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Google honours Mekatilili wa Menza with a Doodle

By People Reporter
Sunday, August 9th, 2020
In summary

Google on Sunday published a special 'Doodle' on its homepage to honour and celebrate Mekatilili wa Menza, one of Kenya’s first freedom fighters.

Mekatilili is known for inspiring the Giriama people to resist colonial rule in the early 20th century.

The resilient legacy of Menza is commemorated during the festivities of the traditional Malindi Cultural Festival, an annual celebration of local history and pride.

However, the celebrations may not take place this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Mekatilili (also known as Mnyazi) wa Menza was born in the Giriama village of Matsara wa Tsatsu in coastal Kenya during the mid-19th century.

She organised her people against the British colonial rule at a time when women’s power was limited within her society. At the time, the British colonial rule had threatened the sovereignty and freedom of the Giriama people with forced labour and taxation.

Google's Dorothy Ooko, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Africa said the company connects with its users in celebrating heroes.

“Doodles provide a way for Google to connect with its users by helping them celebrate important moments and national heroes,” said Dorothy Ooko, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Africa.

“Today, we honour Mekatilili wa Menza, the Giriama Wonder Woman who had a heart that was full of passion. Passion for freedom. Freedom against the oppressors of her people. We remember that her resistance quest led to her imprisonment in a far land in Western Kenya, and that she had to walk 965 kilometers to get back to her land after escaping from the prison.”

Google began honouring people, events, anniversaries, and holidays with Doodles designed by one of its engineers in 1999.

The company has since then honoured an array of African personalities such as Margaret Ogola, the award-winning author, medical doctor, and human rights advocate; Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and world-renowned environmentalist; South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba; and Stephen Keshi, former captain and coach of the Super Eagles, Nigeria’s national football team.

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