks to create literary fiction.” Thank you for this original and inspiring insight into the art of creative writing. Your encouraging words to aspiring writers fills me with the desire to put pen to paper in an effort to emulate the sterling example you have set us in your own literary creative fiction.
I confess, however, that I am confused. Even a cursory reading of Cyprian Fernandes’ two books, “Yesterday in Paradise” and “Stars Next Door” would reveal that they are not meant to be “literary fiction”. Unlike you, Cyprian, (whom I have yet to have the pleasure to meet), is an unpretentious writer who sets out in “Yesterday in Paradise” to give a personal insight from the perspective of an investigative journalist into events at a particularly interesting and turbulent period of Kenya’s history. During the 60’s and 70’s, Kenya was emerging from the cocoon of colonial rule and taking its first faltering steps as an independent nation. During these transitional years, I was a student at the first multi-racial College in Kenya (later the University of Nairobi) and then away for three years as a student in Britain. I found Cyprian’s account of the political in-fighting and intrigue of those early years absolutely enthralling and enlightening and it filled the gaps in my own knowledge of the events that eventually led so many of us to decide that, much though we loved Kenya and its peoples, we had to take what was for most of us a painful step to emigrate to other countries where we could make a more secure future for ourselves and for our families.
From your account I gather that you were born and raised in Goa and immigrated to Canada when you were 25. You probably had little knowledge or interest in Kenya. I don’t say that in a negative way because there was probably no reason for you to take more than a cursory interest in an African country. You are probably not aware of the deeply personal struggle that Goans and many other Indians of my generation had in leaving the only country that we had known as “home” to venture to an uncertain future in countries such as England, Canada and Australia. A closer reading of Cyprian’s book may inform you of some these personal struggles. I left a comfortable and secure job as a teacher in Kenya and arrived in Lethbridge, Alberta in 1975 to start a new career at the age of 38. I have no regrets and Canada has been a wonderful home to me, my wife and daughter. Most Goans I know who immigrated from Kenya to Canada have not spent time in wistful musing about the paradise we left behind as you seem to think. We have moved on, forged new careers, made many new friends and contributed to the communities we became an integral part of, as, I am sure, you have, Mr. Antao. That does not mean that we have erased our memories of the past whether we “basked” or toiled under the “British colonial sun”.
I have happy memories of growing up in Kenya, of travels in East Africa, of climbing Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Elgon, of playing hockey with my friends, no less than six of whom were destined to become Olympians, of teaching in some of the fine schools in Kenya including historic Allidina Visram High School in Mombasa, of great holidays spent at the coast and visiting several wonderful beaches. I have memories of dear classmates, students and friends. I was thrilled when I browsed through Cyprian’s second book, “Stars Next Door”, to find that it recorded the achievements of many Goans for posterity. I knew many of the people who are mentioned as classmates and friends and reading about them brought back many happy memories.
To use your own terms, Mr. Antao, I was astonished and filled with anguish that you so casually and superciliously discredited the efforts of a fellow Goan whose two books have put on record events and persons that needed to be recorded by a writer who had a unique opportunity as a reporter to get the inside scoop in a way that the rest of us didn’t. Neither of Cyprian’s books has anything to do with the colonial period or with discussing the merits or demerits of British rule. You thought “he’d be more inclined to be objective, judicious and rather circumspect than be eager to pander to his compatriots in the diaspora”. Frankly, I don’t know what you are referring to and I am inclined to believe that you had some preconceived notions of what the book was about and were upset when your cursory perusal revealed nothing in the book remotely related to a bitter indictment of British colonial rule in Kenya. Why should it? That is not what Cyprian set out to do. If you truly are interested in appraisals of British colonial rule in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, there is a whole body of writing that covers every aspect of policy and implementation as, indeed, there is on the rule of the British Raj in India and the Portuguese in Goa. But then, you as a journalist, teacher and writer would know that. So why do you go looking for that in Cyprian’s book that has nothing to do with that branch of study?
As for the term “paradise” that you seem to find so offensive, nowhere in Cyprian’s book do I find any reference to British Colonial rule as paradise. Rather it is clear to me that in retrospect, Cyprian sees his youth and life in Kenya as a happy and exciting time. To me, this is quite remarkable as he grew up in circumstances so different to my own comfortable and conventional upbringing; Cyprian came from a family where his mother had to leave an abusive husband and raise her family working a variety of menial jobs to feed her clutch of children. Then there came the traumatic ending to his formal education, an early indication of his stubborn resolve to stand up for his principles regardless of consequences. At the age of fourteen (at which age I was still learning to tie my shoe laces), he set out with determination to make it as a reporter in spite of his lack of qualifications. All things considered, I saw much to admire in Cyprian’s survival in his career as a reporter and his courage in exposing the dark underbelly of Kenya’s politics – I know that I would not have had the intestinal fortitude  to do so. Fortunately, his dear wife’s insistence that that they leave Kenya when he began to receive death threats almost definitely saved his life. We know that there were others who probed too deeply and did not live to tell the tale. Sadly, Mr. Antao, you dismiss all Cyprian’s extraordinary life experiences with a sneering remark about “a messiah (who) had sprung with spring water to quench their (East African Goans) thirst and longing for the bygone days.”
As you are a writer and would wish your work to be judged fairly, I would suggest that you read “Yesterday in Paradise” over again, this time more carefully. You will discover that it is not a work of literary fiction, nor is it an evaluation of British colonial rule. Rather it is a factual and highly personal account of a young boy growing up in Kenya and overcoming the obstacles of life in his own resourceful way.  Most of us Goans who grew up in Kenya had caring parents whose hard work, middle class values and sacrifices enabled their children to lead happy lives with opportunities for sports and other recreational activities. Cyprian did not start off with many of the advantages that many of the rest of us enjoyed. The fact that he succeeded in making a life for himself, marrying the love of his life and achieving many of his goals is a remarkable testimony to himself and his wonderful mother. He looks back to his life in Kenya and considers that he was living in Paradise. I think that in itself is remarkable, Mr. Antao, and I admire Cyprian all the more for it. I hope that you too can feel the same about your origins in Goa, a homeland that is dear to me in spite of the colonial power that held sway there.
As a Goan who immigrated from Kenya to Canada, I don’t really care what you think of me – and I think most other Goans in my category would agree with me. However, you have made some highly questionable and uncalled for criticisms of Cyprian Fernandes and his books and I really think that you owe him an apology for judging him too hastily. While you are about it, you may also consider apologising to Juliet Rebello and J. D’Souza for the patronising and condescending manner in which you treated their well-meant remarks. You may be a very accomplished author but that is no way to treat your friends..
I rest my case.

