Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Opening Ceremony: Dr de Sousa Estate (new updates, photos)

THE secret of any success I have enjoyed as a writer, reconteur, story-teller a spinner of yarns has been largely due to old and new friends who have been kind enough to share their stories, photos and other memorabilia. Without your support, I would be much less than the story-teller I have become. This is particularly true about the historic photographs featured on this page.

The fact that someone has had the foresight to collect not only the photographs but also a copy of The Goan Voice just goes to show just how much the Dr de Sousa Estate was valued by so many. Although the naming of the project (looked on with pride by the majority of the Goan community in Nairobi) wallowed in controversy, the photos are evidence the opening was celebrated with a lot people and ceremony to match. Of course, some chose not to be a part of it.

ONE VIEW IS: "An official opening ceremony was held on the centre oval. Dr Gregory was the guest of honour and the estate was named The Dr De sousa Goan Estate. However, the brahmins of the estate objected to the naming and boycotted the ceremony. They went as far as hanging black flags from their balconies. They conveniently forgot that without Dr De sousa, there never would have been a Goan Estate in the first place."

THE OPPOSITE VIEW: The Goan Housing Estate had 26 houses 13 with Black Flags (my father was one) and 13 in support of naming it Dr A.C.L. de Sousa Estate.

     As the writer of the article says caste may have played a part - I don`t know about this. What I do know that caste played a great part In dividing the Goan community and that is why we had five Goan clubs in Nairobi.

    Let`s roll the clock back a little. Dr de Sousa also got a piece of land adjoining the Dr. Ribeiro Goan Primary School.  The GOA eventually built a Secondary School there and named it "Dr A.C.L. de Souza Secondary School."  So, we had two schools in one. Now everything has changed we have one school that is called : " Dr. RIBEIRO PARKLANDS SCHOOL."

   Going back to the naming of the Goan Estate some of the residents thought that Dr de Sousa was just doing his duty as President of the GOA and that the landlords paid for the land and the rest of the work was done by the GOA.

    Talking about the Goan Housing Estate, Pangani, it was more than just a housing estate it was like a Mini Club… (at least for the youngsters).

   And Skippy don`t forget we also had another Goan Housing Estate called " St. Francis Xavier`s Housing Estate " somewhere in Eastleigh.

·         Incidentally, Dr de Sousa was the first Asian to buy a plot of land in Parklands, at a time when the suburb was Europeans only. He built a fine home. I don’t know if my informant is referring to that piece of land which won after a bitter fight in the courts. Perhaps most significantly, the archives also record the legal fight by an Indian from Portuguese Goa, a Dr ACL de Sousa. Bizarrely enough, the protective covenant system did not prevent non-Europeans from buying or owning such land - but they could not live on it. De Sousa, who had bought property in Parklands in 1924, appealed to the governor to be able to live on his own property. He won his case in 1928, apparently sparking the flurry of ownership changes. (The art deco houses of Parklands)

The Opening Ceremony

As reported by the now defunct but original Goan Voice (Kenya)

AT 3:30 pm on May 30, 1957, the Vice President of the Goan Overseas Association, Mr J G De Sousa, welcome the Mayor, Issy Somen, the GOA General Secretary Thome Pereira, the chairman of the residents association Peter da Costa, J.R. Gregory (the former mayor and a great friend of the Goan community: the first person he met when arrived in Kenya was a Goan and thus his connection with the Goan was born) Councillor Shanti Pandit, the building contractor Harbajan Singh, residents and well-wishers.

“We are gathered here this evening to witness the opening ceremony of the first Goan Estate in Nairobi which His Worship the Mayor has kindly undertaken to perform.

“In naming the estate “Dr De Sousa Estate) the council has paid a great tribute to a man who has contributed so much to the good, not only of his own community, but the Asian community in general.

“Dr De Sousa has rendered immeasurable service for the benefit of both these communities, his name has been linked with the founding of so many social, political and educational institutions in Nairobi, such as the Desai Memorial Hall, the Indian Maternity Home, The Goan Overseas Association, the Goan School, the Goan East African Conference and the weekly newspapers, the Goan Voice.

“He has also served as an elected member of the Kenya Legislative Assembly for four years and as a representative of the Nairobi City Corporation as it was once known.

“The housing scheme was his own initiative (with a lot of help from his friend Dr J.R. Gregory and others). Dr De Sousa secured a piece of land from the City Council through the GOA and allocated plots of land to the present holders with the aid of a sub-committee approved by the GOA for that purpose of the estate.

