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R.I.P Dr Fitz de Souza, true greatness!


Dr de Souza and me pictured a few years ago at his home in Goa


ON March 23, 2020, the Goan community worldwide lost one of its greatest sons with the passing of outstanding politician and lawyer,  DR FITZVAL REMEDIOS SANTANA NEVILLE DE SOUZA, in London. He was 90.  He is survived by his wife Romola, and children, Veena (Justin), Maya (Prashant), Roy (Aisha), Mark (Antke) and his many grandchildren. For further details, watch this space.

He became a lawyer and a politician by intent. He explains in his book Forward to Independence “As I set sail for Zanzibar the war in Europe was coming to an end, yet India’s future lay still unresolved. By now a keen and devoted disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, I had decided to spend my life fighting not only for the freedom of India, but Goa too, and carried within me a burning sense of justice on behalf of all those to whom it was denied.” He met and was greatly influenced by Pio Gama Pinto, who was destined to become the first politician to be assassinated in an independent Kenya. While de Souza admired Pinto’s brilliance in political strategy and planning, in later years it was the student advising the teacher, especially in the day’s before Pinto’s excesses in challenging Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta.

Above everything else, Dr de Souza was endowed with and integrity and astuteness reserved for the best legal mind. I watched him in his role of Deputy Speaker of the House every day for many years Kenyan Parliament Press Gallery. Both he and the Speaker of the House, Sir Humphrey Slade, were always respected even by a sometimes boisterous if not unruly Parliament. The call to “order, order” was heeded with good grace.

He was also an astute businessman with a gift or quickly assessing an opportunity and grasping the moment. Another gift was his brilliant memory even in his later years, and his memoir Forward to Independence is testament to this. It is also the single most eyewitness expose of everything, everyone and every event Dr de Souza witnessed from the earliest days of Kenya’s struggle for independence, early independence and post-independence about the achievements, the sins and the crimes … Forward to Independence is a gift of truth to the people of Kenya who longed for just such an explanation of some of the things that were done in the corridors of power or conspiracy. Dr de Souza was a fly on many such walls.

The exposes have been brilliant, history has been illuminated and for want of repeating myself, allow me to turn your attention to Fitz de Souza’s earliest recollections of Pio Gama Pinto:

Pio and Me
by Dr F. R. S. De Souza
MY train arrived at Nairobi Railway Station at 8 a.m. one morning in February 1952, after five years as a student in the United Kingdom. There was no one to receive me, indeed I was not expecting anybody. My parents lived at Magadi and I was hoping to give them a surprise. I left my suitcase at a shop in Government Road and walked to the office of the Kenya Indian Congress, I had never met Pio, although he had once written to me in London asking for information about some books he wanted to buy.

His welcome was very warm. I felt I had somehow known him for years. We immediately began discussing the problem of East Africa, and how we could help in the struggle for independence. We had much in common. To begin with, we were both almost penniless and terribly dressed. We were at ease with one another and our ideas of independence and socialism were similar. We must have talked for three or four hours. It was lunchtime and he invited me to lunch with him, at a place which was then the most expensive and luxurious that non-Europeans could go to. Our meal cost us about Shs. 3/- each.

We returned to his office and continued our discussions. I read the speeches of past Presidents of the Indian Congress, of the President of the Kenya African Union, Mr Jomo Kenyatta (as he then was) now our President, I was very impressed, and from then on we worked closely together. At about 6.30 p.m. he asked me what I was doing about accommodation. He invited me to stay with him and I readily accepted. He shared a small room with three others in Pangani in a house run as a "mess" by a large number of his friends. He insisted on giving me his bed and slept on the floor for the next few days until I went to see my parents in Magadi.

His work in Kenya politics is discussed by other friends, but I know, and history will record that Pio had a hand in the preparation of most of the memoranda and statements issued by K.A.U. in those days. He often used to sit up to 5 a.m. in the Congress Office drafting political papers in the nationalist cause.

