Hilary Ngweno 1936 – 2021

By Bettina and Amolo Ng’weno

A memoir by Sarah Elderkin: Working with Hilary

HILARY Ng’weno, who died this week aged 83, was a trailblazing giant of Kenya’s newspaper world, a brave pioneer and the mentor of countless journalists, many of whom have gone on to hold high positions in the Kenyan media. 

After paving the way in the late 1950s as the first Kenyan to study at Harvard University in the US, Hilary returned to Kenya to cut his journalistic teeth at the Nation, where soon after Independence, in 1965, he became the newspaper’s first African editor. 

It was not long, however, before Hilary ran into problems concerning continuing attempts at colonial control of his editorial role. He decided to leave the Nation and with his friend Peter Kabibi Kinyanjui he set up a PR company, African Media. Hilary also registered Stellascope Ltd, which would be the umbrella company for all that was to come.