Orie Rogo Manduli, first Kenyan woman rally driver, dies
Renowned politician and the first Kenyan woman rally driver Ambassador Orie Rogo Manduli has died.
According to the family, Manduli died at her Riverside home in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Manduli was born Mary Orie Rogo in Maseno to Gordon Rogo and Zeruiah Adhiambo, both educators.
During a past interview with a local daily, she revealed that she attended NNg’iya Girls High School, then Butere Girls and then Machakos Girls.
Manduli, who was known for her massive head scarfs and African style dressing, was the first Kenyan woman to participate in the East African Safari rally in 1974 and 1975.
Afterwards, she proceeded to the Machakos Teachers College where she got married immediately, upon which she changed her name to Mary Orie Rogo Ondieki.
Manduli then proceeded to Canada with her husband where she pursued and graduated with a diploma in office management.
The couple was blessed with three children – all girls – before getting divorced after five years of marriage.
In 1980, she married a Zambian named Norman Manduli, hence the second name change to Orie Rogo Manduli. Norman died in 2003.
Manduli has, during her time, served at the National Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, International Council of Women’s Council representative to the United Nations Environment Programme and Habitat.
Her first job was as personal assistant to then Kenya Railways and Harbours Corporation general manager P.J Mwangola in 1973.
A year later, he went to the Coffee Board of Kenya as administrative manager, the first woman in that position.
She then went to the Metal Box in charge of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in 1975 where she served as marketing and public relations manager; again, the first woman in her position.
During the same period, she also hosted two shows on KBC – Mambo Leo and Women’s World – where she developed an interest for the safari rally after interviewing the drivers.
“The safari was hectic, it was beautiful, the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. I was the driver, I am always the driver. It’s just that I’m always the driver in any situation. We did not finish but managed two legs,” she previously told the Nation.