For all this he never expected payment. His reward was in the contribution he made to the struggle. He never looked for personal credit. A couple of years later when he was the Editor of the "Daily Chronicle", the Royal Commission on Land asked for evidence and there was no one to put forward the African case for all the leaders were in detention. Pio resigned his job, and for three months read the voluminous Carter Commission Report and other documents on the land issue and took statements from Kikuyu Elders and others. He then wrote out, and personally typed and cyclostyled, always working into the early hours of the morning, the 200-page Kikuyu Tribe's Memorandum as well as Memoranda for other individual Mbaris in the Central Province. Pio never told anybody about his work. I sent a copy of this Memorandum to Mzee Kenyatta at Lodwar. He was so impressed that he suggested we publish the Memorandum but for lack of funds, the work was never done.

One day during our discussions Pio suggested that we should do something in East Africa to assist in the Liberation of Goa. I was a little surprised and told him that while I was very sympathetic to the liberation of Goa, and indeed of the rest of the world, I thought that as we were East Africans we should confine our activities to East Africa. We might dissipate our slender resources and there was also the risk of being misunderstood, even by our friends. He explained that as a student and young man in India he had taken an active part in the struggle for the liberation of Goa. He had actively assisted in the formation of the Goa National Congress and had escaped from Goa only when police were searching for him with a warrant to arrest and deport him to an island off West Africa. It was our duty, he suggested as socialists to assist all liberation fronts. Even if we did not now consider ourselves Goans we had names such as De Souza, Pinto, etc. which could be used with some effect. Portuguese colonialism was as bad as any other.

This Goan organisation in East Africa was being used by the Portuguese whose constant propaganda was that Goans overseas - even the educated ones supported the regime and were happy with the Portuguese. Pio had already started a Goan vernacular paper in Nairobi "The Uzwod" to arouse feeling against Portugal. Pio was, unfortunately, arrested before we formed the East African Goan National Association in 1954. Mr J. M. Nazareth, Q.C. was elected President, and I was one of the Vice-Presidents. The association did good work, but the Portuguese colonialists soon got to work with their fellow colonialists in Kenya and banned the organisation. The work of the organisation, however, continued. We were pleasantly surprised to see the great amount of support we had throughout East Africa, particularly from educated Goans. It was impossible for us to stop functioning, even if we wanted to. Contacts made with organisations and individuals in Bombay and Goa flourished. Of necessity, work had to be secret as the Portuguese Consulate and its stooges constantly sent dossiers on all of us to the Special Branch. As usual, they labelled the lot of us "Communists" as that seemed the easiest way to get us suppressed.

A few years later, in 1960, only a few months after he was released, Pio formed the East Africa Goa League. This time the Portuguese Government did not succeed in persuading the Kenya Government to ban it. Nationalists were already much stronger in Kenya. He led a delegation to see Mzee Kenyatta at Maralal. The government had persistently refused him permission to see Mzee Kenyatta, but allowed an East African Goan League delegation to visit him without asking for the names of the members of the delegation, and was quite shocked when Pio arrived at Maralal as the leader!

In May 1961, a delegation from the Goa led by Prof. Lucio Rodrigues and Dr Laura D'Souza arrived in Kenya. Largely under the pretext of singing Goan songs and reciting Goan literature, they instilled some form of self-respect and dignity into East African Goans, many of whom had hitherto been loyal and servile servants of the British Crown. They were amazingly successful.

Hon. Tom Mboya, General Secretary of KANU and Hon. Muinga Chokwe, Coast Chairman, accepted an invitation to attend a Conference on Goa in Delhi. Tom Mbova was, I was later told by Goa Nationalists, extremely eloquent at the Conference. His forthright speech telling India and its Government that it hardly had a right to attempt to liberate Africa when it was afraid to liquidate Portuguese Colonies within its own country made a deep impression on Pandit Nehru and influenced his decision to liberate Goa.

Pandit Nehru then organised an International Seminar on Portuguese Colonies. Perhaps his mind was already made up to liberate Goa - he was testing reaction among friends. Among those who attended were Mr Kaunda from Zambia, Mr Nsilo Swai and Pio Pinto. All the delegates urged military intervention to liberate Goa. Pio was particularly active and passionate in canvassing support for the liberation of Goa as a start to crack the bastion of Portuguese imperialism everywhere. He had told me he thought a few violent and passionate speeches would convince Pandit Nehru to risk the criticism this action would arouse in the West.

