Sunday, May 31, 2020

Walter Fernandes: Out of Africa, unforgettable moments

 Pictured with Walter are Godfrey Rodrigues (brother of hockey Olympian Danny Rodrigues) Rosario Rosa (photographer) , Peter Couthinho , and Hilary Carasco .

STOP PRESS: Death: Alberto Rodrigues. Ex Nairobi

29 May: Bambolim, Goa. ALBERTO RODRIGUES. Born May 1925. Ex Nairobi. It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Alberto Rodrigues following a short illness some days after celebrating his 95th birthday. In 1955 Alberto took over management of the famous Sequeira’s Bar opposite Jeevanjee Gardens in Nairobi from his father and ran the business until it closed in the late 1970s. He was a passionate amateur musician and enjoyed playing the violin and singing. He was well known in Nairobi musical circles and among music lovers in Goa following his retirement there in later years. He will be sadly missed by his surviving brother Scipiao and his many nieces and nephews and their families who held him in great affection. Due to lockdown restrictions a small funeral service took place in Alto Porvorim on 2nd June when he was laid to rest with his beloved wife Iva who passed away in October 2018. Condolences to Goan Voice UK


Making music



I WAS born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1941. My first love in music was the drums but fate took another hand as I will explain. When I was around 6 years of age, I was struck by then the relatively unknown disease, polio. I was paralyzed in the leg whilst my sister Thelma was affected in the left hand.  I was surprised one day when my dad surprised me with a drum set.  Being still unable to use one leg, dad would rent the set to a Goan band for 50 shillings. Unfortunately, after a few rentals, one drum came back home with a large hole. That did it, he promptly sold it. I was very, very fortunate to recover from polio.

I attended Dr Ribeiro Goan School. One Saturday my dad returned from an auction with a violin that he purchased for 12 shillings and 50 cents.    My musical career kicked off the next Monday when dad arranged for me to be tutored by A.R. Da Costa who was the choirmaster at St. Francis Church. 

Sometime in 1957, Dr Ribeiro Goan School  Ex-Students awarded me a bursary together with the  Diana D`Souza, Rudolf Gonsalves and Leandro Saldana to study music at the East African Conservatoire of Music where I initially was coached by Nat Kofsky and then Anthony Alvares, a brilliant violinist.

Following that, I won at the Kenya Festival of Music the best violinist under the age of 16 and was very proud to be presented with the trophy by the Governor-General Sir Evelyn Baring.

Dad would make me practice 5 hours a day come whatever, so by the age of 18  was pretty good. Having completed school in 1957, I played as a second violist with The Nairobi Orchestra and in the orchestra at various musical plays brought up by City Players.

I had the pleasure to get to know prominent Goan Musicians well known to the Nairobi musical circles. They were Anthony  Alvares, Anthony Noronha (better known as Oboe ), Albert Rodrigues (Viola), Luis Pires (Violinist) Guilherme Pires (Bass).

On July 20th 1966, a farewell recital was organized for Anthony (Oboe) Noronha at the residence of J. M. Nazareth Q.C. Oboe had sacrificed so much of his time promoting music within the Goan community.  For years, he conducted the junior orchestra.  At this farewell recital, nearly every known Goan musician took part.  Oboe soon left for the UK where he, unfortunately, passed away.

In 1984,  I was running my own video business. On this particular day a woman, unknown to me, walked into my office, asked me if I was Walter, then asked me if I would like to take part in a movie that was going to be shot in Nairobi. I said yes, after which she asked me if I could arrange for a Goan drummer and pianist. I arranged for Clifford D`Souza who is an excellent pianist and Ronny Coutinho, drummer.  It turned out to be  Out of Africa with Merle Streep and Robert Redford. This movie won 9 academy awards. (The film clip will be on my FB page, Blogger down seem to allow it, Cyprian).

Isabella Wise nee de Souza: Sadly, Albert Rodrigues, the violinist mentioned passed away in Goa on March 29 2020. RIP>

Unknown: Isabella, Albert was a great violinist. Very often Albert with Anthony Alvares, Pires (second violin), Albert (viola)... I forget the fourth, would play quartets. Sorry to hear of Albert's passing. Cyprian Fernandes: This was the golden age of classical Goan music in Kenya.

Unknown: Going through my files I found  a copy of "A FAREWELL CONVERT TO OBOE". The concert took place at the home of JM Nazerath QC on July 20 1968 and included sopranos Helen de Souza and Euphemia Fernandes. Brought tears to my eyes. Oboe taught me chess.



The Pinto Family

The Pinto Family

Our story begins with one couple and an impulsive idea.
Felix Pinto was one of Kenya’s most highly-regarded farmers. His wife Jane was an elite international table tennis player. They lived on a rambling farm off Bogoni Road, in the Nairobi suburb of Karen, where they raised their three kids.
In 1966 these second-generation Kenyans decided to start a little safari company. Micato, now a big company, (in which Jane and Felix are very active), remains a family affair, committed to making its Micato affiliate employees on three continents, and its guests from all over the world, feel like family.