 Francis Noronha
fnoronha@telusplanet.net
August 29, 2018, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Comments to skipfer@live.com.au

The earliest Goans in Lamu Island

Apologies: I have no idea where I got this:


Goans at Lamu 1800-2000 : A story of bandsmen, sailors, clerks and tailors.

Towards the later part of the nineteenth century the Germans and the British were politically active in the Lamu area. The Germans finally placed the settlement of Witu under German protection, thereby making it independent of the Sultan of Zanzibar. However German aspirations had spread from Witu to nearby Lamu where they established a post office. In 1886 the Germans and British worked out a deal which gave Lamu to the Sultan of Zanzibar who ceded it to the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) who sent an agent to Lamu in 1888. Germany finally abandoned her claim to Witu in 1890 by the terms of the Anglo-German Treaty. As part of an ongoing issue with the Sultan of Witu several Royal Navy ships were sent to Lamu in October 1890 including the Boadica, Cossack and Brisk to instate British supremacy on behalf of the Sultan of Zanzibar. In all the Witu Expedition consisted of nearly 800 sailors and Marines together with 150 Indian police of the Imperial British East Africa Company[1]. On board the Boadica was a band led by Band Captain Gregory P DeSouza, and including A.M De Souza, A. Pinto, A.M Sequeira and L. Trinidade[2]. Also on board the Boadica were Caridade DeSouza and P. Fernandes. The band would have performed ahead of the marching column as it landed at Lamu and paraded along the waterfront street and would have led the expedition column inland through the forests. All of these Goans were awarded medals for their participation, which the bandsmen collected during their service in subsequent years[3].

