National Geographic : 1969 Feb
white smile shining like a crescent moon in the dark oval of his face, told a long story about a chief who had opposed KANU-Ken ya African National Union-the dominant party and the party of all the politicians pres ent. "Finally the people said, 'This chief must go. He has a colonial mentality,' " recalled the regime's political theorist and economist. Someone told a story about how he had handled a heckler who interrupted a speech, and this started a spate of recollections about political meetings: how to plan them, stage them, keep them under control, address them. It all sounded vaguely familiar, and then I thought: Except for occasional switches from English to Swahili or Luo, these could be the voices of politicians at home in some unguard ed bull session. With regret, John and I finally left, taking with us a carload of guests to drop off at their homes-cones of wattle, mud, and thatch that loomed suddenly in the night. One youth brought his new wife to the car to meet us. A government employee invited us to spend the EKTACHROME BY JAMESDRAKEFORSPORTS ILLUSTRATED(C TIME.INC. 190 night-another unusual opportunity for a European. But John and I had an appoint ment with an intriguing group of men, the Bomwari Tabaka Stone Carvers, and we drove the rest of the night to keep it. For many years members of the Kisii tribe have fashioned smoking pipes from the soft white and pink stone of the South Mugirango area. Recently, however, stone carvings of birds and animals, and a few extraordinary busts of people, have found their way to the Nairobi market from a tiny village near the town of Kisii. John and I resolved to find it. Again rain, again mire, again kidney-rat tling jolts and bounces. But finally we reached a Catholic mission of the Mill Hill Order, where a Father Witte, when asked if he knew the carvers, took me into his chapel and showed me a magnificent Negro Madonna. "A member of this order, Father Herbert L. Doyle, taught sculpture to people in a nearby village; that was about 1930," Father Witte recalled. "Now it's a talent handed down from father to son. This Madonna is the work of Alexander, and he's here." So I met a great, if barefoot, artist, Alexan der Mogendi, who looked like a leaner and tougher version of the old boxing champion, Archie Moore. With Alexander directing, we slithered for half an hour until we reached a clearing in a small village. There, under a tree, three men worked, hacking away at pieces of stone with pangas, the African version of the machete, or cutting more delicately with knives (page 194). Alex ander joined them and went to work on a bust. I marveled at how sculpture of quality could Two-man gold rush, Kenya's Kipchoge Keino (front) and Naftali Temu warm up at home before scorching the track at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Keino, a police in structor, outsped U. S . ace Jim Ryun to win the 1,500-meter gold medal. Army private Temu won the 10,000-meter gold medal. Amos Biwott added to Kenya's laurels with his triumph in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In all, Kenya's team took a remarkable total of three gold, four silver, and two bronze medals. The thin air at 7,350-foot-high Mex ico City troubled many athletes, but not the speedsters from Kenya's highlands-most of whom grew up and trained at altitudes of a mile and higher. Mock warrior snaps a salute during patri otic festivities at the opening of the hospital in Gatundu (pages 152-3). His cardboard hat bears the colors of Kenya's national flag. KODACHROME(RIGHT) BYBRUCEDALE© N.G.S.