Message from Emma Gama Pinto
Dear friends and readers of this tribute book about Pio.
I am grateful to you for keeping Pio’s work and ideals alive. It is hard to believe it has been 53 years since Pio’s assassination in 1965. I am now 90, my own memory is failing and my girls, who were young at the time, have little recollection of their father.
When Pio proposed marriage to me, he informed me that his calling was the freedom and dignity of the Kenyan people. So, it is fitting that Kenya and Kenyans keep his memory, what he worked for and what he gave his life for, ever present.
People have used words like “communist” and “socialist” to describe Pio. I feel at his core he was a humanist. It truly grieved him to see people suffer. He understood that every person’s dignity deserved respect. He also believed that ignorance was just as much an insult to human dignity as poverty. Many of you know the story of how he walked out of Manda barefoot, because he had given his shoes to another detainee; how he taught other detainees to read using my letters. It is also true that I never knew how much money he earned, because he gave much of it away to support the widows of the freedom fighters.
Pio truly lived his values of equality and brotherhood. It is unfortunate that his example was not allowed to light the way for a few more years. Who knows what more he might have achieved for Kenya and its people!
I will conclude with the lines that are etched on Pio’s gravestone:
“If I have been extinguished, yet there rise
A thousand beacons from the spark I bore.”
Thank you, friend and readers, for helping to spread the spark.
Ema Gama Pinto September 2018