John Gatu, Presbyterian, Kenya
Dates: born March 3, 1925; died May 11, 2017
A Long Life Well Lived
The April 2017 Issue of the DACB Journal features a profile of Moderator John G. Gatu, the veteran Kenyan Presbyterian Pastor, Revivalist, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, Counselor, Poet, Orator. Prior to publication he had carefully read and approved the text, approved the facts therein, with subtle clarifications.
He died on May 11, after nine days in hospital. Eight weeks earlier, on March 3, 2017 he had celebrated his 95th birthday. In a memorable event at the AACC Guest House a celebratory Seminar had been convened with him as the Chief Guest. He listened attentively as many participants in three generations expressed their gratitude, admiration, and appreciation of his role model in responsible leadership. One of the speakers, a retired university professor, expressed profound gratitude for Gatu’s endorsement of the application that was essential for students travelling to USA for studies during the 1960s. Another speaker thanked Gatu for mediatory leadership at various times when Kenya was politically polarized.
Gatu’s Autobiography Fan Into Flame was published a few weeks ago. It contains lucid pieces of his recollection of events he considered most significant in his long life. Few people in the world can boast of such a wide range of competences – teacher; soldier; mediator; diplomat; freedom fighter; author.
His funeral was scheduled for Friday, May 19, 2017. The DACB celebrates the life of Pastor Gatu, as one of the greatest African leaders of our time.
Prof. Jesse N. K. Mugambi, University of Nairobi