The Pintos of Micato

Felix Pinto and Jane Pinto, Micato Africa’s founders, live just outside Nairobi in beautiful Lavington House, where they entertain all Micato visitors in the capital city; they also enjoy sojourns to their Cape Town residence and safaris with their children and grandchildren.
Felix is one of Kenya’s most respected businessmen. The family’s Ideal Farm, close by Nairobi National Park, was for many years a model East African agro-industrial enterprise (and the home of a cadre of prize-winning livestock—including a massively beautiful champion pig who occupies regal stature in family lore; when you dine with Felix and Jane in Nairobi, ask them to tell you the story of the Empress of Ideal Farm).
Jane is a former Kenyan table tennis champion (ask her about having her picture taken with China’s premier Zhou Enlai during the famous Ping Pong Diplomacy tournament in 1971). She sits on the board of the International Table Tennis Federation, represents Kenya at the Olympics and at international championships, and is an accomplished businesswoman. But Jane’s greatest passion is helping her country’s children in need; her work with Mother Teresa is reflected in Micato-AmericaShare’s programs.
Executive Director Anastasia Pinto heads up Micato’s multi-continental sales efforts from her base in Los Angeles. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, she began her sales career with Hyatt Hotels in the South Pacific. Anna is deeply involved with the Pediatric Therapy Network and Sandpipers, an influential Southern California women’s philanthropy, and she is a major force behind Micato-AmericaShare, just one example of her embrace of Africa’s and the Pinto family’s tradition of supporting those in need.
After graduating from St. Mary’s School in Nairobi, Dennis Pinto, Micato’s Managing Director, headed west to Stanford and then all over the world as a vice president for American Express International Banking. Thirty years ago Dennis took a six-month sabbatical to set up a New York City office for Micato, and he’s still happily ensconced in the Big Apple. Skillfully honing the Micato Safaris philosophy of luxury, exploration, cultural interaction, and responsibility, he also co-founded Micato-AmericaShare.
Joy Phelan-Pinto, our Executive Director and Dennis’ bride of 20+ years, an alumna of Taft School and Brown University, oversees Micato’s brand and editorial strategy and is the impresaria of this website and our hard copy publications. Joy’s love of travel and the travel business led her to executive positions with Travel Dynamics and the Cunard Line. She managed such legendary vessels as Sea Goddess, Sea Cloud, and Royal Viking Sun, and at last count has travelled to 120 countries and territories. She has summited Kilimanjaro, regularly explores Africa and India, Micato’s ancestral homeland, with the family, and she and Dennis keep their New York home fires burning for their Ivy Leaguers, Sasha at Brown and Tristan at Yale.
Alan Lobo, our Chief Operating Officer, is a graduate of Southern California’s Loyola Marymount University and is a mainstay of New York City’s much-vaunted Village Lions Rugby Football Club. Alan grew up with Micato: his mother, Dulu, is Jane Pinto’s cherished sister and Micato’s Head Concierge Emerita in Nairobi.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Two of the most hated and feared men in Kenya

 I have not been able establish the author of the material published below. However, factually it is correct and could be the product of similar stories published all over the place.

Joginder Singh Sokhi, a Kenyan Asian, and Patrick David Shaw, a Kenyan White, were two of Kenya's most dreaded non-Black security officers of the 1970s and 1980s. Joginder Singh Sokhi was a Kenya Police Officer who rose to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, while Patrick David Shaw was not a formal Kenya Police Officer, but a Kenya Police Reservist.

Joginder Singh Sokhi in particular, was dreaded amongst Kenya's Asians in those times. In the Nairobi of those times, it was common to find groups of Asians on different corners of Nairobi's streets chatting, and certain times a group of Asians chatting would suddenly disperse and flee in fear in different directions i.e. "every man for himself," as if they had just seen a herd of elephants approaching. What it was is that they had seen Joginder Singh Sokhi approaching. Many Kenyans speak of the Daniel T. arap Moi years in Kenya and how they were "a reign of terror." Well the Jomo Kenyatta years in Kenya were probably a worse "reign of terror" than the Daniel T. arap Moi years.

And then in both the Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel T. arap Moi years in Kenya, there were quite a number of scams like coffee smuggling and smuggling of precious stones, and quite a number of Asians, Blacks and Whites were involved.