A few months later, Mrs Lakshmi Menon arrived in Kenya, and it was obvious that the liberation of Goa was very much in the offing. Pio and Mr Chokwe even offered to organise an international volunteer brigade to assist, but this was not necessary. Goa was liberated by the Indian army. The cowardly Portuguese just fled. Hardly a shot was fired. The only Indian casualties were two officers who went to accept the surrender of Aguada Fort after the Portuguese had raised a white flag, and were killed at almost point-blank range
.
Pio, his brother Rosario, Peter Carvalho and I were invited to take part in the victory celebrations. Pio met many old veterans of the campaign - whom he had not seen since he left India in 1947. Most of them begged him to return to India. They wanted him to be their leader and it was obvious that he had many friends and a good deal of support wherever he went. But he declined. He said he was born in Kenya, and Kenya was his home. While he still had a soft spot for Goa and India, Kenya would be the home where he would work and die
.
Pio then went to New Delhi and discussed Goa with Pandit Nehru and officials of the Indian Government. He took advantage of the opportunity to ask Pandit Nehru for assistance to start a nationalist paper in Kenya. Panditji gave him funds with which Pio began the PAN AFRICAN PRESS LTD. which publishes "Sauti ya Mwafrika" (Voice of Africa), "Pan Africa" and the "Nyanza Times". Most people in Kenya believe that the funds for the press came from China. In fact, the original funds came from India. Naturally, India had to keep quiet about it then. Now that we are a free country, we can tell the truth to the world. 

Back in Kenya, he worked on the launching of movements for the liberation of Angola and Mozambique. With Chokwe, he formed the Mozambique African National Union in Mombasa in 1962. Many of the delegates to the inaugural meeting had travelled hundreds of miles to be present. But the British Government banned the organisation and it faded away, but Pio had formed valuable contacts with Mozambique nationalists
.
Later Pio worked very closely with F.R.E.L.I.M.0. and the Committee of Nine of the O.A.U. and often visited Dar es Salaam to assist them. A few weeks before he was assassinated he told me that his ambition was to resign his seat in Parliament and retire to Lindi or Mtwara on the Mozambique border to assist the freedom fighters actively. His friends would not let him go - they argued that he was needed here. He never lived to help the struggle in Mozambique. But he died with his boots on.



THE DRGS MEMORIAL SAFARI TO KENYA


IN MEMORY OF LEWIS DE SOUZA
FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF VISIT AFRICA LTD EST 1984
www.visitafricalimited.com

Lewis De Souza was a great supporter of the DRGS alumni (CRF)

8 nights in Kenya at a slow relaxing pace with an extension to Mombasa or Zanzibar from US$1526 PER PERSON November 2020

At the heart of the holiday is a program we have designed for you to centre around the DRGS Memorial Mass at your Parklands Church and an itinerary jam-packed with things to do, things to see, things to celebrate ... catch up with old friends. Make some new ones and experience so very special surprises we have packed for you. In addition to your time in Nairobi and the game parks we have chosen, you can lengthen your stay in East Africa by visiting the unforgettable Zanzibar and replenish your nostalgia with memories of yesterday in Mombasa, doing your very own very special things.
 Walking down memory lane
1. Goan Institute - Koroga
2. St Francis Xavier’s Church - Memorial Mass
3. Coach Tour of Nairobi through South C and South B, Westland’s, Ngong Road, Holy Family Basilica, Parliament, City Market, KICC, Goan Gymkhana




