History

Boydton College, USA hosted first Kenyan Maasai student in 1909

Molonket Olokorinya ole Sempele.
Molonket Olokorinya ole Sempele.
Before travelling to the US to pursue studies, Sempele was a Maasai traditional chief (age set). It is said he resigned to go for studies.

The first Kenyan to study abroad was Molonket Olokorinya ole Sempele, who enrolled at the Boydton Academic and Bible Institute in Virginia in 1909.

Before travelling to the US to pursue studies, Sempele was a Maasai traditional chief (age set). It is said he resigned to go for studies.

City Hall, Nairobi in colonial times
City Hall, Nairobi in colonial times.

On completing his studies in America, Sempele returned home in 1912, but could not secure gainful employment besides brief conscription to the Career Corps during the outbreak of World War I in 1914.”

According to pieces of historical research on Kenyan Maasai available in the US, Sempele was born in1886 and on September 20, 1952.

He was the first Christian Maasai to marry a Kikuyu girl from Kijabe in a Church wedding in 1915, according to little bits of information about him.

It is said he was baptized in 1906 after having meeting Church Mission Society missionaries in Uganda while on a business trip in1903.

According to available information, Sempele lived in Hoopaloo, Chicago after joining Boydton Bible College in Virginia for a 4-year course.

On returning to Kenya, Sempele began Christianity in Maasailand after joining hands with American missionaries; John William and Florence Minch Stauffachers in Rumuruti and later at Siyiapei on June 18, 1918.

Meet Michael Memusi one of the many great grandson of Joseph Molonket Olokorinya Ole Sempele. A Businessman, Rabbit Farmer and Security Expert.
Meet Michael Memusi one of the many great-grandsons of Joseph Molonket Olokorinya Ole Sempele. A Businessman, Rabbit Farmer and Security Expert.

The first school in Maasailand began at Siyiapei with 6 boys in 1929.

He taught catechism class of 8 pupils who were the first to be baptised at Siyiapei in 1924. In later years, it is said Sempele sold his livestock to get money to hire lawyers to fight colonialists in Kenya.

Many Boydton Institute students went on to become teachers and ministers, and several became doctors, lawyers, and businessmen.

Civil rights leader Vernon Johns attended the school, as did Appomattox County educator Mozella Jordan Price. 

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