Michael Blundell – Nakuru farmer & Politician

Sir Michael Blundell

Although born in London, Michael Blundell who came to Kenya in 1925 was a core pillar in Nakuru through the 1940s to the 1970s.

Michael Blundell first worked as a farmhand in Solai where he later bought land and set his own farm. As a farmer, he was quite successful later serving as a Kenyan Minister for Agriculture and even wrote two books about wildflowers.

In 1948, Michael Blundell was elected to the Legco to represent sent Rift Valley. He was again re-elected in 1952 unopposed. It was in 1955 that he was first appointed as minister for Agriculture but was also reappointed in 1961 serving until 1962. He resigned from politics in 1962 and did not vie for the 1963 elections.

During his time as a politician and even after, Michael Blundell’s opinion in political matters was always highly valued. Although he entered politics with the sole intention of “<em>protecting white highlands and white privilege</em>” in Kenya, he was among the first to accept and accommodate African politicians. He was very instrumental in crafting the Lancaster constitution and brokering a deal between Kenyatta and the British.

After his resignation from politics, Sir Michael Blundell who was knighted by the British Government for his service to the queen became the Chairman of the Egerton Agricultural College. This was the predecessor to Egerton University and he served until 1972.

From 1951, Blundell was the chairman of the newly formed Nakuru Players Theater. He was not new in the entertainment scenes having owned the Electrical Theater (later renamed Eros Cinema) in Nakuru town. The theatre would not admit anyone else but white people leading to the founding of the Odeon Cinema by Umardin Karimbux.

In his active years, Blundell held many leadership and influential positions. In 1938, he was elected to the Coffee Board of Kenya. In 1949, he was appointed to the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya taking over the chairmanship the following year.

In 1964, he was appointed the chairman of the East African Breweries and shortly after the Uganda Breweries. He also found time to serve as the chairman of the Nairobi Hospital.

Apart from his two books on wildflowers, Michael Blundell in 1994 published his memoir titled “A Love Affair with the Sun.” There is also an autobiography published in 1964, “So Rough a Wind.”

Michael Blundell died of kidney failure in 1993 at his Nairobi home where he had settled after selling his Solai home. He’s survived by a daughter, Sussie.