FULL ITINERARY

Saturday 21st November 2020: Arrival / Nairobi https://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotellocations/ke/nairobi/index.html
Meet upon arrival in Nairobi and transfer to Double Tree Hilton Hotel for overnight – no breakfast, no lunch & no dinner this day
Sunday 22nd November 2020:
Nairobi Breakfast followed by bus tour of Nairobi, lunch at the Goan Institute and memorial mass at St Francis Xavier Overnight at Double Tree Hilton Hotel - no dinner this day
Monday 23rd November 2020:
Nairobi Breakfast followed by full day at leisure enjoying the facilities of your hotel or visit places of interest in Nairobi, no lunch & no dinner this day Overnight at Double Tree Hilton Hotel
Tuesday 24th November 2020:
Sweetwaters Game Sanctuary www.serenahotels.com 
After breakfast depart by 9.00 am for Sweetwaters Game Sanctuary situated right at the Equator zero degrees latitude to arrive in time for lunch at Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp Afternoon game viewing and sightseeing in Sweetwaters Game Sanctuary including a visit to the only Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya
Dinner and overnight at Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp
 - Distance from Nairobi to Sweetwaters is 245 kilometers approximately 4 hours driving time

Wednesday 25th November 2020:
Sweetwaters Game Sanctuary Full day unlimited game viewing and sightseeing in Sweetwaters Game Sanctuary you have our jeep at your disposal from 6.30am till 6.00pm Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight at Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp
Thursday 26th November 2020:
Lake Naivasha www.sopalodges.com After breakfast depart for Lake Naivasha a fresh water oasis situated at the scenic floor of the Great Rift Valley, you will stop over briefly at Thompson Falls to see and the great waterfalls thereafter proceed to arrive in time for lunch at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge Spend rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure enjoying the facilities of your lodge Dinner and overnight at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge –
Distance from Sweetwaters to Lake Naivasha is 325 kilometers approximately 5 and a half hours driving time
Friday 27th November 2020:
Lake Naivasha Full day at leisure enjoying the facilities of your lodge Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge
Saturday 28th November 2020:
Nairobi After breakfast return to Nairobi and drop off at Double Tree Hilton Hotel for overnight – no lunch & no dinner this day –
Distance from Lake Naivasha to Nairobi is 120 kilometers approximately 3 hours driving time
Sunday 29th November 2020:
Departure / Extension to Mombasa or Zanzibar After breakfast drop off at the International Airport in time to connect outbound flight back home or connect a flight for extension to Mombasa or Zanzibar Complimentary Transport for Shopping this day to Yaya Centre Mall + Masai Market

****** END OF OUR TOUR SERVICES ****** 


3 NIGHTS OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO MOMBASA
3 nights stay at Voyager Beach Resort www.heritage-eastafrica.com on half board US$ 328 NETT per person sharing in a double room and US$ 451 NETT for a single room. Covers airport transfers, accommodation on half board, city tour and lunch at Mombasa Institute.
3 NIGHTS OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO ZANZIBAR
3 nights stay at Bluebay Beach Resort www.bluebayzanzibar.com on half board US$ 490 NETT per person sharing in a double room and US$ 550 NETT in a single room. Covers airport transfers and accommodation on half board
Or
3 nights Stone Town at Hilton Double Tree www.doubletree.com on Bed & Breakfast US$ 325 NETT per person sharing in a double room and US$ 439 NETT in a single room. Covers airport transfers
Optional Tours
Stone Town Tour
Dolphin Tour
Prison Island Safari
Blue Spice Tour
FLIGHT NAIROBI / MOMBASA / NAIROBI ON KENYA AIRWAYS
From US$ 216 NETT per person subject to change by the airline without prior notice
FLIGHT NAIROBI / ZANZIBAR / NAIROBI ON KENYA AIRWAYS
From US$ 425 NETT per person subject to change by the airline without prior notice
Optional excursions in Nairobi:
• Carnivore Restaurant lunch or dinner US$ 40 Per Person
• Daphne Sheldrick US$ 40 Per Person
• Giraffe Centre US$ 40 Per Person
• Karen Blixen US$ 40 Per Person
 Optional in Naivasha:
• Geothermal Spa at Hells Gate (Sulphur Bath beneficial for Skin) US$90 Per Person
• Boat Ride US$ 40 Per Person minimum 4 people 4
Covered on safari:- -
Airport transfers in Nairobi –
Bed & breakfast accommodation in Nairobi –
Full board accommodation while on Safari –
All park entrance fees –
Unlimited game drives in a 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser jeep –
Koroga lunch at Goan Institute in Nairobi with drinks –
Meet & greet services - All accommodation mentioned in the itinerary –
Non – A/C vehicles are used for transfers in Nairobi and on Safari in Kenya.
Not Covered on safari:- -
All items of a personal nature such as tobacco; laundry; phone calls, etc
- Additional sightseeing or deviation from the itinerary
- Tips and porterage
- Medical/Travel Insurance
- Any extras incurred at the lodges/hotels
- Any visa fees
- Domestic and International flights
Contact:
Heather de Souza Managing Director
 VISIT AFRICA LTD
visitafricatd@yahoo.com
+254 725860439 (whatsapp)

