Africans have always stood against the wrong status quo and established the right foundations.
In 1959, a blind Kenyan man known as John Kimuyu married an English woman named Ruth Holloway at a time when colonialism was alive and well.
Ruth Holloway was a missionary sent to Kenya during the Kenyan regime and interestingly, was Kimuyu’s teacher in a local school for students with disabilities.
At 26 years of age, Kimuyu defiled race, disability and age – all of which are still stereotypes in our society today, to marry Ruth Holloway, who was nine years older than him. She had to quit her missionary work to be his wife.
The year 1959 was a historic year in Kenya, as it was a time when the British colonialists declared a state of emergency against the Mau Mau independence movement. Despite the beehive of activities and obvious odds against their favour, the love birds were bent on growing their love despite what the world was saying.
The 26-year-old man from Makueni won the heart of his teacher, and she was also defiant in getting married to him despite the negative attention from the white community. She was not only getting married to a Black man. She was getting married to a poor, blind, Black man in Kenya, her student for that matter.
“In the manner of a Shakespearean romance plot laden with the unexpected, John Kimuyu, then 26, and Ruth Holloway, 35, fell in love in 1955 and got married four years later, even as white settlers proclaiming colonial racial segregation made desperate attempts to stop them, including threatening to disrupt the private ceremony held at the District Commissioner’s office in Nairobi,” said a Nation reporter.
Although prominent people like Jomo Kenyatta and Argwings Kodhek had married white women earlier, their unions had been conducted abroad.
Kimuyu and Holloway defied the odds and shunned all opposition. Their Nairobi wedding stirred an adjectival scrum by journalists across the world, with some headline writers ill-disguising noses turned up in racist indignation: “Salvationist marries blind native” (Australia’s Sydney Herald), “UK woman weds blind African in Kenya” (UK’s The Observer) and “Love in Kenya: Problems facing mixed marriage (UK’s The Guardian).
However, Kimuyu and Holloway got divorced in 1965, and their three children relocated to England.
A recent interview with Daily Nation reveals that John Kimuyu remarried Rev Milka Katwota and they still live together in Kalimani village, near Darajani Trading Centre, Makueni County.
He is now 86 years old.
Speaking to the reporter about the marriage to Ruth Holloway, he said:
“She was a very good person. We were determined to get married,” he says with a stutter.
“The English people here (in Kenya) did not want her to become friends with me, but it was difficult for them to stop us.
“We just wanted him (the DC) to allow us to get married.”
Holloway, who was born in Nottingham, arrived in Kenya in June 1955 as a missionary after undergoing training at Salvation Army’s William Booth College in Camberwell, London.
Love can never be broken, don’t you agree?
Source: Daily Nation