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from the Chronology

date event locations tags see also
1945 Aug Marguerite Wellby Preston, an English Bahá’í married to a Kenyan tea grower, settled in Sotik, Kenya, becoming the first Bahá’í in the country. [UD484]
  • Until the 1950s she was the only Bahá’í in East Africa. [UD484]
  • Sotik; Kenya Marguerite Preston
    1951 11 Oct Edmund (Ted) Cardell, arrived in Kenya, the first Bahá’í pioneer to the country in the Africa Campaign. [UD488]
  • Marguerite Preston, the wife of a tea grower, had been living in Kenya since August 1945. She was killed in an air crash in February 1952.
  • Kenya Edmund (Ted) Cardell; Marguerite Preston
    1952 (In the year) Aziz Yazdi from Persia joined Ted Cardell in Nairobi. In 1953 they were joined by Ursula Samandari from England. [A Brief Account of the Bahá'í Faith in Africa Since 1953 by Nance Ororo-Robarts and Selam Ahderrom p2] Nairobi; Kenya Pioneering; Aziz Yazdi; Ted Cardell; Ursula Samandari
    1953 (In the year) Alfred Amisi (Maragoli), Jacob Kisombe (Mtaita), Laurence Ouna (Mluhya), Labi Mathew (Zulu), and Zablon Bob (Luo) were among the first Kenyans to become Bahá’ís. Kenya First Bahais by country or area find reference
    1953 Ridván The first local spiritual assembly in Kenya was established in Nairobi. Nairobi; Kenya LSA
    1964 Ridván The National Spiritual Assembly of Kenya was formed with its seat in Nairobi. Its members were: Its members were: James Wasilwa, Aziz Yazdi, Elamu Muswahili, Taherih Ala'i, Festas Mulkalama, Bonaventure Wafula, Julius Makanda, Frank Mnkoyani, and Christopher Musambai. [Bahá'í News No 409 April 1965 p8; BW14p96] Nairobi; Kenya National Spiritual Assembly, formation; James Wasilwa; Aziz Yazdi; Elamu Muswahili; Taherih Alai; Festas Mulkalama; Bonaventure Wafula; Julius Makanda; Frank Mnkoyani; Christopher Musambai
    1969. 5 Aug - 1970 11 Mar The itinerary for the first leg of the Great African Safari was as follows:
  • Aug 4 - 14, 1969, Uganda
  • Aug 15 - Sept 1,1969, Kenya
  • Sept 2 - 26, 1969, Tanzania (and Mafia Island)
  • Sept 28 - Oct 14, 1969, Kenya
  • Oct 15 - Nov 17, 1969, Ethiopia. See BW15p186-187 where it is reported that over a thousand new Bahá'ís joined the ranks.
  • Nov 17 - Dec 2, 1969, Kenya
  • Dec 3, 1969 - Jan 2,1970, Uganda
  • Jan 3 - 12, 1970, Zaire (now Central African Republic)
  • Jan 13 - 24, 1970, Zaire (now Central African Republic)
  • Jan 25 - Feb 7, 1970, Chad
  • Feb 8 - 10, 1970, Nigeria
  • Feb 11 - 18, 1970, Niger
  • Feb 19 - 26, 1970, Dahomey (now Benin)
  • Feb 27 - Mar 1, 1970, Togo
  • Mar 2 - 11, 1970, Ghana [BW15p606]
  • Uganda; Kenya; Tanzania; Mafia Island; Ethiopia; Central African Republic; Chad; Nigeria; Niger; Benin; Togo; Ghana Amatul-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum; Amatul-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Journeys of; Violette Nakhjavani; Great African Safari
    1972. 11 May - 24 Feb 1973 Hand of the Cause Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum and her companion, Violette Nakhjavání, arrived in Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), at the start of the fourth leg of the ‘Great African Safari’. This leg of the tour ended in Kenya. [BW15:594–607]

    The itinerary was as follows:

  • May 11 - Jun 8, 1972, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
  • June 4, 1972, Zambia
  • June 9 - 28, 1972, Botswana
  • June 29 - July 6, 1972, Republic of South Africa
  • July 7 - 11, 1972, South West Africa (Namibia)
  • July 12 - 19, 1972, Republic of South Africa
  • July 19 - Aug 4, 1972, Lesotho
  • Aug 4 - 14, 1972, Republic of South Africa
  • Aug 15 - Sept 19, 1972, Swaziland
  • Sept 20 - 21, 1972, Mozambique
  • Sept 22 - 23, 1972, Swaziland
  • Sept 24 - 27, 1972, Republic of South Africa
  • Oct 2 - 10, 1972, Kenya
  • Oct 11 - Nov 2,1972, Malawi
  • Nov 3 - 8, 1972, Kenya
  • Nov 9 - 24, 1972, Seychelles
  • Nov 25 - Dec 12, 1972, Kenya
  • Dec 5 - 18, 1972, Rwanda
  • Dec 13 - 14, 1972, Tanzania (And Mafia Island)
  • Dec 19, 1972 - Jan 13, 1973, Zaire (now Central African Republic)
  • Jan 14 - 22,1973, Rwanda
  • Jan 23 - 24, 1973, Burundi
  • Jan 25 - Feb 2, 1973, Tanzania (And Mafia Island)
  • Feb 2 - 24, 1973, Kenya [BW15p606-607]
  • Harare; Zimbabwe; Zambia; Botswana; South Africa; Namibia; Lesotho; Swaziland; Mozambique; Malawi; Nairobi; Kenya; Seychelles; Rwanda; Tanzania; Mafia Island; Burundi' Amatul-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum; Amatul-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Journeys of; Violette Nakhjavani; Great African Safari
    1974. 1 Dec The Bahá'í International Community appointed a representative in Nairobi. [BIC History 1974] Nairobi; Kenya BIC; Bahai International Community
    1976 (In the year) The buildings for two new permanent Bahá’í institutes, at Kilifi and Mugweko, were completed, and the institutes began functioning. A large Bahá’í Centre was built in Nakuru and steps were taken towards completion of another at Tongeren. [BW16p145] Kilifi; Mugweko; Nakuru; Tongeren; Kenya Baha'i Institutes
    1976 15 – 17 Oct An International Teaching Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, attended by 1,363 Bahá’ís. [BW17:81; VV33]
  • For the message of the Universal House of Justice see BW17:133–4.
  • For pictures see BW17:110, 119–21.
  • Nairobi; Kenya; Africa Conferences, Bahai; Conferences, Teaching; Conferences, International; Teaching
    1985 15 – 26 Jul Ten representatives of the Bahá’í International Community attended the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women and Forum ‘85 in Nairobi. [BW19:147–8, 412; VV28–9]
  • For a report of the Bahá’í participation see BW19:4.12–15.
  • For pictures see BW19:413, 415.
  • Nairobi; Kenya Baha'i International Community; United Nations; Women
    1986 (In the year) Community-based Bahá’í health care programmes were launched in Kenya, Uganda and Swaziland, spearheaded by Dr Ethel Martens of Canada. Kenya; Uganda; Swaziland Ethel Martens
    1987 Sep The United Nations Secretary-General designated the Bahá’í International Community and the National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Kenya and Lesotho as Peace Messengers, an honour given to only 300 organizations worldwide for their support of the UN Year of Peace 1986. [BINS173:4] New York; United States; Australia; Belgium; Brazil; Kenya; Lesotho United Nations; Baha'i International Community; International Year of Peace; Peace
    1988 Sep An intensive teaching campaign in Kenya enrolled 448 new Bahá’ís. [BINS184:8] Kenya
    1990 (In the year) An Association for Bahá'í Studies was established in Kenya. Kenya; Africa Bahai Studies, Associations for
