Look Inside

Beyond Etiquette

When Mwanyengela was appointed Kenya’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland in the mid-1990s, he made history. Never before had anyone outside the incumbent President’s ethnic group been appointed the top diplomat to the sensitive post at the Court of St James. This un-coded tradition continued even after he left the posting.


In these authentic memoirs, Ambassador Mwanyengela Ngali not only takes the reader deep into the intrigues of the diplomatic world, but also opens up to the story of his life. He begins with a journey back to his roots, conjuring up the images and sounds of village life; hill beyond hill, folded and twisted through the whistling trees in the Taita Hills, expansive sky over a sea of endless green vegetation, a thousand sunny days, still night air and warm rocks; the inescapability of the past. Using powerful imagery, he recounts, from the perspective of an innocent child, the heartbreak of his astonishingly humble childhood; evoking a time when the cycles of life were predictable and simple. He recalls his desperate struggle through school for lack of school fees, from the elementary level to the prestigious Alliance High School and onto to the University of Nairobi, plunging thereafter into the world of work both in private enterprise and public service. It was, however, in the latter that he spent twenty seven years of his adult life and where he encountered countless façades at every station.