Some of the occupants have object ed to the naming of the estate as “Dr De Sousa Estate” presumably on the grounds that they would be labelled tenants of Dr De Sousa. If that is the fear, I can assure them that they are not tenants but owners in their own rights of the estate.

“My only regret is that due to his ill health Dr De Sousa has been unable to be present here this evening to witness the opening ceremony. However, our thoughts are greatly with him right now and I know that express the sincere wishes of the present assembly in voicing a speedy recovery and many more years of life to Dr De Sousa.”

The Mayor of Nairobi, Issy Somen, said that they were honouring a pioneer for the great part he had played in the development of a fine city. “I would like to ask all the people here who find themselves in disagreement with those who hold office to remember that they too are sincere in their objection, so are those with whom they disagree, they too are equally sincere in their beliefs.”

The mayor said he respected Dr De Sousa all the more because he was not the type of man who wished to please everyone. He said he wished the same spirit of co-operation which had existed in the colony in the early days would be more in evidence today. He urged the estate’s residents to direct their effort to that purpose. He finished by saying: “I have great pleasure of declaring the estate open and naming it Dr De Sousa Estate.”

Peter Da Costa, chairman of the residents’ association: “I represent the residents of the estate and I personally would like to thank the City Council, the GOA, the Savings and Loans Society, for having helped us make these houses a success.” He also thanked Dr Gregory and Dr De Sousa for having realised this scheme and for making it available to Goans only.

Dr Gregory said he was saddened by the absence of the Dr De Sousa. He pointed out they were the initiators of the housing scheme and made it a reality after enormous efforts and sacrifices. It had taken a lot of hard work and dedication to make a reality. He said it would be a tragedy if the Goan community missed the opportunity to honour one of the colony’s great leaders.

I am at a loss on one point: when did the name change to "Goan Housing Estate".  I would argue, although I was just a boy when I saw Dr ACL De Sousa once at the Nairobi City Council, that perhaps he had to be tough, believe in himself and pursue the dream of improving the lot of the Goan community. I doubt if there are many alive today who would argue the point. On the other there is some evidence that the Dr De Souca Estate name was dropped for reasons of caste:  "An official opening ceremony was held the centre oval. Dr Gregory was the guest of honour and the estate was named The Dr De Sousa Goan Estate. However, the brahmins of the estate objected to the naming and boycotted the ceremony. They went as far as hanging black flags from their balconies. They conveniently forgot that without Dr De Sousa, there never would have been a Goan Estate in the first place."

Anyway, I dedicate this page to the parent or parents who had the foresight to save this memorabilia so we could all share it. By the way I think there was also a similar Goan Estate in Eastleigh???!!!!

Mayor J.R. Gregory

Alderman Dr. J. R. Gregory, the Mayor of Nairobi, speaking in the Goan Institute, Nairobi, on the occasion of Silver Jubilee celebration of the Goan Overseas Association, on 17th July, 1952, replied to the toast thus: Two important events

occurred 25 years ago-the Goan Overseas Association was founded and he (Dr Gregory) arrived in Nairobi

"On arrival here the first person to shake my hand was a Goan," said the Mayor. "And there started the friendship with the Goan people which has increased as the years went by."

"The Goan people have a special affection in the hearts of all those who love Kenya. The Goans attend their services on Sundays and their work for the rest of the week in a very law-abiding manner."

Alderman Dr. Gregory recalled that when he came to Nairobi all the grocers in the town were Goans. Then a depression came and these grocers supported their customers so effectively that they went bankrupt themselves.

This was typical of the sort of things Goans did, he said. They were so generously-minded towards other people that they seemed to forget their own problems.

On Goan educational facilities Alderman Gregory said they all realised that the Goans were an English-speaking race who enjoyed English literature, but there was another and even greater problem facing them and that was the problem of adequate housing.? From DRGS archive.

By Dr. Alan de Sousa Rodrigues


          Dr. A.C.L de Sousa combined medical brilliance and

          foresight with statesmanship and a profound sense

          of responsibility to the land he lived in.  A

          pioneer journalist, a great politician, an active

          social worker, an accomplished leader of many

          facets, a devoted husband, loving father and

          wonderful friend he was.  Born on May 10, 1883, in

          Carmona, Goa, he left the village, disillusioned

          with village jealousies and petty politics.


In Bombay he studied medicine at J.J. College of Medicine.