    1992 23 – 26 Nov The Second World Congress was held in New York City to commemorate the centenary of the passing of Bahá'u'lláh and the completion of the Six Year Plan. It was attended by some 28,000 Bahá'ís from some 180 countries. [BBD240; VV136-141; BW92-93p95-102, 136]
  • Nine auxiliary conferences were held in Buenos Aires, Sydney, New Delhi, Nairobi, Panama City, Bucharest, Moscow, Apia and Singapore. [BINS283:3-4]
  • For pictures see [BINS283:9-10], [BW92-3p100] and [VV136-141]
  • "New York will become a blessed spot from which the call to steadfastness in the Covenant and Testament of God will go forth to every part of the world." - 'Abdu'l-Bahá [AWH77-8 90-1 105-6]
  • On the 25th of November a concert was held in Carnegie Hall as a birthday tribute to Dizzy Gillespie called "Celebrating the Bahá'í Vision of World Peace". [VV141]
  • On the 26th of November Bahá'ís around the world were linked together by a live satellite broadcast serving the second Bahá'í World Congress, the nine auxiliary conferences and the Bahá'í World Centre and it was received by those with access to satellite dish antennas. [BINS283:1–5, 8; BINS286:10; BINS287:4]
  • For the message of the Universal House of Justice read on the satellite link see BW92–3:37–4.
  • For accounts of personal experiences by some of the attendees see In the Eyes of His Beloved Servants: The Second Bahá'í World Congress and Holy Year by J. Michael Kafes.
  • The film, 'Abdu'l-Bahá: Mission to America, made by Elizabeth Martin, was prepared for the World Congress program and also used in the Theme Pavilion. [HNWE45]
  • New York; United States; Buenos Aires; Argentina; Sydney; Australia; New Delhi; India; Nairobi; Kenya; Panama; Bucharest; Romania; Moscow; Russia; Apia; Samoa; Singapore World Congresses; Carnegie Hall; Centenaries; Bahaullah, Ascension of; Dizzy Gillespie; - Basic timeline, Expanded; film; Abdu'l-Baha: Mission to America; Elizabeth Martin
    2003 20 Jun The passing of Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Ursula Samandari (b. Ursula Newman 29 December, 1909 in Mitcham, Surrey, England) at her pioneering post in Buea, Cameroon.
  • In 1953 she and Dr. Mihdi Samandari moved to Nairobi, Kenya, and a year later went to live in Mogadishu, Somalia where they stayed until 1971. At the request of the Universal House of Justice, they had pioneered to Cameroon. [BWNS230, BW'03-‘04pg237]
  • Buea; Cameroon; Nairobi; Kenya; Mogadishu; Somalia Ursula Samandari; pioneer; Mihdi Samandari; In Memoriam; BWNS
    2004 19 Apr The passing of Mr Aziz Ismayn Yazdi (b. Alexandria, Egypt in 1909) in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 94. Aziz Yazdi lived in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Great Britain, Uganda, Kenya, Israel, and finally Canada. In 1968 he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors in Central and East Africa and was an inaugural member of the International Teaching Centre in Haifa. [BWNS297, BW'03-‘04pg239] Vancouver; Canada; Egypt; Syria; Iran; Iraq; United Kingdom; Uganda; Kenya; Israel Aziz Ismayn Yazdi; Counsellors; International Teaching Centre, Members of; In memoriam; Births and deaths; BWNS
    2008 8 – 9 Nov Regional Conferences were held in Nakuru, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa. [BWNS668]
  • Nakuru. [Bahá'í Community News]
  • Johannesbury. [Bahá'í Community News]
  • Nakuru; Kenya; Johannesburg; South Africa Regional Conferences; BWNS
    2011 Ridván The Preparation for Social Action programme was implemented under the Five Year Plan.

