The story appears on

Page A10

August 18, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

World's oldest pupil dies after cancer battle

A KENYAN man who was believed to be the world's oldest pupil has died at the age of 89, five years after he entered primary school so that he could learn to read the Bible, his family said yesterday.

Joseph Stephen Kimani Nganga Maruge died of stomach cancer on Friday at the Kariobangi Cheshire Home for the Aged in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, said his granddaughter Anne.

Maruge accomplished his biggest goal - being able to read the Bible - but he remained shy of completing primary school.

"In the morning he used to wake up early to read the Bible before going to school," Anne Maruge, 18, reporters.

Joseph Maruge enrolled in primary school in the western Kenya town of Eldoret in January 2004 after the government decided to make primary school free.

He wore a schoolboy's uniform - shorts, sweater and long socks - and walked to class hunched over, a book bag slung over his shoulder.

The Guinness Book of World Records listed Maruge as the world's oldest primary school pupil.

Survived by four children, 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, Maruge overcame great odds to attend school.

His home in the Rift Valley was burned down in Kenya's post-election violence in 2008, forcing him to live in a displacement camp.

He continued his studies despite the living conditions, and the Red Cross moved him into the old-age home in May 2008, Anne Maruge said.

He stopped attending classes in January because of his illness.

"When he became ill, he started to cry because he was not going to go to school," Anne Maruge said.

Joseph Maruge went to New York in 2005 to promote a global campaign to get more children into schools.

"Liberty means going to school and learning," he said at that time. "You are never too old to learn."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend