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Wairimu Elizabeth: The Illustrious Career Of Charles Njonjo First Born Daughter

  • Wairimu Elizabeth is the first born daughter of former late AG Charles Njonjo
  • Nimu is married to Swede national Volker Bassen 

Former Attorney General of Kenya Charles Njonjo died at the age 101 and was cremated the same day as he had instructed his family. He was remembered for his sense of fashion, poise and the part he played in the history of Kenya.

The former AG married Margaret Bryson in 1972 in a colourful wedding attended by the then President Jomo Kenyatta among other big shots. He was 52 years old at the time. 

The couple went on to have three children namely-Wairimu Elizabeth Njonjo, Mary Wambui and Josiah David (in that order).

Formative years

Wairimu Elizabeth Njonjo, who is the subject of this article, is the first born child of ‘the Duke of Kabeteshire’ as her father was referred to by a section of Kenyans. In an interview with the Drum Magazine in 2010, Wairimu-or simply Nimu-stated that her childhood was normal in every sense. 

“My parents, Margaret and Charles, ensured that we had a very normal childhood-school, routine, homework, discipline and good manners…the usual. We were taught the value of money and that’s why we are grateful for what we have……..” She told Drum Magazine Clay Muganda and Julie Masiga. 

Education

The scion of Njonjo lived a life of privilege and this is evident from the institutions she attended. She was a student at the prestigious Hillcrest Secondary School where she studied Latin and scored good grades. 

“I studied Latin at Hillcrest Secondary School. I wanted to study classics, but the teacher said he was not sure if I could get good grades. Even though I branched out to study law, I still scored an A in Latin”, she told the same publication. 

Wairimu later on completed her undergraduate law degree at the University of Bristol in UK where she was called to the Bar. She pursued her Masters in the same field at King’s College. 

Also Read: Mary Okelo: The First Female Bank Manager In Kenya Who Founded Makini School

Career

She practised law in London, a career she found fulfilling as she could help someone. Nimu was to be admitted to the local bar as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

She was to ditch law to take the noble cause of conservation through the East African Whale Shark Trust. This is a marine conversation project she set up with her husband. 

Wairimu Elizabeth Njonjo: Meet The Late Charles Njonjo First Born Daughter 
Raila Odinga and his wife Ida posing for a photo with the newly weds Image/Courtesy

Marriage

Nimu got married to Swede Volker Bassen in 2009 in a ceremony attended by just about 30 people, with the only notable leader being ODM leader Raila Odinga.

The two exchanged their vows at the All Saints Cathedral-the same church her parents were married in 1972. She had only good things to say about her husband during the interview with Drum:

“Meeting Volker is the best thing that has ever happened to me. We met when he saved me in a diving accident! I could have been with anyone but him. Thank God I was with him, because he was the most experienced rescuer in the country-what are the chances? I believe God led me to Volker. He is the most amazing person I know and am thankful everyday that I met him”

Wairimu Elizabeth Njonjo: Meet The Late Charles Njonjo First Born Daughter 
The late Njonjo and his wife during their daughter’s wedding Image/Courtesy

Volker made headlines in 2019 when he said he could locate a car carrying a woman and her daughter that had plunged into the Indian Ocean at the Likoni ferry crossway in 15 minutes. 

He later retracted this statement saying that he had underestimated the conditions and left the rescue operations to the Kenya Navy.