Mwamba Rugby Football Club was founded in 1977 with a simple objective: To be the rugby club that embraces the alternative philosophy.
It is currently known as Stanbic Mwamba after a commercial partnership with Stanbic Bank (Kenya).
In 1977, being the alternative meant being the club that would promote rugby among indigenous Kenyans. Intentionally choosing to locate the club “within walking distance from any bus terminal in the city centre”, the founders, under the chairmanship of Justus Mugaa M’impwili hoped that the club would be accessible, both geographically and psychologically, to young Kenyans who wanted to learn and enjoy the game of rugby.
The name Mwamba, Swahili for ‘Rock’ or ‘Boulder’ was chosen to signify stability, firmness and consistency; values that have continued to define the club over the years. The club strip of black jerseys, black shorts and black stockings are a constant reminder of the commitment to “encourage local participation in the sport.”
But new beginnings, especially those that radically depart from the status quo, often cause disquiet, skepticism and sometimes, even fear.
The founding of this new indigenous-leaning rugby club was no different, coming at a time when all clubs in the country, save for the newly-formed University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine, were managed and run either by expatriate ‘wazungu’ or white Kenyan Settlers. This skepticism is eloquently captured by G. B. Mills, who was then Chairman of both the Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) and the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA). In his message in, ironically, the very first Mwamba RFC official programme in 1978, Mills wrote: “I am not yet entirely convinced that the birth of a new club at this particular point of time is in the best interests of our rugby…”
1978 ProgramWriting in the same publication, Mwamba’s first captain, Absalom ‘Bimbo’ Mutere recognized the fact that “it is meaningless to talk about the development of Kenyan rugby without using Kenyans as a reference point.” Bimbo poignantly pointed out that “being a new club we are naturally having to face problems of acceptance; not in the formal sense, but in terms of recognition by the rugby public on our interests and goals.” And perhaps, prophetically summed up that “Both positive and negative views have been thrown about, but within the duration of the season – and seasons to come – we should hopefully see the former prevail.”
It is against that background that Mwamba took to the pitch in the 1978 season, the first of many seasons that have each thrown at the club its own unique set of challenges. What has remained consistent over the years, however, is the unwavering tenacity demonstrated by the founders of the club. Tenacity that has bred stability, firmness and consistency. And great success, both on and off the pitch.
[14:06, 8/1/2018] Alvas Onguru M: Much of that success is commemorated all through this website and we hope you will enjoy those memories with us. One memory, however, that we would like to bring forth as we close, is that of the men and women who, against all odds, came together in 1977 to found a club that would over the years become the rock of Kenya rugby.
And so we remember the founding members and committee of the Mwamba Rugby Football Club:
The Committee (1977)
CHAIRMAN: Justus Mugaa M’impwili
HON. SECRETARY: Tom Oketch
ASST. SECRETARY: Peter Gitau
HON. TREASURER: Coutts Otolo
ASST. TREASURER: George Mwangi
CAPTAIN: Absalom Mutere
COACH: John Muhato
ASST. COACH: George Mng’ong’o
FIXTURES/PUBLICITY SECRETARY: Frank Ojiambo
CLUB/KRFU REPRESENTATIVE: John Achungo
MEMBER: Charles Baraza
List of members:
Aduwo Barack, Tom Oketch, John Achungo, Coutts Otolo, Frank Ojiambo, J.Mbera, F. Ober, G.O. Wanyama, George Beuttah, Nick Nzioki, Saidi Fundikira, Sam Akatsa, R.O. Kimani, Pater Gitau, Humphrey M. Kahihu, P. Martin Muigai, Justus Mugaa, V. Ntekerei, Mike Woodhouse, George Mwangi, Kalambo Kaisi, George Mng’ong’o, Charles BAraza, Jeff Osunga, Dennis Awori, J.P.Odoch, J.B.M. Gikundi, Patrick Odanga, Samuel Kilia,Hissein Abbi, N.M. Kiama, Daniel A. Mutuli, Chris Awuor, Fred Ojiambo, J. Otieno, Stephen Doxzon, Sam Awuor, Jimmy Owino, C.O. Oguya, Joy Wangari Mwangi (Miss), Abigail Shiganga (Miss), G.G. Muiruri, Martin Mogwanja, Norman Nyagah, John Gichinga, Peter Doenhoff, George Mac’Odawa, Penina Nhirote (Miss), Stephen G. Mbaabu, John Mwicha, Steve Wandera, Bob Macharia, Chris N. Njenga, Sam Dawa, Elizabeth A. Bonyo (Miss), Lynette Abura (Miss) Jann Nyamwange (Miss), Tim Mtana, Lester C. Wako, Sam Nimi, Damary Omuruli (Miss), Raymond Ofula, Dave Oluoch, Mary Muthoni (Miss), Bimbo Mutere, John Mutato, Moses Obara, Maria Ojiambo (Mrs) Shapi kadir, Liz Okullu (Miss), Leonard Juma.