11th Anniversary of Kimani Maruge's first day of school: Google remembers oldest person to attend primary school

Kimani Maruge was 84 when he went to school for the first time

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The Independent Tech

Google has honoured a Kenyan man believed to be the oldest person to have enrolled in primary school, by depicting him in a Doodle on its homepage.

The illustration shows Kimani N'gan'ga Maruge dressed in a blue school uniform, studying alongside his considerably younger classmates - marking the 11th anniversary since the then 84-year-old started at Kapkenduiywo primary school, in the western town of Eldoret.

In 2002, the Kenyan government made primary school education universal. Mr Maruge demanded he be enrolled into school, arguing that he wanted to learn to count and read.

Despite opposition from parents and officials who believed it would be a waste to educate an elderly man, he soon found himself in a class alongside six-year-olds.

 

Mr Maruge's made international headlines, and in 2005, Maruge was invited to address the UN where he spoke of the importance of education, the Guardian reported.

In his youth, Mr Maruge was a Mau Mau freedom fighter in the war of independence against the British. He died in a Nairobi nursing home in 2009.

His story was immortalised in the 2011 film The First Grader.

"Kimani Maruge was an extraordinary Kenyan whose passion for education throughout his life shines as a beacon worldwide on the importance of lifelong learning," said Dorothy Ooky, Google's communications manager for East and Francophone Africa.

"Doodles are used to celebrate the lives of famous scientists, artists, and pioneers throughout history and Google is thrilled to feature a Kenyan whose life stood for such an important cause."

The image appears on Google.co.ke, Kenya’s version of the search engine, and can also be viewed on Google’s Doodle archive.

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