The need for the Royal Navy and Indian Marine intervention at Lamu pressed home the difficulties facing the IBEAC, and in November 1890 the Lamu area was declared a British Protectorate though the IBEAC continued to administer Lamu. Peace did not last and in 1891 another Royal Navy force was sent to the region. The IBEAC administered Lamu until 1895 when the British Foreign Office (FO) in London took over from the IBEAC. It is very likely that there were Goans at Lamu in the later years of the IBEAC but they are difficult to find in archives[4].The first appointed representative of the FO in Zanzibar created the provincial hierarchy with British commissioners to administer the districts[5]. Below the District Commissioner (DC) were the local “mudirs” and clerks[6]. Records show that one of the first Goan clerks in the Lamu area was Mr. C.J. Dias who was actually appointed as a Grade II Administrative Clerk to Lamu in May 1899, another Konkani –speaking Asian G.M. Karekar had been appointed in January of the same year[7]. At this time Lamu with its sheltered harbour was best known for its exports of “boroti” or mangrove poles which were used for the construction of buildings in the Middle East and Somalia[8]. Palm frond mats and baskets were other exports. Almost all trade at this time was in dhows.

Probably one of the first European clerks at Lamu was Benjamin Peters who had a very good career originally with the IBEAC and then with the Protectorate government in Mombasa. Peters arrived in Lamu in 1900 leaving his wife in Mombasa. However, life in Lamu was hard and Peters died of a heart attack at Lamu on 15th December 1900[9]. The coast had a bad reputation for Europeans and the death of Peters seemed to confirm this, adding to the need for Goan clerks. In July 1903 G.C. Mendonca was appointed Grade III Administrative Clerk at Lamu. Colonial records show that Mendonca applied for a revolver licence in 1906 while living and working at Lamu. Life was improving in Lamu at this time, with a regular steamboat connection by the Juba to Kismayu and Shimoni[10]. In 1907 the famous shipping agents Smith Mackenzie were so positive about the trade prospects of the Lamu area that they opened an office on the seafront. In April 1907 another Goan clerk, C.S. De Souza arrived in Lamu, and he was followed in June 1908 by A.S. Pinto[11].  There is a grave on the outskirts of Lamu town that includes an inscription “Michael Joao De Cruz, born 8th June 1868, died 23rd March 1908”. This is one of the few monuments to Goans in Lamu in the twentieth century[12]. In the wake of the clerks a few Goan tailors arrived in the early twentieth century, but there was already an established community of tailors from the Comoro Islands in the town[13].

By 1911 Ralph E. Skene reported that there were 46 Goans in Lamu – over double the number of Europeans[14]. A non-native census report for that year accounted for 43 “others” in Lamu, suggesting that Goans were the predominant group in this racial category. The Goans of Lamu were favoured above the other Asians. They were allowed to belong to the local British club (now known as the Civil Servants’ Club) and were allowed on the tennis court, unlike other Asians[15]. Clearly Goan women were part of the community at this time, but details on their lives are not known.

Just before the First World War the number of Goans in Lamu declined as the families of civil servants were evacuated to Malindi by road, while their possessions were sent to Malindi by dhow[16]. Among these evacuees was the five year old Archie Mendes, son of Salizinho C. Mendes.

The number of Goans at Lamu during the 1920's was probably never more then 15[17]. 
In the 1930’s the Goan community of Lamu included the customs officer, a baker, a tailor, a retailer, the liquor store owner (where the Marhous Hotel now stands) and a medical doctor whose tour of duty was limited to one year. The 1931 non-native census includes 36 Goans in Lamu of which 16 were women[18]. The Liquor store is also remembered in the oral accounts of the Khoja community[19].

The decline in Lamu’s fortunes accompanied by the rise in Mombasa and Malindi during the Second World War led to a steady decrease in the Asian population so that by 1948 there were 12 Goans at Lamu[20]. In 1949 a riot broke out in the Riyadha area of Lamu town. There is some suggestion that the background to the rioting was based on the Comoro Islander and Goan monopoly of the tailoring trade, which was being challenged by the Hadrami women[21].

By the 1950’s there were a hand-full of Goans in Lamu, including a Mr. Viegas working at Smith Mackenzie, and the “old man Barreto”[22]. Mrs Barreto is recorded in the 1952 electoral register as a teacher in The Indian School[23]. Mr. Luis Barreto owned at the Pakistan Cold Drink House, where he held a Wine Merchant’s & Groceries Licence in the late 1950’s and in 1960[24]. In predominantly Moslem Lamu the local Swahili could not hold alcohol licences and indeed do not consume alcohol, so this establishment was essentially aimed at the European and non-Moslem Asian community. From 1954 to 1958 Nairobi-born Goan, Pio Gama Pinto was detained with other Kenyan nationalists at Takwa on Manda Island across from Lamu town[25]. At this time Mr. Joe Pereira who worked in the Forestry Department was based at Lamu where he initiated the planting of trees on Lamu Island to stabilise the sand dunes encroaching on Shela[26].


