Orie Rogo Manduli Dies at 73

By Evelyne Syombua


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Orie Rogo Manduli, Kenya’s first female rally driver, a veteran journalist, and former MP, has died at the age of 73. She passed on at her Riverside home on Wednesday 8 September. She was known for describing herself as a “lioness in her cage”. Most Kenyans recognize her for her distinctive and colossal head scarves, which frequently accompany the Nigerian-style clothes she adored.

She was born Mary Orie Rogo in Maseno to Gordon Rogo and Zeruiah Adhiambo who were teachers.  Manduli attended three high-schools NNg’iya Girls High School, then Butere Girls and then Machakos Girls.

She was the first East African woman to participate in safari rally in 1974 and 1975. She then proceeded to Machakos Teachers College and got married upon her completion. Manduli changed her name to Mary Orie Rogo Ondieki. They were blessed with three children, all daughter.

After five years of marriage they got divorced.  She remarried in 1980 to Norman Manduli, who was a Zambian, hence her name changed to Orie Rogo Manduli. Norman died in 2003.

She served at the National Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, International Council of Women’s Council representative to the United Nations Environment Programme and Habitat.

She was the frist woman to hold the position of the Administrative Mananger at the Coffee Board of Kenya.

She was hosting a show in KBC- Women’s World- after interviewing rally drivers in this show she developed her interest for the safari rally.

“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,” she previously told the Nation.

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