Jan 5th 2017: They are renowned philanthropists via the Rattansi Education Trust, which for over half a century, has seen many Kenyans achieve their dreams of attaining higher education through bursaries. Alumni include a court of appeal judge, successful entrepreneurs, university professors, an ambassador and a former Attorney General. Money for this family trust is sourced from rental income from the Rattansi Education Building along Koinange Street, Nairobi.
Mohamedally Rattansi: Founded the trust in 1956 before retiring to his farm in Uganda after over half a century in Kenya to help needy students. He believed in the centrality of education as a source of social justice. From Kathiawar, India, Mohammedally came to Kenya during the construction of the Uganda Railway when Nairobi was a tin town of tent shops on poles.
He walked from Nairobi to Nyeri where he was employed as a shop attendant before buying the business with a partner and branching into milling, besides stints at the Nyeri Town Council that had a street named after him. Mohamedally had 10 children with his wife, Maniben Rattansi. He succumbed to cancer in 1957.
Dr Hassanally Rattansi: The fourth born who was born in Nyeri where he started with a grocery shop, followed in his father’s footsteps, heading the trust in 1957 before chairing it five years later. In 1987, the educationist, humanist and sportsman sold his business — Nairobi Sports House which he had founded in 1948 — to concentrate on the trust.
For his contribution to education, the alumnus of Jamhuri High School who represented Kenya in tennis and cricket received an honorary doctorate, Doctor of Letters, from the University of Nairobi in 1998, the Silver Star of Kenya in 1998 and Doctor of Humane Letters from Kenyatta University in 2002, a year before his death.
The one-time councillor with the then Nairobi City Council was hubby to Dr Vijoo Rattansi, with whom he had five children, including Riaz Rattansi, a property developer in the UK, and Rafiq Rattansi, an accountant.
Dr Vijoo Rattansi: The Chancellor of the University of Nairobi is also chair of Rattansi Education Trust, Daisy Eye Cancer Fund and a trustee to Michael Blundell Trust. The fluent speaker of English, Kiswahili and Italian received his honorary doctorate from Moi University for her contribution to the promotion of higher education in Kenya. The government also honoured her with the Order of the Grand Warrior in 2006.
Previously on Ismailimail…