Victor Menezes Obit

VICTOR PAUL MENEZES 

Victor passed away peacefully at his home in Rohnert Park, CA surrounded by his loving family. Victor fought lymphoma bravely for 3 years, enduring many treatments. Victor was born in Somalia, and lived in Nairobi, Kenya with his parents and younger brother. At the age of 28 in 1974, he immigrated to London, England and married his wife Maureen. They then immigrated to the United States, settling in San Francisco, California, with their first child, Louise. Victor worked as a plumbing and electrical engineer for many successful companies and for over 50 years. It truly was his passion and he was very skilled. Before having their second child, Andrea, they moved the family to Northern California, and bought their house in Rohnert Park. Victor recently retired from his career as an engineer and was enjoying spending time with his 3 grandchildren, Hannah, Jack and Emerson.

Victor is preceded in Death by his mother and father, Carmen and Jerry. He is survived by his loving wife, Maureen, his two daughters, Louise ( Ari) and Andrea (Peter), his 3 grandchildren, Hannah, Jack and Emerson, his brother, Oscar as well as two aunts, and many cousins.

Victor was a strong, intelligent, man of few words, who was very loved by his family as well as his friends. He loved playing darts, watching the 49ers, the Giants, and EU soccer, and BBQing for his loved ones. We will remember his witty remarks, sage wisdom, and handsome smile.

Services will be taking place this Saturday, March 14th, at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Rohnert Park. The rosary will take place at 10:30 AM, with a mass to follow at 11:00 AM, and luncheon celebration immediately after.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Victor's name to St. Jude's Children's Hospital or the American Cancer Society.



Thank you for all your love and support.

PRAYER SERVICE

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church

Saturday, March 14, 2020
10:30 AM
4595 Snyder Lane
Rohnert Park, CA 94928


FUNERAL MASS

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church

Saturday, March 14, 2020
11:00 AM
4595 Snyder Lane
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

GOA TORONTO TURNS 50




By Armand Rodrigues

Fifty years as a vibrant social and sporting club is a significant milestone in the life of the G.O.A.(Toronto). Its Golden Jubilee is on April,23,2020. A historical perspective of this iconic club follows.
Whether in the humble “khudds” (village clubs) of Bombay or sophisticated institutes and gymkhanas elsewhere, the Goan has always been a gregarious creature with an inborn need for camaraderie. This characteristic has endowed him/her with the propensity to form clubs for social, sporting and literary purposes wherever they go, after coming to terms with the basic necessities of life -- food, clothing and shelter.

Back-pedalling now, prior to 1970 there were only a few amorphous Goan groups in Toronto, and their interests were either religious, social and sporting, but only marginally, as they were loosely-knit and accountable to no one. In the broader sports arena, field hockey was the common factor that brought several Goans together, though they played for different teams. At house parties or gatherings, lip service was paid to the need to form a proper Goan club to foster a sense of belonging, with no evidence of any initiative to form one.

In 1969, it occurred to most of the Goan hockey players that if they played together as a team they could easily be the best in Ontario and in Canada. Roque Barreto was the driving force behind this initiative, with Aloysius Vaz and Willy Monteiro as his lieutenants. To this end, a preliminary and exploratory meeting of all known players and well-wishers was called in December. It could be because of winter, lack of proper transportation, or simply inertia, that attendance was dismal and the meeting proved a failure. Undaunted by the setback, and winter notwithstanding, another meeting was called in January 1970. Of the thirty people notified, only six roughed it out. They were: Roque Barreto, Aloysius Vaz, Willy Monteiro, Tony Fernandes, Anthony D’Souza (Jnr) and Armand Rodrigues.