    The programme drew on the learning of three decades of experience of FUNDAEC (Fundación para la Aplicación y Enseñanza de las Ciencias), in Columbia. It was an approach to social and economic development that addressed both the material and the spiritual dimensions of human existence. The programme aimed at assisting youth to understand certain concepts, learn a range of relevant facts, and acquire certain qualities, attitudes and skills that would enable them to promote the well-being of their people in fields as diverse as health, education, the environment, secondary production and community organization.

  • At the beginning of the Plan, the programme was being implemented in nine countries, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and Zambia and involved some 1,500 to 3,000 participants. [5YPSumPage94-95]
  • For further information see video entitled 2017 Teach For All Global Conference - Grassroots Stirrings in the Preparation for Social Action Program, Colombia
  • See the thesis Knowledge Sharing for Community Developement: Educational Benefits at the Community Level through Networks of Knowledge Flow and Communities of Practice by Emily Lample.
  • BWC; Cameroon; Colombia; Costa Rica; India; Kenya; Papua New Guinea; Uganda; Zambia Five Year Plan (2011-2016); Teaching Plans; Preparation for Social Action
    2012 21 Apr Plans were announced that the Universal House of Justice was entering into consultations with respective National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the erection of the first local Houses of Worship in each of the following clusters: Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu. [BWNS906; Riḍván 2012 To the Bahá’ís of the World] Matunda; Haifa; Israel; Battambang; Cambodia; Bihar Sharif; India; Matunda Soy; Kenya; Norte del Cauca; Colombia; Tanna; Vanuatu Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; - Basic timeline, Expanded
    2018 15 Apr The design for the local Bahá'í House of Worship was unveiled at a gathering in Matunda Soy, Kenya attended by about 1,000 people. The temple will accommodate about 250 people and the design incorporated the diamond-shaped pattern, a motif commonly found in Kenyan culture. It will be built of construction materials found locally; the roof will be made of local state and the walls from from stone quarried nearby. The Temple’s architect, Neda Samimi, was the first female architect whose design for a Baha’i House of Worship was selected. [BWNS1251]
  • Concept Drawing.
  • Matunda; Matunda Soy; Kenya Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kenya; Architecture; Architects; Women; Firsts, Other; BWNS
    2019. 23 Mar A gathering of about 1,200 people attended the groundbreaking of the first local Bahá'í House of Worship in Africa located about 4 kilometers west of the town of Matunda in the Matunda Soy district of Kenya.
  •       Ruth Vuyiya, a much-loved Bahá'í known affectionately as "Mama Ruth", set the temple’s cornerstone on the red soil. Ms. Vuyiya was joined by her daughter, members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Kenya, construction contractors and the temple’s architect Neda Samimi. After the ceremonial groundbreaking, attendees celebrated the moment in song and ululations.
  •      The groundbreaking took place almost one year after its elegant and simple design, inspired by the region’s traditional huts, was unveiled at the same site. The design incorporated an intricate and expressive pattern that used the diamond shape, a familiar motif in Kenyan culture. Exposed roof beams punctuating the nine sides of the edifice will be drawn together at an apex skylight. Inside, the skylight will sit atop a Greatest Name symbol, and 250 people can be seated. The temple will be built from local materials. [BWNS 1317]
  • Concept Drawing.
  • Progress Report dated October 23rd: The foundation of the central edifice had been laid and work on other structural elements was advancing. [BWNS1363]
  • Matunda; Matunda Soy; Kenya BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kenya; Foundation stones and groundbreaking
    2019. 22 Oct The Bahá'í World News Service provided an update on the progress of the construction of the local Bahá'í House of Worship in Matunda, Kenya. Located just west of the town of Matunda, the site of the Bahá'í Temple is in a region that is home to some of Kenya’s earliest Bahá'í communities, where patterns of worship and service to humanity have been fostered over decades.
  • The foundation of the central edifice has been laid and work on other structural elements of the building was advancing. The 1.5-meter central mound on which the 18-meter-tall Temple will stand had been completed. Work on columns had begun and construction of its auxiliary structures, such as a visitor’s center, was well underway. [BWNS1363]
  • Matunda; Kenya BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kenya
    2020. 12 Jun The Bahá'í World News Service provided a progress report on the construction of the first local Mashriqul-Adhkar in Africa located in Matunda, Kenya. The foundations for the central edifice have been laid and the nine walls have been raised. In addition, the supports for the roof had been put into place.
  • The Temple had already become a point of adoration. Prior to the global health crisis, people were gathering on the grounds to pray and take part in community education programs, consulting about how they can develop their capacity to offer service to their society. [BWNS1434]
  • Matunda; Kenya BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kenya
    2020. 11 Dec Work on the concrete walls and roof beams of the central edifice had been completed; work on the steelwork for the roof, the cladding for the external walls, and the decorations for the pillars and doorways continued. Work on the Reception Centre and other ancillary buildings were near completion.
  • The steel work to support the roof tiles was in place and the steelwork was covered with waterproofing and plaster.
  • The planters on the plinth around the central edifice were being prepared, work was just beginning on the gardens and paths that will surround the temple. [BWNS1473]
  • Matunda Soy; Kenya BWNS; Mashriqu’l-Adhkar; Local House of Worship
    2021. 28 Feb The Bahá'í World News Service provided an update on the construction of the Local Temple in Matunda Soy. [BWNS1493]
  • The project was entering the final stages of construction. The exterior of the temple was nearly complete, as were auxiliary structures on the grounds.
  • Skylights have been installed on all nine sides of the roof of the temple, and roof tiles are being placed, creating a diamond motif familiar to Kenyan culture.
  • The interior and exterior of the temple’s nine doorways were being decorated with wood and paster.
  • Construction of the reception center and other facilities on the site are nearly complete,
  • Residents of the area were assisting to prepare the gardens around the temple, carrying out tasks with reverence as they regularly gather on the grounds for prayers.
  • Matunda Soy; Kenya BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kenya
    2021. 23 May The dedication of the first local Bahá’í House of Worship in Africa in Matunda Soy, Kenya. The project had been completed in under three years in difficult circumstances.