The Somali-led Shifta movement on the mainland resulted in further insecurity in the region leading during the lead up to Kenyan independence. Shifta attacks and murders increased in the early 1960’s, and forced the end of oil exploration work in the area in 1964[27]. During these years the only way to get to Lamu from Mombasa was either by light aircraft to Manda Island and then a dhow across the creek or by a long road journey from Mombasa and Malindi on little more than dirt tracks, with hand-pulled ferries across the many rivers, including the Tana River. 

By the 1990’s there were just two Goans living at Lamu. The last Goan resident to live at Lamu was Mr. Keith Castelino, who left Lamu in 2000[28]. However Goan tourists to the island continue to visit and provide donations to the local Catholic church.




Acknowledgments:
Mr. K. Castelino, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2012.
Mr. Mubarak Abdulqadir. Fort Jesus, Mombasa. 2007.
Mr. A. Mendes. Attleborough. Norfolk, England. 2007.
Mr. A. Pereira, Bexleyheath, Kent, England. 2012.
Mr. J.A. Pereira, Nairobi, Kenya. 1999.

Bibliography:
Europeans in British Administered East Africa. – A Provisional List 1889-1903. By Stephen J. North. Oxford.
Kenya Census and Migration Reports. 1947-1953.
Kenya Non-Native Census Report, 1931.
Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheris in Lamu and Mombasa, 1870-1930. By Zahir Bhalloo. 2008
Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997.
The History of Malindi. By Esmond Bradley Martin, 1973.
Zanzibar, Slavery and the Royal Navy. By Kevin Patience, 2000.

Original Sources.
Kenya Gazette. 13 May 1952.
Kenya Gazette. 29 April 1958.
Kenya Gazette. 21 October 1958.
Kenya Gazette. 25 October 1960. 
The Official Gazette of the East African Protectorate. Vol XV. No. 336. 1913.  Nairobi.
U.K Naval medals and award rolls 1793-1971. Witu Expedition. 1890. ADMN. Class 171. Piece 46.


[1] Zanzibar, Slavery and the Royal Navy. By Kevin Patience. 2000. Pg. 35.
[2] U.K Naval medals and award rolls 1793-1971. Witu Expedition. 1890. ADMN. Class 171. Piece 46.
[3] U.K Naval medals and award rolls 1793-1971. Witu Expedition. 1890. ADMN. Class 171. Piece 46.
[4] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg. 136.
[5] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg. 90.
[6] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg. 136.
[7] The Official Gazette of the East African Protectorate. Vol XV. No. 336. 1913.  Nairobi.
[8] Zanzibar, Slavery and the Royal Navy. By Kevin Patience. 2000. Pg. 35.
[9] Europeans in British Administered East Africa. – A Provisional List 1889-1903. By Stephen J North. Oxford. Pg. 245.
[10] The Official Gazette of the East Africa and Uganda Protectorates. Vol. VIII. No. 167. 1906 Mombasa.
[11] The Official Gazette of the East African Protectorate. Vol XV. No. 336. 1913.  Nairobi.
[12] Mr. Mubarak Abdulqadir. Fort Jesus, Mombasa. 2007.
[13] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg. 104.
[14] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg. 137.
[15] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg 177.
[16] Mr. A. Mendes. Attleborugh. Norfolf, England. 2007.
[17] The History of Malindi. By Esmond Bradley Martin, 1973.
[18] Kenya Non-Native Census Report, 1931.
[19] Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheris in Lamu and Mombasa, 1870-1930. By Zahir Bhalloo. 2008.  Pg. 12.
[20] Kenya Census and Migration Reports. 1947-1953.
[21] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg. 175.
[22] Mr. A. Pereira, Bexleyheath, Kent, England. 2011.
[23] Kenya Gazette 13 May 1952. Nairobi. Kenya. Pg. 509.
[24] Kenya Gazette 25 October 1958. Nairobi, Kenya. Pg. 1325.
[25] Lamu – History, Society and Family in an East African Port City. By Patricia W. Romero, 1997. Pg 220.
[26] Mr. J.A. Pereira, Nairobi, Kenya. 2000.
[27] Mr. A. Pereira, Bexleyheath, Kent, England. 2011.
[28] Mr. Keith Castelino, Edinburgh, Scotland. 2004.

