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Elizabeth Kangethe: From Walking to School Barefooted to Become First Kenyan to be Elected Mayor in the UK

Elizabeth Kangethe PHOTO/OMG Voice

In 2010, Elizabeth Kangethe made history after becoming the first Kenyan to be elected councillor in the United Kingdom (UK).

She was elected councillor after being voted as a representative of Parsloes Ward in Barking and Dagenham on a Labour Party ticket.

Due to her position, Elizabeth has brushed shoulders with among other powerful people, royals and presidents of various countries.

Here is her story as told by EAFeed.

Elizabeth was born and raised in Ngewa village, Githunguri in Kiambu county.

She is the middle child in the family of seven.

After completing her primary school education at a local school, Elizabeth enrolled at St Anne’s Lioki Secondary School.

In high school, she engaged in different co-curriculum including scouting which later informed her decision to pursue philanthropy.

For instance, after completing high school, Elizabeth moved to Turkana where she volunteered to teach although she was not trained.

After a year, she joined college to train as a teacher and after graduating from college she continued teaching and even became a headteacher at just 24.

Elizabeth was also still involved in scouting activities and through this involvement, she got an opportunity to travel to Canada where she spent a year.

A while later, after visiting other countries, she decided to relocate to the United Kingdom with hopes of a brighter future.

However, just like many other foreigners, Elizabeth faced a number of challenges which include racism and difficulty in finding jobs.

However, she kept going to the point where she adapted to life in the UK and moved her son who was still in Kenya by the time she left.


While in the UK, Elizabeth interacted with her fellow teacher and the general public in a way that many persuaded her to try a hand in politics.

It included the Member of Parliament who advised her to vie for a leadership position.

It was then when Elizabeth started campaigning for the councillorship position but she faced opposition from many people including her fellow black people.

Despite being advised to drop the bid, she had already made up her mind and in 2010, she managed to clinch the position, making her the first person of Kenyan origin to ascend to the seat.

Elizabeth served in this position from 2014 to 2015 before she was made the vice president of London Mayors Association.

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