George Padmore, a journalist, author, and Pan-Africanist, one of the key figures in the early life of Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, having gotten him an opportunity to study in the former Soviet Union.
A clear indication of the influence the journalist had on Kenyatta was evident when Kenyatta named the George Padmore Road in Kilimani, Nairobi after him.
The Trinidad-born journalist moved to Russia as a student but later grew in influence assisting African leaders including Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkurumah whom he tried wooing towards the socialist ideology.
A report published by The Standard in 2019, Padmore was tasked by Russia’s Communist Party to recruit African liberation icons. Kenyatta, who was in London to agitate for land and freedom, was found to be an ideal target.
With an undying push to bring freedom back home, Kenyatta’s friendship with the journalist grew, and with time the two were able to bring onboard more leaders from the continent.
Eventually, Kenyatta joined the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers which sponsored his studies at the Communist University of Toilers of the East in Russia.
During their studies, the students were impacted by radical socialism in the country by studying the reformist Marxist theory.
The potential African leaders also received teachings on party organisation, propaganda and proletarian revolution tactics.
However, in 1933, Jomo was disappointed by the Russian socialism trend and returned to London where he continued on his anthropology studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Later, Padmore got disappointed by the Russian system too and followed Kenyatta in London where he became the founding Chair of the International African Services Bureau.
Jomo Kenyatta was also selected to the bureau as Padmore’s deputy.
The bureau grew to become a great influence for pan-Africanism influencing anti-colonial ousters in the colonised African countries.
Padmore and Kenyatta also organised the 5th pan-African Congress in the United Kingdom in 1945 where Nkurumah was a key stakeholder.
Nkurumah later appointed Padmore as his presidential advisor but still remained to be a close friend of Jomo Kenyatta.
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