2015/16 Yearbook Early History

The Media


In 1902, A.M. Jeevanjee started the African Standard, pioneering the first newspaper. But he sold it two years later to a European and it was renamed the East African Standard. The paper became the voice of the settlers until after independence.

While it had remained unchallenged, it got its first challenge in 1959 when East African Newspaper group was started by the Aga Khan to publish Taifa Leo and Daily Nation. Soon, the Aga Khan papers became the most influential in Kenya and would later overtake the East African Standard in circulation figures.
There were other vernacular publications that emerged in pre-independence years and the best known were Kikuyu language Wiyathi (weekly 10,000 copies by 1960) and Luo Ramogi (weekly 4,000 copies by 1962). The Kiswahili monthly Jicho sold 5,000 copies while Asian weekly Colonial Times sold 5,000 copies by 1962.


Broadcasting started in 1929 with the British East Africa Broadcasting Corporation which was serving the settler community. An African Broadcasting Service was later founded to cater for the local communities and for propaganda purposes. The two groups were later merged into Kenya Broadcasting Services in 1962 to form the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). During this year, television was introduced to Kenya.
It was in 1964 that Parliament decided to nationalise the broadcasting service and renamed KBC to Voice of Kenya (VOK). It was explained that a powerful media and television could not be administered independent of the Government.

The media was liberalised in the 1990s, resulting in the emergence of new FM and TV stations. The media sector has further been transformed by digital technology after the Government implemented the digital television programmes.

The print media has also seen the emergence of new players and vibrancy online. It is also facing challenges from new media.

From harbour to international ports

The old port of Mombasa was the first harbour that connected Kenya to other nations. Located next to Fort Jesus, the harbour was instrumental in the spice trade between East Africa and Arab countries.

The construction of a new railway line in 1895 opened up the interior where coffee, tea, ivory and skins cargo increased pressure on the port, leading to demand for a spacious new port. A new jetty had already been built to handle construction material for the railway. In 1907, two lighterage wharves were built in Ras Kilindini, but the development of a modern port began in 1926 when two deep water berths were completed. In 1931, three more berths were built, supported by sheds, and an oil terminal was opened in Shimanzi.

As the Second World War commenced, two more berths were built to serve the military while two more deep water berths were added in 1955 and 1958.

The Kipevu oil terminal was built in 1963 to serve the East Africa Oil Refinery, which has since closed shop. In 1967, an additional two berths were built.

As container trade in Mombasa started in 1975, some two new deep water berths were built with berths number 17 and 16 converted for container handling.

There has been an increase in cargo at the port of Mombasa, which has been expanded to cope with the new demands. Mombasa is now being transformed into a modern port.

It will be supplemented by the new port being built in Lamu under the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor programme. The ground breaking ceremony was done in March 2002.

Under the project, the port of Lamu will be connected to Juba in South Sudan and Addis Ababa with a rail network. This will make Kenya a gateway to the region once the project is completed.