On arriving in Kenya in 1915, he was appointed Government

Medical Officer in Mombasa. Thus commenced an epoch so

eventful that it ended only with his death on July 17, 1958.


In 1919 he married the charming and gracious Dr.  Mary

Matilda Pereira of Mazagon, Bombay, whom he met while at

medical college.  He entered private practice with his wife

and lived at his beautiful home in Parklands with their

children, Theo de Sousa, Dr.  Peter de Sousa and Aura de

Sousa Rodrigues.


Writing was in his blood. His forceful notes were masterly

political writings loaded with sound facts, fearless

arguments and logical criticism.  No subject did his prolific

pen not adorn.  He was gifted with a flair for eloquence

which could sway a mob or charm the most cultured audience.

He expressed his frank and studied opinion on every subject

affecting his community.


          He wrote freely for the *Democrat*, later for

          *Fairplay*, a weekly he helped to found, then for

          the *Colonial Times* and later for the *Goan

          Voice*, of which he was founder and editor.  A

          worthy tribute to him would be to compile all his

          literary works in one single volume -- newspaper

          articles, editorials, funeral orations, messages of

          sympathy and appreciation, speeches at condolence

          meetings and brochures, to capture the spirit of

          the man and extent of his contribution the Goan and

          Indian community in Kenya.


Whatever he touched in public life, he adorned. As a public

worker he rose in the eyes of all communities of Kenya.  His

opponents said he was overambitious.  If ambitious he was,

his ambition drove him to work for his people.  His work was

so much behind the scenes that people had no real knowledge

of the extent to which he served the community.  His

understanding and love of the necessity of education is his

greatest work.


He is one of the few Goans who never swerved from the path of

rectitude for personal gains -- if so, he would have been a

millionaire.  Brutally outspoken and serious looking, the

lion was not as fierce as he was painted.  Within him was a

heart of gold and wells of kindness and compassion.


          A great Goan, one of the first to step on the

          shores of East Africa, he will be remembered with

          gratitude for his service and for the Indian

          Maternity Hospital, built as a result of his

          efforts, the Goan Overseas Association of which he

          was founder and President, the Desai Memorial

          Library, the East African Goan Conference.  the

          Goan Housing Scheme, the Indian Association, and

          the Indian Medical & Dental Association.


He was a member of the Legislative Council from 1934 to 1938

and of the Nairobi Municipal Council for many years.

Described as the greatest protagonist of Goan Education in

East Africa, in fact, the architect of Goan history in East

Africa, if not for his fighting spirit and dynamic

personality, the Goan School in Nairobi or for that matter

any Goan school in Kenya would not have seen the light of day.


With his tenacity and whole-hearted support of the Goan

community he achieved the goal of separate schools for Goans.

This whole-hearted support, except for the sullen rancor of a

few discordant voices, he enjoyed to the end of his days.


Death restored him to his rightful place among the eminent

Goans for his un-sullied probity, undisputed services and

splendid name.  I was only four when grandpa passed away.


All I know of him is from what mother shared with us, her

five children, as we grew up, from letters from my uncle,

Peter de Sousa and his wife Sofia and from numerous friends

of the family from Nairobi.  Mother was wheelchair bound for

22 years till she passed away on June 17, 2013 but in all

those years, each day as she looked at the photographs of her

parents on the mantelpiece and we lit a candle and prayed,

she would reach out, touch the picture frames, lovingly smile

and say, "my papa, my mother" testimony to wonderful persons

that they were, Dr.  A.C.L de Sousa and Dr. Mary de Sousa.



Dr.  Alan de Sousa Rodrigues, eldest grandson of Dr.  A.C.L.

de Sousa, now living in Goa, has spent 36 years in the field

of education as a teacher and principal.  He attributes his

passion for education, writing and his fiery temper when

fighting injustices and depravity in society today, to his

maternal grandfather.


Alan Rodrigues (B.Com, B.Ed., M.A, Ph.D) is Principal of

Vidya Vikas Akademy, South Goa.


This extract is from the online magazine *Dr Ribeiro Goan

School Ex-Students' Newsletter and Brochures*.  Available at

https://sites.google.com/site/newsletterbrochures/ Many

thanks to Merwin D'Souza <merwin.dso...@gmail.com> in

Florida, USA for sharing the link.


Goanet Reader is compiled and edited by Frederick Noronha in

Goa. Send submissions to f...@goa-india.org


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