It is never too late after all. There might be years wasted but no mistake is too great to bounce back. Kimani Maruge is a prime example.
If you ask me why Kimani Maruge is worth knowing, it will be based on the simple fact that he portrayed the notion that knowledge and education know no limit.
Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge is a Kenyan born in 1920. He was a fighter during the Mau Mau uprising against the British colonizers in the struggle for Kenyan independence. Maruge holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to start primary school.
The Kenyan government’s announcement of universal and free elementary education in 2003 was widely received by the populace. It urged many citizens to cling to the path of formal education. Kimani Maruge wasn’t an exception. Thus, he attended Kapkenduiywo Primary School in Eldoret, Kenya. The government’s policy on education prompted him to. Maruge’s reason for attending school is that he wanted to read the bible and count.
There are no official records of Marunge’s birth date. Nevertheless, it is believed that at the time of his enrollment, he was aged 84, making him the oldest individual in the world to enroll in school.
Please note that Kimani’s decision was highly disputed and contested by parents and government officials. In 2005, Maruge, the revered student, was elected head boy of his school. That same year, he boarded a plane for the first time in his life and had the golden opportunity to address the United Nations 2005 World Summit on the importance of free primary and secondary education for all. The session was held in New York in collaboration with ActionAid.
Following the 2007-2008 post-election violence, Kimani Maruge’s property was ransacked and stolen by looters. He considered the plot of quitting school but stayed on. He lived in a refugee camp with the reputation of being a minor celebrity. The camp was four kilometres away from his school, but still attended classes every day.
In June 2008, Maruge gave in to the pressure of withdrawal from school and eventually relocated to a retirement home for senior citizens. However, a persistent Kimani enrolled once again into Standard 6 at the Marura primary school.
Kimani Murage died on August 14, 2009. He had been suffering from stomach cancer.
“The First Grader” is a movie dedicated to the inspiring story of Maruge.
Kimani Maruge’s inspiring story stoked the idea of many people enrolling back in schools.