09-11-2019 by Freddie del Curatolo
A happy news for the Italians in Kenya and their memory, just on the eve of the celebrations that tomorrow, as every year, will evoke the imprisonment of our fellow countrymen in Kenya at the Shrine of the Consolata of Nyeri.
We talked about it a few months ago, after the painful denunciation of the Italian scholar Aldo Manos, curator of the site prigionieriinkenya.org and author of the interesting book "Campo 360 Ndarugu".
During an inspection with the photographer Paolo Torchio and Magalì Manconi of the monument erected by our fellow countrymen during their imprisonment in the homonymous camp of the British army not far from Nairobi (click here to read the article) the discovery: the monument had been almost completely destroyed and its remains lay disconsolately in a land increasingly threatened by quarries and lots.
In recent days, Comites Kenya, under the patronage of the Italian Embassy, has saved the last large existing fragment of that monument, a symbol of our history, talent and industriousness in this country.
It took two days of repeated attempts to lift and transport to a safe place the almost 12 tons of stone and concrete that make up the main fragment of the monument built by Italian prisoners of war in Kenya. On Wednesday night the complex operation sponsored and organized by Comites Kenya was successfully concluded.
Under the supervision of Manos himself and with the help of Torchio, who is also secretary of the Comites and Magalì Manconi, the main stump of the monument with bas-reliefs depicting exciting scenes of war, previously vandalized and almost completely demolished by unknown people, was placed in the garden of the Shrine of the Church of the Consolata of Nyeri. From now on you can admire it, in need of restoration but now safe and immovable, in the lawn on the left side of the facade of the church.
"The intention was to have it on site in time for the annual celebration that is held tomorrow, Sunday, November 10 - explains Torchio a malindikenya.net - and despite the strenuous attempts by the monument itself not to leave its place of origin, so it was done. In fact, it took two days of efforts, and the intervention of three different cranes to eradicate and lift from the ground the massive block of stones and concrete, and almost five hours to travel the road from Thika to Nyeri, facing at a snail's pace the endless climbs that lead to the mountain headquarters of the Consolata, where the operation was happily completed in the late evening. We must thank Mr. Michael Reale for having organized the necessary means, and a special thanks also goes to Father Boniface Mwangi (direct manager of the Shrine area) who patiently endured that part of his magnificent hedges and the well-kept lawn were unfortunately inevitably vandalized by us, crude workers, and heavy vehicles used during this challenging operation. Thanks also to all the other Comites Councillors who, even though they did not physically take part in the operation, supported it with active and welcome participation".
(Photo by Paolo Torchio)
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