Decisive action was taken to (a) form an interim committee, (b) enter a Goan team for the forthcoming Canadian Field Hockey tournament, and (c) explore the allied issue of a coherent body under whose banner to play.

Spearheaded by the six, word of mouth brought 24 people together for a general meeting, on April 5, 1970. The idea of a club under whose auspices a consolidated Goan hockey team could play was unanimously endorsed and morphed into the Goan Overseas Association (Toronto) on April 23, 1970. The rest is history. Before long, membership started escalating rapidly and the club gained momentum in the realm of sports and socials. It was a force to reckon with when it came to field hockey, cricket and soccer. Tennis and badminton had a fair list of adherents. When the Uganda Goan refugees swelled our ranks in 1972, they came with enviable credentials and gave our teams a welcome fillip. The club garnered trophies in many an open tournament. Egged on by its success, it floated the Norbert Menezes Memorial Gold Cup field hockey tournament for a number of years. This tournament became pre-eminent on the continent and attracted teams from as far away as India, England, the Caribbean and the States. And, the ladies were not forgotten. They competed for the Savio & Joyce Barros trophy. Many members also donated floating trophies for other tournaments at parochial level.

Dances were always a sell-out to the extent the Lions’ Club in Etobicoke could cope with a capacity crowd. The dinners were beyond compare and the band was the best our means would allow. Needless to say, the camaraderie was exceptional. As would be expected, members formed the Goan Theatrical Group and kept lagging cultural traits and language skills alive with regular offerings of Konkani plays (“tiatr”) and lively songs. Annual Track & Field meets brought sister-clubs together in healthy competition. 

The hugely successful International Goan Convention in 1988 (under the aegis of the club) was the brainchild of Zulema D’Souza, our first female President. It put the club firmly on the map and remains unmatched to date. The International Goan Youth Convention held in Goa in 1990, was a spin-off from the Toronto Convention. Embracing all facets of Goan life, “Viva Goa” festivities serve to showcase the community to all and sundry. And, not forgotten are the disadvantaged people in our community. The Goan Charitable Organization – a registered charity—comes to their aid.

In the early heady days, the vibrancy of the club was palpable. It was the largest Goan club on the continent, and the most active. Credit for managing the club and catering admirably to members’ needs, goes to the hardworking men and women who over the years have given selflessly of their time and energy in fostering the aims of the club.

That was then and this is now. Over the years, like clubs everywhere, membership that peaked some years back has started to ebb somewhat. Population growth has not translated into a corresponding increase in membership. Societal factors such as fragmentation, diminishing community allegiance, inter-marriages and insularity, in our second generation Goans, are changing our physiognomy, and our clubs are gradually lapsing into a terminal mode. Seniors’ clubs, spawned by the mother-house, have picked up the slack and have been doing a commendable job, at both ends of the city of Toronto.

When all is said and done, it must be noted that a younger set with nostalgic traits, has taken over the G.O.A. (Toronto), from the old guard, for some years now. Selwyn Collaco has been the President for the last few years now and has used his managerial and business acumen to keep the club abreast of developments in this digital age. He has done more than any other president of the club, to bring Goans from different camps to the G.O.A. (T) tent. He is ably assisted by like-minded committee members. And, Greta Dias keeps tending to the social needs of retirees, with unprecedented zeal. These volunteers keep the flame alive and pulsate to the rhythms of the times.

To celebrate the Jubilee, an elegant bash, with sit-down dinner and appropriate libation, and the accompaniment of two bands is slated for August 1, 2020.

A hearty toast to the club is in order!

(A picture of five of the six that spearheaded the formation of the club, is attached)



Left to Rt. : Armand Rodrigues/Tony Fernandes/Roque Barreto/Aloysius Vaz/ TonyD’Souza. Missing: Willy Monteiro. All are still alive.

The day Antao ticked off the Goans in Mombasa

SERAPHINO ANTAO, the Goan superstar, was not a man who bit his tongue. He said what was troubling him. He had a bitter of a temper, and who could deny him that as most athletes are by nature pretty highly strung. However, he often chose his words carefully. Yet, when life in the fast lane became a bit of wild whirlwind, he would ask a friend to write some of his speeches. There were times when it was the speechwriter talking and not the real Antao.

