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Argwings Kodhek Was A Formidable
Lawyer Who Possessed A Cutting Wit

Coastweek -- Argwings Kodhek was born in 1923 in Gem, Siaya, educated at St. Mary’s Yala School, Maseno and Makerere University College then, in Uganda.

In 1947 he got a further scholarship to the University of South Wales, graduating as a lawyer and social scientist in 1949.
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Eugene Ombati’s photo of Argwings Kodhek | Coastweek

 

From there he went st Andrews in Scotland.

He returned to colonial Kenya at around 1951 and went into legal practice as the first Black, and worse, married to a White, Tate Mavis.

That was not done in colonial apartheid societies.

Kodhek took to the defense of Mau Mau freedom fighters and other patriots who ran foul of colonial law.

So he had no shortage of clients, just time and money.

With a huge intellect, confron-tational personality, solid education, perfect mastery of the colonial language, murde-rous humor and wit, Kodhek ran rings around colonial courts.

Eugene Ombati’s photo
of Argwings Kodhek

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One day, having out argued a chief-justice who still thought Blacks could not practice English law, in exasperation he jabbed:

“Woe and wilt upon Brittania, that she chooses to export the most stupid and vile of her sons to civilize Africa!

Oh mistaken queen, come and evacuate these simple-tons who understand nothing of you, neither your jurisprudence nor your language.

Their perfect idiocy insults your royal foolishness!”

Shaileen Shah, Mombasa

shaileen1952@gmail.com

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