2023 was an eventful year that had its fair share of triumphs. In equal measure, there were sad moments that plunged the country into grief.
Over the course of the year, several famous Kenyans passed away.
These Kenyans, whether in politics, arts, or other fields, left a mark on the collective memory of the country, and their contributions will be remembered with both admiration and nostalgia.
Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at some of the warriors who breathed their last this year.
Prof George Magoha
On January 24, 2023, the nation was thrown into mourning following the announcement that former Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha had passed away.
According to the family, the former CS suffered a cardiac arrest while receiving treatment at the Nairobi Hospital.
Former Cabinet Secretary George Magoha’s portrait during the burial at Umiru village on Saturday, February 11, 2023.
The hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO) officially confirmed that Magoha had collapsed at home and was immediately rushed to the hospital’s Accident and Emergency section where attempts to resuscitate him failed.
His demise came barely a week after he was appointed as a lecturer of medical surgery at Maseno University’s School of Medicine.
Magoha was praised by his peers for his reforms in the Education ministry, especially his huge role in stamping out examination malpractices.
The late professor is credited with initiating various reforms in Kenya’s education sector including the time frame required to mark national examinations.
He also played an instrumental role in the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
Veteran sports journalist Sean Cardovillis passed away at his home along Rhapta Road in Westlands in September 2023.
Before his demise, Cardovillis had amassed over two decades of experience in the media industry, working for leading stables including Capital FM, Standard Group PLC and Nation Media Group.
Throughout his career, he won multiple accolades including the Sports Award at the 2007 CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the Year Awards and the 2007 BBC Africa Radio Award for Sports.
The popular journalist had also covered major international events including the Commonwealth Games, Rio Olympics, Africa Cup of Nations as well as the London Olympics.
He also interviewed golf legend Tiger Woods in Dubai at the Dubai Desert Classic.
In 2022, the journalist’s health started deteriorating after he was diagnosed with pneumonia.
He was taken to the High Dependency Unit at a city hospital. At the time, his family appealed for help from the public to help clear medical bills.
He will be remembered for his eloquence, institutional memory and how viewers and listeners easily connected with him.
Dennis Khaemba, who worked at K24 as a political Affairs producer, passed away on October 24, 2023.
According to colleagues, the journalist was rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital two days after being discharged from the same facility.
Before his demise, Khaemba had been battling health issues, owing to his sugar levels, which prompted his family to rush him to a nearby clinic.
His condition, however, worsened, requiring his transfer to KNH where he was pronounced dead hours later.
Colleagues and politicians lauded him as a polished and determined journalist dedicated to his craft.
The Kenyan music industry also experienced a profound loss in 2023 following the demise of coast-based musician Ali Khamisi, popularly known as Ally B.
The popular musician known for hit songs such as Maria and Silali suddenly fell ill and was rushed to Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Fellow artists eulogised him as a talented musician who helped build the industry in the mid 2000s.
President William Ruto described Ally B as a musician who harnessed his talent to foster unity and harmony in society.
“Ali Khamisi Mwanguli inscribed his message of peace deep within our hearts, and we will forever carry that meaningful tune. May God provide solace to his family, friends and devoted fans,” Ruto stated.
Dedan Kimathi’s Wife
Mukami Kimathi, the widow of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi died in May 2023.
The centenarian died while receiving treatment at hospital after developing breathing problems.
She was lauded for being involved in the fight against the British colonial regime and was at one point detained at the Kamiti Maximum Prison.
In the fight for independence, Mukami mobilised youth who had taken refuge in the forest.
Before her demise, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua visited her in hospital and helped clear her medical bill.
When she was still alive, Mukami lobbied the government to assist in locating her husband’s remains to give him a befitting sendoff.
A photo of the late freedom hero, Dedan Kimathi.