By: BARACK ODUOR
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Mausoleum at Kang’o ka Jaramogi in Bondo, Siaya County, is a must-visit for history lovers.
It holds a rich legacy of the independence hero who helped shape Kenya’s political history.
The mausoleum is a cultural, historical monument erected in remembrance of Kenya’s first Vice-President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
The beautiful historical site is a one stop community museum and a Luo heroes exhibition centre.
Sculptured lions at the entrance of the mausoleum, signify the relentless spirit the doyen of Opposition politics held during his days of the struggle.
In the neatly arranged mausoleum, there are stuffed animals, Luo cultural equipment including weapons and traditional artifacts.
The most fascinating moment is when one is taken through the political journey of the hero from the pictures carefully framed and hanging on the wall.
In the eye-catching pictorial, Jaramogi’s life as a Vice-President and as a leader of Opposition is showcased.
The pictures also depict his days as a teacher, statesman and a Pan Africanist.
Luo artifacts such as spears, arrows, bows and shields, which Jaramogi used when he was a Ker (Luo community leader) are also on display.
His stature earned him admiration and recognition in the Luo community, which revered him as Ker — a title previously held by the fabled classical Luo King, Ramogi Ajwang’, who reigned 400 years before him.
Vowing to uphold the ideals of Ker, he came to be known as Jaramogi (man of the Ramogi people.)
Since he was a man of letters who also loved education and reading books; many historical books and magazines, including his autobiography “Not Yet Uhuru”, are in the mausoleum.
It is in his outpouring autobiography where he estimates that he was born in October 1911.
Because of his selfless life, Jaromogi left behind a political family as part of his legacy.
His son Raila Odinga is the Opposition Cord leader and a former Prime Minister. Another son, Dr Oburu Odinga, is a nominated Senator and a former Member of Parliament for Bondo Constituency. His daughter Ruth is the Kisumu Deputy Governor.
Jaramogi’s marble grave stands out in the huge mausoleum.
There is a guide ready to conduct visitors around the mausoleum and also tell stories about the life of this prominent figure in Kenya’s struggle for independence.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION