Prominent Personalities

Due to the cultural diversity of Malindi, it is expected a list of prominent people will reflect that diversity. Malindi has produced great sons and daughters from the Mijikenda, Arabs, Sir Ali Bin Salim, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dahman, Asians, Swahili and Europeans and even Kenyan upcountry communities.



Image reproduced from internet

The exact birth date of Mekatilili is not known. It is believed that she was born in a family of four brothers and one sister in the 1840s at Mutara wa Tsatsu Ganze Kilifi County. Mekatilili spent her early days in Giriama Kaya. She married but was later widowed. Mekatilili was a charismatic leader and an orator. She led the Giriama against the British whose intention was to colonize Giriama territory and enlist Giriama Youth in the carrier-corps. Her bravery earned her a huge following. She was arrested and forced to work in a sisal plantation after organizing a successful resistance. Later, she was taken to Kisii prison in April 20th 1914. Before long she escaped from prison to renew the struggle. The British, in their desperation blew up the Kaya. Mekatilili was captured again in August 1914 and taken back to Kisii prison. She was released in 1919 when the British made peace with the Giriama. Her rebellion lasted from 1913 to 1914, with considerable impact. She died in the 1920s, at Mutura wa Tsatsu Ganze, Kilifi County. The photo shows the Statue in Uhuru Gardens, next to the Malindi Cultural Complex.




A Kaya elder and a gohu of Mijikenda Culture. He was born about 95 years ago at Ngurururleni in Malindi. He grew up in Malindi during the colonial era. He obtained his driving license in the early 1960’s after the second World War. He worked with famous rich men like Kajoro, Mzee Kabwere, Ronald Ngala and colonial District Commissioners of Malindi. While serving as KANU chairman in Malindi, he mobilized members of the Giriama Community to educate them about politics and development. In 1963 he was among the freedom fighters called to the DO’s office in Kilifi to oversee the lowering of the union flag. In 2003 Mzee Kalulu and others formed Malindi District Cultural Association (MADCA) and became a Member of Mau Mau War Veterans Association and led Intercultural rayers around Mount Kenya with a vision of bringing religious, political and community leaders together for peace, cohesion, integrations and development. Mzee Katana initiated the peace campaign by leading several walks in various areas in the Coast.

Photo reproduced from internet

Photo by Mr. Federico Curatola

Source: MADCA




Photo reproduced from a portrait

He was born in Kenya around 1900. His mother was a Kenyan while his father was of Omani origin. He was among the first mature students of Sir Ali Bin Salim school. He offered tuition to students in the same school in the evenings. He joined hands with

his friend Ali Bin Nassor and started the Mambrui Primary school. He served as a Mudir (Sultan’s representative equivalent to a D.O.) in Mambrui and Takaungu and was later

promoted to a Liwali (Sultan’s representative) in Malindi where he served until 1945. He was later transferred to Lamu in the same capacity where he worked until his retirement in 1955. He was decorated with an MBE (Member of the British Empire). He donated the land on which Barani Secondary School now stands. He died in October 1959. His

son Rashid Azzan was among the few in Malindi who went to the prestigious Shimo la Tewa Secondary School in Mombasa. Rashid Azzan also became a Mudir, then a Liwali. He was the first African D.O. of Malindi and later became and a D.C. He also donated the land on which the Malindi Slaughter house now stands. He died in 2007.

Source: Family



Photo donated by Shamsa Rashid Azzan

He was the first African District Officer in Malindi, he later became a District Commissioner after independence. He was the father to Shamsa Rashid Azzan and Mr. Hamoud Rashid Azzan

Source: Family




Photo collected by Mr.Jamal Hafidh Mohamed

He was a Kenya citizen of Oman Arab origin, born around 1800 in Mombasa. His was the son of Salim Bin Khalifan, who was a Liwali along the coastal strip. Sir Ali was selected a Liwali by the Sultan and Governor. Sir Ali Bin Salim built the first school in Malindi around 1914. The school was named after him and offered secular education.

The school was specifically for Swahili children and had to be headed by a European, according to Sir Ali’s instructions. Sir Ali’s brother, Seif Bin Salim donated the Sir Ali Bin Salim Library in Mombasa (now KNLS) and the Social League as a hospital. He also donated land for the Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa and the Sir Ali Sports ground in

Nairobi. He was knighted by King George of England because of his contribution during the wars. Sir Ali died in Mombasa on 4th December 1940.

Source: Jaha Archives Mombasa




Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dahman was a well respected business man and farmer from as early as 1938, as a middleman trader, who acquired commodities from Asian traders and supplied trading centres along the coast. The Bin Dahman family established and still operate a large plantation farm, where a variety of cash crops such as mangoes, oranges, cashewnuts amongst others are grown. The farm also has a dairy unit which provides employment opportunities for many people in the neighbourhood. Working with other well wishers from the communities in Malindi, he generously contributed towards the completion of Jamia Mosque before his death in 1956.

Source: Family



Photo collected by Mr. Jamal Hafidh Mohamed Source: Jaha Archives Mombasa


He was the owner of Malindi Bus, seen here with the first President of the Republic of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in 1961 during Kenyatta’s visit to Malindi to meet ‘mwambao people’ after he had left Kapenguria. Omar Bin Dahman was the first nominated councilor of Malindi in 1958, served for 20 years and retired in 1978. While serving as a councilor he also worked with his elder brother Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dahman in business (as a trader, supplying provisions from Shimo la Tewa all the way to Hola) and farming in Malindi. He served as chairman of Malindi Farmers Co-perative Society, exporting mangoes and supplying local markets with other farm produce. He was a proprietor of Malindi Buses in 1980’s as a registered transport company. Sheikh Omar interacted without discrimination with people from other races, teaming up to facilitate the reconstruction of the Jamia Mosque with people like Aliyaan, Bakshwein, Salim Baluchi amongst other elders in Malindi to fundraise towards construction of the Jamia Mosque in late 50’s. He died in 1984 in Abu Dhabi after a short illness.


Sheikh Rashid Bin Khalfan (with other sheikhs)


Photo collected by Mr. Jamal Hafidh Mohamed


Malindi being one of the towns along the Coastal strip was under the sultanate . The sheikhs had great influence along the strip.

From Left to Right (Sitting) Sheikh Rashid Bin Salim Mazrui, SheikhAbdallah Bin Hemed Busaidy, Sheikh Salim Bin Khalfan, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Hemed Busaidy, Sayyid Abourahman Bin Ahmad Bin Muhdhar Al -Saggaf—Mashuhuri Mwinyi Abudu—Sheikh Al-Islam Born: 1844 (C.E.) -1260 (A.H.) Died: 1922 (C.E.) -1340 (A.H.) Former Chief Kadhi of Kenya

From Left to Right (Standing) Sheikh Abdurahman Bin Abdurahim Bin Mohammad Bakadhir — Kadhi of Malindi, Sheikh Omar Bin Issa Al-Kindy, Sir Ali Bin Salim, Sheikh Seif Bin Salim, Sheikh Rashid Bin Kassim Mazrui, Sheikh Siraj Bin Fakih, Sheikh Abubakar Bin Ali—Maarufu

Source: Jaha Archives Mombasa




The Meynhart’s are well remembered in Malindi for their many charity activities. They came to Malindi in the late 60’s and bought Eden Rock Hotel in 1970’s. Mrs. Meynhart was popularly referred to as ‘Mama Maridadi’, a name she earned from Mzee Jomo Kenyatta the first President of Kenya because of her neat décor and flower arrangements. Other people in Malindi also remember her as a very neatly dressed lady, connecting her name to ‘Maridadi’. Mr. Meynhart was at one time chairman of the Lion’s Club. They organized many medical camps for Malindi community. Visiting medical practitioners were offered free accommodation at the Eden Rock Hotel.

In 1985, they donated land and built Meynhart Secondary School to support girl child education. They also offered financial support to other schools and individuals in Malindi. In the 1990’s, Mrs. Meynhart donated 10 acres of land, and together with other well wishers, they built Children of the Rising Sun orphanage. The orphanage is supported by Italian community in Malindi.


Source: Mr. Suchak Kundan

Photo donated by Mr. Patrick Becker


Pictorial Picture of Malindi


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