Joginder Singh Sokhi would target the Asians suspected of involvement in these scams, and what Joginder Singh Sokhi would sometimes do is dress up like a civilian, like a "street hustler," and then visit the Nairobi cinema halls of those times i.e. long before the advent of Video Cassette Recorders (VCRs), Digital Video Discs (DVDs), the internet, YouTube and Netflix. There were quite a number of cinema halls in Nairobi in those days i.e. what were regarded the downtown cinema halls like Odeon Cinema Hall, Embassy Cinema Hall, ABC Cinema Hall, Cameo Cinema Hall, and Shah Cinema Hall, and what were regarded the uptown cinema halls like 20th Century Cinema Hall, Liberty Cinema Hall, Nairobi Cinema Hall, Metropole Cinema Hall and Kenya Cinema Hall.

Many Kenyan Asians preferred the downtown cinema halls and what Joginder Sokhi Singh would sometimes do, dressed like a "street hustler," is track some of his "suspects" to the downtown cinema halls. It could be real drama e.g. in the middle of a movie, there would be a sudden commotion, and when the lights came on, you would note Joginder Singh Sokhi leaving the cinema hall as he tightly gripped the hands of one or two Asians.

That was Joginder Singh Sokhi for you. Joginder Singh Sokhi loved Joginder Singh Sokhi, and given a second chance, Joginder Singh Sokhi would still have chosen to be Joginder Singh Sokhi. He loved the image he had cut for himself in the Kenya of those times.

Enter Patrick David Shaw, still the most dreaded Kenya Police Reservist in Kenyan History so far. Patrick David Shaw was like Joginder Singh Sokhi in the sense that Patrick David Shaw loved Patrick David Shaw, and given a second chance, Patrick David Shaw would still have chosen to be Patrick David Shaw.

Kenya's Asians dreaded Joginder Singh Sokhi, Kenya's Blacks, including this writer, dreaded Patrick David Shaw.

Shaw had three trademark vehicles in those times i.e. a White Volvo model of the 1970s, exactly the same model but blue in colour, and a White 1980s model Mercedes. Many Kenyans of those times were familiar with Shaw's motor vehicles i.e. they stood out, and where they were spotted, that area was studiously avoided, lest Shaw was on the trail of "suspects," and lest there was suddenly an exchange of gunfire, and you found yourself caught in the middle of that gunfire.
Shaw hardly slept i.e. he was like a 24 hour guy e.g. his vehicle, at least one of the three of those times, could be spotted at a downtown Nairobi location at 3.00 a.m. in the morning, three hours later i.e. 6.00 a.m., it could be spotted somewhere much further off like Ngong, in Northern Nairobi, and then about two hours later i.e. 8.00 a.m. it could be spotted at the very opposite end of Ngong e.g. Embakasi. Shaw was an "omnipresent" kind of guy.

Both Joginder Singh Sokhi and Patrick David Shaw were implicated in the murder in 1975 of flamboyant Kenyan politician Josiah Mwangi Kariuki i.e. J.M. Kariuki.

J.M. Kariuki was last seen alive leaving Nairobi's Hilton Hotel in the company of then General Service Unit (GSU) Commandant Ben Gethi, on Sunday evening, 2nd March 1975. Very soon before this, both Joginder Singh Sokhi and Patrick David Shaw were seen outside Hilton Hotel. J.M. Kariuki's abduction and murder were like a military operation e.g. soon before J.M. Kariuki left Hilton Hotel in the company of Ben Gethi, Kenya Police Officers under the supervision of Patrick David Shaw, cleared the streets surrounding Hilton Hotel of all Human traffic.

J.M. Kariuki was first taken to then Headquarters of the Directorate of Security Intelligence (DSI) i.e. the then "Special Branch" Headquarters i.e. Kingsway House, off University Way, Nairobi, where he was "interrogated," before being taken to the foot of the Ngong Hills where he was shot dead.

Both Joginder Singh Sokhi and Patrick David Shaw were present at Kingsway House when J.M. Kariuki was being "interrogated." Ben Gethi was also present. Also present was Inspector Arthur Wanyoike Thungu of President Jomo Kenyatta's Presidential Security Detail.
Inspector Arthur Wanyoike Thungu had a passionate dislike for J.M. Kariuki and at a certain point during the "interrogation" of J.M. Kariuki, Inspector Thungu asked J.M. Kariuki why he i.e. J.M. Kariuki, was undermining the Government of President Jomo Kenyatta, and J.M. Kariuki responded rudely i.e. something on the lines of "Go F yourself." Inspector Thungu punched J.M. Kariuki so hard in the face, immediately knocking out two of J.M. Kariuki's teeth. J.M. Kariuki's autopsy report indeed indicated that two of his teeth were missing.

Patrick David Shaw died in mysterious circumstances in February 1988. It is said that Patrick David Shaw was executed because he had refused to go and "shot dead" then Kenyan Vice President Mwai Kibaki, which passes as unbelievable i.e. Mwai Kibaki yes, was dropped as Kenyan Vice President the following month i.e. March 1988 i.e. after the Kenyan General Elections of March 1988, but Mwai Kibaki is still alive and kicking 32 years after February and March 1988, and 7 years after he exited the Kenyan Presidency.

