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Mary Orie Manduli| First Kenyan Woman Rally Driver Dies at Her Home, Nairobi

Renown politician and the first Kenyan woman rally driver, Ambassador Orie Rogo Manduli is dead.

As reported by family, Manduli passed away at her Riverside home in Nairobi, on Wednesday, September, 8.

The heroine died, while preparing to visit her dentist for a checkup.

Manduli had been admitted at Nairobi hospital in July his year, following kidney complications and was a month later discharged.

Brief Life History

She was born Mary Orie Rogo, to Gordon Rogo and Zeruiah Adhiambo, both teachers in Maseno.

She attended NNg’iya Girls High School, then Butere Girls, before joining Machakos Girls.

In 1974 and 1975, Manduli became the first Kenyan woman to take part in the East African Safari rally. She was famous for her huge head scarfs and African dressing style.

She later on went into Machakos Teachers College, and got married immediately after. It was at this point that her name changed to Mary Orie Ondieki.

She then proceeded to Canada with her husband, where she pursued and graduated with a diploma in office management.

The couple divorced after five years of marriage, having three children together.

Manduli Orie Mary

In 1980, she married Norman Manduli, of Zambia, changing her name to her present, Mary Orie Manduli. Her husband would die in 2003.

During her time, she served at the National Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, International Council of Women’s Council Representative to the United National Environment Programme and Habitat.

Manduli had her first job as a personal assistant to the then Kenya Railways and Harbours Corporation general manager, P.J Mwangola in 1973.

12 months later,  she went to the Coffee Board of Kenya as administrative manager, the first woman in her position.

After this, she proceeded to the Metal Box in charge of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in 1975, serving as marketing and public relations manager, again, the first woman in that position.

It was in the same time span, that she hosted two shows at KBC- Mambo Leo and Women’s World. It was here that she grew her liking and interest in safari rally, after hosting the drivers.

The safari was hectic, it was beautiful, the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. I was the driver. I am always the driver. It’s just that I’m always the driver in any situation. We did not finish but managed two legs.

Manduli, speaking to Nation.

Rest in Peace!

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