Hakuna Matata as a smooth operator cruises into Kenyan history




Another Matata winner for Menezes

Among The Jacaranda
A novel based on true events
Braz Menezes
Available on Amazon and most E-book platforms
Review by Cyprian Fernandes (Yesterday in Paradise, Stars Next Door)
Among the Jacaranda is the third in the Matata series: Just Matata (reissued as an expanded edition as Beyond the Cape 1920-1950) and More Matata (1951-1963) by the Kenya born author Braz Menezes, a former award-winning architect.
The first three books quickly established a large fan base for Menezes who quickly became recognised for imbuing the hero of the books, Lando, with wit, humour, a sense of adventure as well paying homage to Kenya and especially Nairobi. No doubt Among The Jacaranda is already assured of a following; probably more in E-books than the printed variety, both are easily available.
I am finding reviewing this exceptional trip down nostalgia road a tough gig. Not only because I get a left-handed compliment but because, like Menezes, I was born and raised in Kenya and I think the author is a couple of years older than I. Hence it is easy for me to walk down familiar roads to familiar suburbs, Goan social clubs, especially the Goan Gymkhana (where I was a rare visitor) and many, many familiar faces.
Some one questioned the other day why East African Goans over-feast on their past lives in the former British colonies. History. Just a shared history and the unbreakable links that a community gives birth to. Even more, authors like Menezes, Mervyn Maciel (the doyen author of Bwana Karani) also act as low-level historians charting the lives and times of Goans and prove to be invaluable in the absence of any recorded history or documented almanacs. Even more importantly, fact or fiction based on true events, serve enlighten the non-Goans in our respective adopted countries about everything Kenyan in historical terms.
More importantly, Lando mirrors to a large degree the lives of young Goan men and women who began university life in the 1960s, got their first job, excelled at sport, or towards the end of the 1950s or early 1960s faced the heartbreak of being forced to leave the country with their parents on the onset of independence. On the other hand, there were many young people who achieved the move to university life overseas and committed themselves to a future back in independent Kenya. Menezes’ hero, Lando (who, I am sure is based largely on his own life) did just that.
So if you have slightest connection (and even if you have no connection) with Kenya, then hope along for a nostalgic safari.
For a young man who had not travelled much before, there is all the wonder of a European holiday to explore. You will have to buy the book to enjoy the details.
Lando, seeking fame and fortune as a future architect, heads for university in Liverpool in 1964. Even though the UK is running a high fever, fighting to “keep Asians out”, Lando is unphased. He is aware of it and is concerned about the treatment and abuse being meted out to Indians who already settled in the UK.  However, Lando is just an observer.
It is not long before our intrepid hero meets a white girl and takes the first steps towards falling in over a period of many months. Menezes takes us on a romantic journey that is rather seamless, without drama of any kind and the two later head for Kenya to make bliss official at the wedding ceremony in Nairobi. As I said, it is all very seamless.
On his return to Nairobi, Lando spends as much time as he can at the Goan Gymkhana. To his delight, most of his friends are still there and club continues to function in an independent Kenya with little change. These days, in Sydney, Australia, I chew the nostalgia fat with one of the friends he mentions in the book: Felix. With a bunch of other ex-Nairobi friends who meet at a bowling each Friday, come rain or shine or whatever, we celebrate our collective past.
There is much, much more to this valuable contribution to the historical record of the Goan community in Kenya, especially Nairobi.
I loved it. Because it is everything so familiar. Another winner for Menezes.

Cyprian Fernandes is a former Chief Reporter of the Nation.

A glimpse of Mombasa
We drive over the Makupa Causeway that links the mainland to the island of Mombasa. A short while later we are crossing the Nyali Bridge and heading north. It is about 5 pm when we pull into the magnificent portico of the Nyali Beach Hotel.
It’s pure luxury to wash of the day’s dust, change into clean cotton evening wear, and sip a long cold drink on the terrace of the hotel. The terrace, set high up on a promontory of coral, offers beautiful views of Old Town Mombasa and the large colonial mansions.
The pin sky turns slowly to a bright orange as the sun disappears over the island.
An overnight stay at this beautiful hotel and its stunning view of Mombasa was the big surprise I had managed to keep secret from Eleanor.