By Prudence Minayo
Veronica Moraa’s life took a drastic turn when she immigrated to the United Kingdom with her family from rural Kenya. For the first time in her life she saw snow and a different culture . However, she sailed through and has achieved feats many can only dream of. She made history as the first black woman and Kenyan to be appointed Royal Air Force (RAF) Honorary Air Commodore. Thanks to her work, she has had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with royalty including the late Queen Elizabeth, and the current King of England Charles and his wife.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
She moved to the UK with her family at the age of seven. Life was not easy for them as her mother got divorced and had to struggle to raise them. She was uneducated and didn’t know how to read and write but wanted her children to get education and at times they had to rely on state help to get by.
Veronica Moraa loved athletes and it gave her a lot of confidence. When she joined school, she was the only black girl until her sister joined her. She hardly ever missed school and was recognized for it and also for being the best dressed person. This was despite the fact that they got free uniforms since they couldn’t afford it.
After high school, she couldn’t afford to go to college and instead got employed. The job involved taking care of children and years later she was promoted. Her employers sent her to university through a program aimed at helping black employees.
For more than two decades, she has worked as a social worker, children’s guardian and as an international child protection consultant for various Non Governmental Organizations across Africa and the UN.
In 2021, she was appointed the RAF Honorary Air Commodore. This is a one star rank and is an air officer rank being immediately senior to group captain and immediately subordinate to air vice marshal.
Following this appointment, Kenya’s high commissioner to the UK, Manoah Esipisu sent her a congratulatory message even as he urged her to rise higher.
“You definitely are making history. You will notch another first when you take up royal appointment as High Sheriff in 2023. Pongezi sana,” he said.
Mrs. Pickering is currently executive coach and mentor with several companies and organizations across the UK. She is also a patron/ambassador to various charities including:
- The Woodland Trust
- UK Young Artists
- Nottinghamshire Hospice
- Karen Green Foundation
- Primary Artist Studios
Veronica Moraa lives in North Nottinghamshire and has been married to Roy Pickering for about forty years. They met when Roy was a tutor to her sister and at first she was not keen on dating him. Today, the couple has two kids who are well into their thirties and several grandchildren.