Journalist Who Quit Kenyan Job & Rejected Ksh 7B Offer From Saudi Prince

Former East African Standard senior Editor Brendon Grimshaw (left) and a section of Moyenne Island
Former East African Standard senior Editor Brendon Grimshaw (left) and a section of Moyenne Island.

For millions of people, owning a decent home and raising a thriving family suffices as a great achievement after decades of toiling in employment. 

Not for a famous journalist known for a 1960s high-flying media career in Kenya and not even a Ksh7 billion payout from a Saudi Prince would persuade him.

Brendon Grimshaw's career kicked off in the UK, his homeland, where he secured reporting jobs at Batley News and Sheffield Star located in West Yorkshire, England.

Soon after, the journalist landed a job as senior sub-editor with the East African Standard, which has since been renamed The Standard, in Nairobi at a time when Kenya was still a colony of the British rule. His career blossomed locally to include stints at Tanganyika Standard, now known as Tanzania Standard. In Nairobi, he spent eight years and another 11 years in Dar es Salaam.

Bendan Grimshaw at his island with tortoise.
Bendan Grimshaw at his island with tortoise.
Grimshaw Origins and History

Throughout his career, however, Grimshaw harboured an innate yearning to own an island and dot it with nature-enhancing trees to create a serene one-man national park.

In 1962, a chance to snatch up Moyenne Island in the Seychelles opened up and he bought the property at a cost of Ksh1.8 million (€8,000).

At the time, the island, which borders Sainte Anne Marine National Park, had been abandoned and was only dotted with sparse fishermen.

Immediately, he embarked on restoring its wildlife by planting trees to attract bird species. The process proved tedious but he was unrelenting.

"‘His vision was to leave an unspoiled island for future generations of Seychellois and the world. He wanted a mini-Seychelles. He wanted to try and replicate what Seychelles and its islands were like before tourists came," his friend Suketu Patel stated according to Getaway.

Saudi Prince Offer

After years of toiling, he restored the island's vibrancy back by the 1980s which coincided with a tourists boom towards the Archipelago Islands. Grimshaw was, however, adamant that he needed to maintain the island's nature.

Soon after, offers began flowing in from tycoons who were eying a piece of the tourist attraction. One in particular, an unidentified Saudi Prince, was ready to part with Ksh7 billion (USD50 million) for a chance to set up a modern resort on the property.

Grimshaw, however, had other ideas and wanted the island to turn into a nature preserve. Therefore, he rejected several other offers that came in after the Saudi Prince.

For the rest of his life, the journalist lived on the island until his death in 2012 aged 87.

The Moyenne Islands in Seychelles
The Moyenne Islands in Seychelles.
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