Forward to Independence: Memoirs by Fitz de Souza of Kenya

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Forward to Independence: Memoirs by Fitz de Souza of Kenya

 Fitzval Remedios Santana Neville de Souza was a Kenyan, born in Goa, India, raised in Zanzibar, called to the Bar in London and with a lifetime of outstanding accomplishments, mostly in Kenya.


One of the defence lawyers for the Kapenguria Six, including Jomo Kenyatta, de Souza went on to serve post-independence Kenya as a member of parliament, a deputy speaker of parliament and a much sought after barrister. 


A friend of Jomo Kenyatta and many of the founders of independent Kenya, he was an eyewitness to events that shaped that East African country’s politics and governance. Many of these events and the details of certain others were unknown to the public until the publication last year of his memoir Forward to Independence. 


For example, his eyewitness account of a shouting match between Jomo Kenyatta and Pio Gama Pinto was, to my knowledge, the first time it got into print. His rejection of repeated offers of farms by Jomo Kenyatta told the dual story of the personalisation of Kenya by some freedom fighters and the steadfast adherence to integrity by some in public service. 


Written in the style of a fireside story, this is an essential glimpse into the life of one of Kenya’s finest citizens, and a revealing expose of the generation that shaped modern Kenya. He offers interesting and revealing portraits of key players like Kenyatta, Charles Njonjo, Tom Mboya and Daniel arap Moi. 


His reputation as a selfless citizen, as a freedom fighter, as a just leader and a man who offered moral stability in a young nation, made him highly qualified to write this book that turned out to be a great farewell testament by an eyewitness who understood that the truth had to be told to posterity. Fitz de Souza died in London, England on May 23, 2020. He was 90 years old. 


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