80-year-old teacher, herbalist caps achievements with PHD
Anglican reverend set to graduate with a PHD degree from Kenyatta University
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