    The ceremony was attended by some one hundred people including government officials, village and district chiefs, local dignitaries, representatives of local and national Bahá’í institutions, and other representatives of the construction team including Neda Samimi, the architect. The Universal House of Justice was represented by Townshend Lihanda, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors in Africa who delivered this message on their behalf.

    The previous day a small ornamental case containing dust from one of the Holy Shrines at the Bahá’í World Centre was placed within the structure of the House of Worship symbolizing the profound connection between the temple and the spiritual center of the Bahá’í Faith. [BWNS1511]

  • Photos.
    Specifics
      Location: Matunda Soy district in Kenya
      Foundation Stone: 23 March 2019 to 23 May 2021
      Construction Period: 28 February 2019 to
      Site Dedication: 23 May 2021
      Architect: Neda Samimi (The first woman whose design for a Baha’i House of Worship was selected.)
      Architectural firm: under the auspices of Archipoint Consulting Architects (Mr Alfred Mango, Architect)
      Seating: 250
      Dimensions:
      Land: The area was about 20 acres inclusive of the Lwanda Learning Site which occupies about 3 acres.
      Cost: (land and building)15m Kshs plus 152m Kshs (approximately US$1.5m)
      Dependencies: Existing buildings will be repurposed as educational facilities and as offices for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Kenya.
      References: BWNS1251; BWNS1317; BWNS1473; BWNS1493; BWNS1511.
  • Matunda Soy; Kenya Local Mashriqu’l-Adhkar; Neda Samimi; Townshend Lihanda; BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Local; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kenya; Dedication

    from the Chronology Canada

    date event locations tags see also
    2004 19 Apr The passing of Mr Aziz Ismayn Yazdi (b. Alexandria, Egypt in 1909) in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 94. Aziz Yazdi lived in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Great Britain, Uganda, Kenya, Israel, and finally Canada. In 1968 he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors in Central and East Africa and was an inaugural member of the International Teaching Centre in Haifa. [BWNS297, BW'03-‘04pg239] Aziz Ismayn Yazdi; Counsellors; International Teaching Centre, Members of; In memoriam

    from the Main Catalogue

    1. Footprints in the Sands of Time, by Shahla Gillbanks (2019). Memoir of time as a Bahá'í in Iran and pioneer to other countries around the world, and a historical account of service in the United States, New Zealand, and Czechoslovakia. [about]
     
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