However, there was one day when he said what he ad to say to the Goans and the Coastal community in general. It was recorded by the local media:


Antao criticises
poor support
by community


Seraphino Antao, the Mombasa sprinter who won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Perth, said in Mombasa on Saturday that the public in general and a community, in particular, could assist in a great way in fostering, encouraging Kenya sportsmen and sportswomen who showed promise. “This attitude I regret to say sadly lacking in my own community,” he added.

Antao was speaking at the Goan Institute ground at a rally held in his honour by the Goan community.

He continued: “Many of our members, who hold high positions in sports organisations, clubs, institutions and elsewhere, tend to forget the purpose of accepting such offices.

“To the best of my knowledge and experience, these people accept to serve only for the sole purpose of getting into the limelight.

“Before I left for Europe at the beginning of last year and my subsequent participation in the Commonwealth Games at Perth, there were a number of doubting Thomases in this country, but I hope my achievements will now have confounded the worst of my enemies.

He singled out his coach Ray Batchelor for special mention: “I am sure he is proud that his efforts in training me have not been wasted.”

The highlight of the rally was a presentation to Antao of an address signed by the presidents of the Mombasa Goan Community, the Goan Institute and St Francis Xavier’s Tailor’s Society on behalf of their members.

The address, which was read by Mr Archie Fernandes, president of the Mombasa Goan Community, said Antao “epitomised all that is grand in Goan sporting endeavour.”

In a football match held during the rally, Bardez beat Salcette 3-2.




Why there is no official recognition of Seraphino Antao in Mombasa

Seraphino Antao trainings on the sands of a Mombasa beach with coach Ray Batchelor

Why Mombasa does not raise
 a totem in Seraphino’s name

Over the past few decades supporters and fans of the only Kenyan to win a sprint double, the late Seraphino Antao, at the Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962, has failed in repeated attempts to get the city fathers and politicians in Mombasa to raise a permanent memorial to its most illustrious son. Another Goan, who was virtually the godfather of the Kenya coast having helped many, many people, is another who deserves recognition. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt if any recognition will be forthcoming.

I have lent my support to these voices and I tried speaking to various people in Nairobi, but my words always fell on deaf ears, except one voice and he would not go on record. He told me that “it is unlikely that any Goan will see his or her name gracing any Mombasa street sign. There are fewer than 200 full-time Goans left scattered along the Kenya Coast and Mombasa. Where their political influence is non-existent or the at the best peripheral, their economic importance remains limited.

“It is not a growing community it is a diminishing community. In a few decades, there may not be anyone around to recognize the names of past heroes.” There are approximately 80 regular Goan parishioners at the iconic Holy Ghost Cathedral.

From Mombasa, I understand that the elderly members of the Goan community had concerns about certain aspects of Antao’s life in the UK. (Although my sources is most reliable and an authority on Mombasa affairs. I would find it difficult believe any Goan would spike any effort to raise a permanent recognition of Antao's achievement at the Coast and around the world.)

On the other hand, there is a certain cynicism about names on Mombasa streets and, more particularly, those of politicians in Mombasa in general. According to one observer:  One day they will name a street after a famous historical figure or prominent coast personality … and the next day it is re-named after a rival faction’s “flavour-of-the-month”.

“The main thoroughfare through the Nyali suburb on the Mombasa North Coast was recently renamed Fidel Odinga Street. Fidel was a young son of the political star Raila Odinga.

“When asked to justify Fidel’s name on the Nyali street sign, one comment was ‘Fidel was a big supporter of local commerce … the Mombasa hard drugs industry.’”

I do not wish to speak ill of the dead, however, Fidel was said to have died of a heroin overdose. RIP in any case.

Like Fidel, I think any thoughts of Mombasa recognizing Antao are also dead. Shame on all those petty decision-makers in Mombasa.

Pio Gama Pinto and Campos Ribeiro were the only two Goan names I recognised in Nairobi.