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Derek Erskine: The White Settler Who Donated the Land that Hosts Nyayo Stadium

Nyayo National Stadium, previously known as Nairobi West Stadium was built in 1983 during President Daniel Arap Moi’s reign.

Since its establishment, the facility has hosted several national holidays, sporting events and state funerals of former presidents Moi and Mwai Kibaki.

The existence of the stadium was made possible by a white settler named Derek Erskine who donated the land that hosts the facility.

This revelation was made by Athletics Kenya (AK) President, Jackson Tuwei, who celebrated Erskine for the selfless act.

Tuwei disclosed that Erskine donated the land to the government while serving as the AK Chairman, with his tenure coming to an end in 1964.

“Sir Derek Erskine was the first AK chairman, after which he handed over to Musembi Mbathi in 1964. With that, Mbathi became the first indigenous Kenyan to hold the position

“Erskine also donated 23.7 acres of land to Kenya, which the Nyayo National Stadium now occupies,” Tuwei said in an interview with Nation.

Erskine was a British settler who resided in Kenya during the mid-twentieth century and even served on the Kenya Legislative Council.

The settler, who died in 1977, is considered as a pioneer in Kenya’s rich sports history, with figures such as Musembi Mbathi.

Erskine co-founded the Kenya Amateur Athletic Association (KAAA) with Sir Archier Evans in 1951.

The Kenya Athletic Association (KAAA) was Kenya’s first athletic federation.

The same year, Erskine prepared Kenya’s first athletics constitution and ensured that it was submitted to the recently renamed International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), allowing Kenyan runners to compete in major world competitions.

Today, Nyayo National Stadium is complete with a swimming pool, a football pitch and an indoor gymnasium.

Additionally, the stadium also has a handball, basketball and volleyball courts.

The stadium which has a maximum capacity of 35,000 is located along Mombasa Road, a few kilometres from Nairobi CBD.