80-year-old teacher, her­bal­ist caps achieve­ments with PHD

Angli­can rev­erend set to grad­u­ate with a PHD de­gree from Keny­atta Univer­sity

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - @mary_ethan [email protected]­tion­media.com BY MARY WAMBUI

An 80-year-old Angli­can rev­erend is set to grad­u­ate with a Doc­tor of Phi­los­o­phy (PHD) de­gree in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Tech­nol­ogy from Keny­atta Univer­sity later this month.

Rev Stephen Mugambi shall be the main fea­ture on Thurs­day when he is set to join thou­sands of other young Kenyans get­ting awarded for var­i­ous de­grees and cer­tifi­cates for their hard work dur­ing KU'S 45th grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in Ruiru.

Born in 1938 dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, Rev Stephen Mugambi, a fa­ther of six chil­dren who are all grown up and set­tled into their fam­i­lies, never thought it would take him 80 years to ful­fil his later fa­ther's wish over his ca­reer.

"My fa­ther was a her­bal­ist; he wanted me to join Mak­erere Univer­sity and pur­sue medicine or be­come an engi­neer. I did not pur­sue medicine but I'm well in line with his wishes since I pur­sued a ca­reer in ed­u­ca­tion up to mas­ters level and based my PHD re­search on herbal medicine ow­ing to my ex­pe­ri­ence as a her­bal­ist," he told the Sun­day Na­tion.

His the­sis is ti­tled "As­sess­ing In­struc­tional Strate­gies and Prac­tices used in the train­ing of herbal prac­ti­tion­ers".

Mugambi is a firm be­liever in the use of al­ter­na­tive medicine and na­ture as the ideal medicine. His day’s job in­cludes lec­tur­ing stu­dents at Keny­atta Univer­sity but on the side he runs sev­eral herbal clin­ics.

"I en­joy teach­ing and my wish is to teach for as long as I can. I have asked God to bless me with an­other 40 years of life and the op­por­tu­nity to be­come a pro­fes­sor," he said.

He be­gan his aca­demic ca­reer in 1947 at Ruiri pri­mary school in Meru county. In 1954, he was forced to ter­mi­nate his stud­ies for a year due to the procla­ma­tion of the state of emer­gency at the height of the Mau Mau in­sur­rec­tion. He started work­ing as an un­trained teacher at a de­ten­tion camp in Mukon­gorone pri­mary school.

A year later, he re­sumed school and went on to com­plete his se­condary school ed­u­ca­tion in 1963 and later joined Cen­tral Teach­ers Col­lege (cur­rent Kenya In­sti­tute of Cur­ricu­lum Devel­op­ment) for S1 teacher train­ing from where he grad­u­ated in 1966 and got posted to Mang'u high school where he was the sec­ond black African teacher at the school.

In 1968, he rose through the ranks to be­come the prin­ci­pal at St Cyprian (then Kiz­ito) high school where he served up to 1970. The fol­low­ing year, he joined the Univer­sity Col­lege of East Africa, Nairobi cam­pus (cur­rent Univer­sity of Nairobi), where he en­rolled for a de­gree pro­gramme and grad­u­ated in 1975.

Later he pur­sued two mas­ters de­grees, one in ed­u­ca­tion and an­other in re­li­gion, at Keny­atta Univer­sity and Univer­sity of North Carolina re­spec­tively.

His thirst for knowl­edge did not stop there; in 2009, Rev Mugambi started his PHD de­spite his ad­vanced age.

He says his de­sire to fur­ther his stud­ies was not only fu­elled by his late fa­ther's wish for him to be­come a doc­tor or engi­neer but also his wish to ex­pand his fron­tiers of ref­er­ence so as to be able to well re­spond to the needs of an ed­u­cated con­gre­ga­tion.

Cur­rently, he is serv­ing pris­on­ers at the Kamiti max­i­mum prison.

In 2011, Mugambi was recog­nised as a shu­jaa by the govern­ment for his role to­wards the es­tab­lish­ment of two se­condary schools in Nyam­bene.

I en­joy teach­ing. I have asked God to bless me with an­other 40 years of life and the op­por­tu­nity to be­come a pro­fes­sor,” Rev­erend Stephen Mugambi

80-year-old Rev Stephen Mugambi, who is set to grad­u­ate from Keny­atta Univer­sity with a PHD de­gree in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Tech­nol­ogy at the in­sti­tu­tion’s grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony to be held in its main cam­pus in Ruiru on De­cem­ber 14. MARY WAMBUI | NA­TION

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