In Summary
  • He finally settled in East Africa in 1890.
  • Five years later, he was awarded a contract to supply the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEA Co) with labour for the Kenya-Uganda Railway.
  • From the proceeds of the venture, Jeevanjee expanded his construction business, eventually building most of the early post offices, government offices, and railway stations.

Although the only thing that still bears his name in Nairobi is a public park, Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee’s story is closely interwoven with the story of Nairobi’s beginnings.

Jeevanjee was the man at the heart of the labour supply for the Uganda railway line.

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, he embarked on a career as an itinerant peddler, trekking across India and Australia, when his father died.

He finally settled in East Africa in 1890. Five years later, he was awarded a contract to supply the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEA Co) with labour for the Kenya-Uganda Railway.

The execution of this human resource contract began almost immediately, when he facilitated the arrival of the first 350 “coolies” from the Punjab region of British-India. Within six years, Jeevanjee had supplied 31,985 workers for the railway line.

Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs migrated to Kenya to work in different sections as carpenters, skilled labourers, electrical fitters, and metal workers.

EXPANDED BUSINESS

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