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UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace (front right) and his counterpart Monica Juma at the launch of the army barracks. Photo Kenyans.co.ke

 

The UK Government has opened a new army barracks in Nanyuki, Kenya.

The new facility was unveiled by UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, on Tuesday, January 26. He was accompanied by Kenya's Defense Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma.

The new Nyati Barracks was officially opened at the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) in Nanyuki as part of a two-day visit to Kenya by the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence.

Wallace took a tour of the refurbished facility and addressed both Kenyan and British troops at the facility, as well some of the hundreds of Kenyans employed by the base.

“I’m delighted to open the Nyati Barracks with Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma as we continue to strengthen our defence partnership together. 

“We both have ambitions to make more of the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), with Kenyan and British soldiers training alongside each other as partners," stated Wallace.

“We want to develop the facility to something beyond just training – and use it as a demonstration of our deepening partnership," he added.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot, who attended the event, noted that the new barracks reinforced the strong friendship between Kenya and UK.

“Our joint training with Kenyan Defence Forces is one of the many fantastic examples of our partnership on security with Kenya.

"After agreeing a refreshed Security Compact this week, our work together at Nyati Barracks is another sign of our enduring friendship," stated Marriot.

BATUK has been a key component of the British Army’s light roll training delivery for many years, enabling battle-groups to undertake state of the art training in arduous conditions up to five times a year.

The Covid-19 health crisis necessitated a pause in training activities in 2020. Every year 10,000 British troops exercise in Kenya, however, due to the limitations caused by the pandemic, in 2020, 4,500 troops were trained. - Kenyans.co.ke

Philanthropists and media mogul Dr Pauline Long has been reflecting on the importance of connecting with people around the world during these Covid-19 challenging times. The graceful humanitarian has recorded a heartfelt message to the world urging people to reach out for another and not treat anyone as a stranger. As a strong crusader and agent of human love, she believes that more than ever now is the time humanity must practice generosity if not through words then through action. Dr Pauline Long said, "The past 11 months have been tough for many of us, we have lost our loved ones, we have lost our colleagues, we have lost our friends, but still we are here. So today I just want to send messages of hope, I know words can't heal where people are hurting but messages of hope can warm the heart."

Jonas Gwangwa in 2019 (Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape)

The Oscar-nominated trombonist used music as a rallying cry against apartheid and spent years in exile. Jonas Gwangwa—the South African anti-apartheid activist, composer, and jazz trombonist—has died, NPR reports. The news was confirmed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. “A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and our democratic creative industries has been called to rest,” Ramaphosa wrote in a statement. “The trombone that boomed with boldness and bravery, and equally warmed our hearts with mellow melody has lost its life force.” Gwangwa was 83. 

Raised in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, Gwangwa was a member of the Jazz Epistles alongside Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, and Kippie Moeketsi. When South Africa’s apartheid regime censored jazz performances in 1960 and jailed Black people for congregating, Gwangwa chose to live in exile outside the country. 

Gwangwa performed internationally in the ensuing years and continued to use his music in service of activism. He was the musical director of the Amandla Cultural Ensemble—a group formed by African National Congress activists. His music for 1987’s Cry Freedom, a film about anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline, earned Gwangwa two Oscar nominations. In 1985, he reportedly survived a bombing of his home by apartheid security forces.  

In 2010, Gwangwa was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga—South Africa’s highest honor. His death falls on the three-year anniversary of the death of his friend and collaborator Hugh Masekela.  

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