By Prudence Minayo
Long before Kenyans dominated various engineering fields, it seemed like a preserve of a few individuals. During the pre-colonial period, only a handful of Kenyans were able to become engineers. It was during this time that a young boy named Julius Mimano developed aspirations to become one.
After joining high school, he worked hard towards the fulfilment of this dream, becoming the first Kenyan mechanical engineer. He went on to make significant strides in the mechanical engineering field.
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Here is his story as told by WoK.
He began the path towards achieving his childhood ambition of becoming an engineer when he joined Alliance High School. Afterwards, he joined the Nairobi Technical College to pursue Mechanical Engineering. Graduating in June 1961, he became the first Kenyan and East African to become a mechanical engineer.
When he started the profession, he was the only black among Europeans, which did not prevent him from working hard. He had a stint working at British Airways before moving to East Africa.
In 1964, he became an assistant mechanical engineer in Kampala.
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He got the opportunity to be in charge of the whole of Tanzania. First, working in Tanga then Dar es Salaam. This gave him the chance to understand the whole network and how East Africa countries could benefit from each other.
Upon returning to Kenya in 1967, he secured a job as a senior mechanical engineer heading equipment design and specifications. Later, he climbed the ladder to become the chief mechanical engineer of the whole network.
In 1980, the Ministry of Transport made him the chief Mechanical and Transport Engineer. Three years later, he became the managing director before becoming chairman of the Engineers Registration Board.
He went on to work with Kenya Railway during a time when it was undergoing updates and advocated for improved passenger services. He also wanted to make use of the excellent permanent way network as a feasible commercial option to road transport. This in turn would help the country to make the railway industry profitable while reducing congestion on roads.
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