Hassanally Mohamedally Rattansi

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Philanthropist, educationist, sportsman and humanist, Dr Rattansi was born in 1921 in Nyeri. He rose from running a grocery shop to managing and developing one of Kenya’s best-known educational philanthropies.

He played a leading role in the development of sports in Kenya and held various elective positions in sports organisations dealing with cricket, lawn tennis and badminton.

His civic duties were multi-faceted, and included a stint as a city councillor (1960-65) and serving on the board of governors of the Highway Secondary School, Kenya High School, and St Theresa’s Secondary School. He also served as a member of His Highness the Aga Khan Nairobi Provincial Council and the Nairobi Hospital Board.

But it is in the field of education that Rattansi distinguished himself. His parents established the Rattansi Educational Trust in 1956. Hassanally became the chairman of the Trust in May 1962. Over the years, he developed it into one of the leading charitable organisations supporting post-secondary education and youth programmes in Kenya.

In order to effectively do this, he sold his own business in 1987 to devote his energies and talents to the Trust. He did this free of charge for 16 years.

Like his father, Rattansi strongly believed in social justice and the role of education in Kenyans’ advancement. For example, it awards bursaries worth over Sh16m annually.

The Trust has contributed to the education of many prominent Kenyans and given a strong moral force to the work of local non-profit institutions. His widow, Dr Vijoo Rattansi, continues his exemplary work and is at present Chancellor of the University of Nairobi.

Dr Hassanally Rattansi passed away on 1 December, 2003 in Nairobi.