5 Little-Known Nairobi Roads Named After Influential Foreigners

File image of a street in Nairobi.
File image of a street in Nairobi.

Most of the roads in Nairobi evoke curiosity because of who or what they are named after. To an extent, they even serve as a history lesson about the heroes who epitomise different struggles back at home and abroad. 

Streets like; Tom Mboya Street, Haile Selassie Avenue, Moi Avenue, and Kimathi Street are named after famous Kenyan historical figures. 

Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at little-known Nairobi roads named after influential foreigners.

Ralph Bunche

The road is located around Nairobi Hospital in Upperhill. It connects Argwings Kodhek Road and Valley Road.

Ralph Bunche was an American Nobel Peace Prize-winning academic and U.N. diplomat known for his peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean.

He was born on August 7, 1904, in Detroit, Michigan, US. Bunche enrolled at Harvard University and earned his Master of Arts (M.A) in 1928.

The peacemaker also got his Ph.D. in Governmental/International Relations in 1934, thus becoming the first African American to earn a political science doctorate.

An undated image of Ralph Bunche.
An undated image of Ralph Bunche.

Lt. Tumbo Avenue

The road connects Harambee and Haile Selassie Avenues and runs next to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

It was named after Lt. John Charles Tumbo Kalima, who led the Kenyan military effort against the insurgency and was killed in an ambush between Garissa and Wajir.

The street was previously known as General Smuts Avenue named after Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts. Smuts was a South African statesman, military leader and philosopher.

He served as the Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa for nearly 14 years around 1919.

A signpost on Lt. Tumbo Avenue in Nairobi.
A signpost on Lt. Tumbo Avenue in Nairobi.


Padmore Road

It is located in Upperhill. The road connects George Padmore Road and Kindaruma Road.

George Padmore, also known as Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse, was born into an emerging black middle-class family in Trinidad and Tobago in 1902.

He studied at Fisk University, then moved on to New York University and later to Howard University, Washington, DC, in 1927 where he adapted the name, George Padmore.

Padmore, later on, became a leading Pan-Africanist.

File image of George Padmore.
File image of George Padmore.

St Daniel Comboni Road

It is located at Dagoretti Corner, Off Ngong Road, Nairobi, Kenya, Nairobi County.

Daniel Comboni was born in Italy on 15th, March 1831. 

He was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop who served in the missions in Africa and was the founder of both the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus and the Comboni Missionary Sisters,  the Men's Institute and the Women's Institute of his missionaries. 

The missionary first visited Africa on September 6, 1857, when he around 26 years old. 

Comboni is credited with creating the first missionary magazine in Italy. He passed away in 1881 at the age of 50. 

The late Pope John Paul II made Colombo a Saint on October 5, 2003.

A portrait of Daniel Comboni.
A portrait of Daniel Comboni.

Luthuli Avenue

It is located in Nairobi's Central Business District. It connects River Road and Tom Mboya Street.

Inkosi Albert John Luthuli, also known by his Zulu name Mvumbi, was born in 1898 in South Africa. 

He was Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 1960, in recognition of his nonviolent struggle against racial discrimination.

Luthuli was also the President-General of the African National Congress (ANC) from December 1952 until his death in 1967.

File image of Albert Luthuli.
File image of Albert Luthuli.
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