Joginder Singh Sokhi passed away in 2018.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Gone fishin' ... in Uganda, and here and there!


By Armand Rodrigues

Fishing comes naturally to the Goan.  Many a Goan has fished off the freshwater piers in Entebbe, Port Bell, Bukakata, Mbulamuti, Namasagali, or from the shore or rocks at Old Entebbe, Nkumba, the old Rippon Falls – just to name a few.

Other the ones that got away, catches included Nsoga (kerio), Tilapia (ngege), a bony fish called Kisinja, and catfish.  But, the most exciting to land was undoubtedly the large Nile Perch.  Join me on a memorable fishing expedition for this worthy game-fish of the deep.

All agog with excitement, four of us pile into Seby’s pint-size Austin A40 (UFB113), well before sunrise.  Our destination:  Mbulamuti on the mighty Nile, where a pre-arranged motorboat, with heavy-duty fishing gear, awaits us.  Naturally, we carry adequate provisions for sustenance and copious quantities of fluid fortification.

In the early morning fog, Prip, the navigator, is still in a fog himself.  He is not a morning person.  Instead of a left turn at a fork near Kasangati, we go off to the right  (blame it on the fog !), only to find ourselves in the middle of nowhere.  We retrace our path, but not before the radiator starts belching smoke.  (Cars in those days had water-cooled radiators).  Seby could not remember if he had checked the water level the day before.  Panic sets in.  There is no water in sight.  All make a personal contribution that saves the day. We arrive at our destination without any other incident.

The local “captain” of our battered old boat promises to take us to the best fishing spots for perch.   Four lines are soon trolling in the wake of the boat.  An hour goes by without a bite.  We do not have to watch our lines.  Each of us is absorbed in his thoughts, the uppermost being:  “Will I be the first”?  The diesel fumes are overpowering.  The malodorous and dank swamp air does nothing to assuage our pent-up anticipation.  The Equatorial sun begins to test our tolerance.

Suddenly,  Freddie P. breaks the silence with a victory yell, when he gets a tug that nearly yanks him out of the boat.  To the uninitiated, it is akin to hooking a large log.  The next thing you know, a large specimen leaps high into the air and lands with a splash that sends ripples to our boat some 50 metres away.   The ”captain” cuts the engine and orders all other lines in to avoid them from getting snagged.   The adrenalin is pumping and F.P. “plays” and struggles with the perch for nearly an hour.  Exhausted and with no fight left, eager hands help in gaffing and then laboriously heaving the 150-pounder on board.  The catcher feels drained and does justice to two large bottles of Bell to revive himself.

The rest of us continue fishing, while F.P. sports a grin of smug superiority.  All but one of us – who shall remain nameless – are lucky and manage to land good sizers.  The boatman is kept busy de-gutting the fish as fast as we heave them on board. 

Seby’s A40 groans and protests under the added load.  The radiator has now been topped up with brackish Nile water.

We head straight for Lake Victoria Hotel at our home base of Entebbe.  No, we are not going there for fish steaks!  Besides, we are unpresentable and reeking of fish and other unidentifiable odours.  Our good friend,  Motez R., the chef, receives our catch at the rear entrance, for storing in the hotel’s cold room,(we had no fridges in those days) till we are ready to saw off chunks for consumption or distribution to friends and neighbours.

Then off to the Goan Institute to brag about our piscatorial prowess and related adventures.

CRF: And who could forget the wonderful Samaki Club at the Railway Institute: Skip, Peter Fernandes, Filu Mazor Rodrigues, John Goes, Derryck De Mello, Tyrone D’Souza, Reynold D’Souza, Diamond Mike, Jules D’Souza (?), Norman da Costa, Steve Fernandes, Sidney Machado, and who else, many names I forget.

Then there were guys in Kisumu, many of whom used to just pop out to catch large tilapia (ngege) that night’s dinner or fishing in Lake Rudolf (later Lake Turkana) for giant tilapia, ferocious tiger fish and gigantic Nile Perch and plenty. Who could forget Franklin Pereira and Peter George D’Souza, kings of the Indian Ocean out of Mombasa fishing for Marlin, Black Marlin, Spanish Mackerel, huge tasty reef fish and lots and lots more, as a business and purely for fun? What about all those guys in Zanzibar, who first went fishing the India Ocean in dhows, the guys from Tanga all the way down to the Mozambique border fishing the mighty India Ocean. The Indian Ocean and its bounty of mackerel, whiting, Spanish mackerel, blue and mud crabs, and a million other favourites …


  PAUL NAZARETH A dedicated clubman Paul Nazareth is typical of the young Goans who grew up in East Africa and Nairobi and Mombasa in ...