Queen's porter at Treetops later joined Mau Mau rebellion

AP News
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Posted: Feb 06, 2017 2:11 PM
Queen's porter at Treetops later joined Mau Mau rebellion

NYERI, Kenya (AP) — Sixty-five years ago, Britain's Princess Elizabeth went up into a treehouse safari lodge and watched elephants below. She was informed that her father had died and she descended from the treehouse a queen.

Nahashon Mureithi, her porter and guide, had a good opinion of the young royal, but soon he became a member of the Mau Mau revolt against British colonial rule.

Mureithi, now 89, said the young Elizabeth was "very beautiful and she was not wearing very expensive clothes ... When we met her, we carried her bags and followed her and as she stepped onto the staircase to go up to the hotel, she saw an elephant."

Despite his positive impression of the queen, within a few years Mureithi joined the Mau Mau rebellion because "we were being oppressed by the white man." He said that when he decided to join the revolt "people were very happy" and he was promoted within the rebels because of his experience working at the safari lodge. "My role was to cook for them and to look for weapons for them," he said. Within the rebel cells he became known as Nyawira (hard worker in the Kikuyu language). He said he worked with three older women who were not suspected of being rebels and who would communicate with other members of the resistance.

Eventually Mureithi took the government's amnesty offer and admitted he was in the Mau Mau and was jailed for a time.

Since then, Mureithi has worked as a small-scale farmer on his plot in central Kenya, about 150 kilometers north of Nairobi. Today he looks after his grandchildren and lives in a small house with no electricity that is relatively close to the now grand Treetops Safari Lodge.