May 21, 2017

Mzee Lawuo


Biographical Of Lawuo’s Clan.

The Lawuo families’ originated from Ukambani crossing the Kenya boarder to Horombo in Tanzania some of them left at Horombo and Known as the “Mramba clan”. Others traveled far searching for good settlement at Marangu Ashira (Rengonyi). Here they established permanent settlement (Newly-settlement) and establishing a Lawuo clan.

Before the European came to Tanganyika (the now days Tanzania) the Lawuo clan hunted in the forest for elephants, colobus monkey, honey and timber. They hunted elephant for ivory and sold to Swahili traders from the coast. Also the family gathered from the forest honey, timber as well as tree roots for medicine and the hides of colobus where used for traditional dances and decorations.

The First Climbing Records:

The first Man to scale Mt Kilimanjaro was ”Yohana Kinyala Lawuo” whose memory is revered in his home town of Marangu-Ashira, when he was only 18 years Old guided the first recorded to Mt Kilimanjaro. Due to his knowledge of the mountain back ground by then chief Kilamia Marealle (I) appointed Yohana Lawuo to guide and accompany with other porters to lead Hans Meyer who was accompanied by an Austrian expert Mountain climber Ludering Purtscheller (the first west European) to reach Uhuru Peak (5895 m). In those days climbing the mountain was quite different to today.

The routes were not defined also climbing equipment were very poor (rudimentary at best) and wages were very low. During our grand father trek he only earned one Tanzania Shilling a day for a trip of seven days. Following this successful ascent, our grandfather remained in Marangu. He spent most of his remaining time leading foreign trekkers up the mountain and training new guides.

When he was 70 years old Yohana Lawuo led a last trip up the Mountain and made it. From 1889 to 1989 a one century ago at the first ascent of Mountain Kilimanjaro Yohana Kinyala Lawuo was the only person present who had been around at the time of the first ascent. Our beloved grandfather Yohana Kinyala Lawuo died in 1996 at his home place Marangu Ashira at the age of 125 years old.


During his lifetime Yohana Lawuo was re-warded some gift from friends as well as organizations:

1: (O.B.E) Order of the British Empire for saved the life of one climber on mountain; sorry to say the medal was stolen by thieves.

2: Gift of Book from German Ambassadors, in 1989 (written Mzee Yohana Lawuo………in grateful remembrance of your good guide man ship when leading the famous scholar Professor Hans Meyer to the top of Mountain Kilimanjaro 100 years ago).

This day 6 th October 1989


Uristed Helffler Ambassador.

3: A trophy which was handed over to Yohana Lawuo as climber of Mount Kilimanjaro of the ‘’century” sponsored and presented by Tanzania Breweries ltd, October 1989.

4: A memorable House, Thanks for the Tanzania National Parks as a reward for Yohana Lawuo upon the completion of 100 years, since he guided the first climb to ascend Mountain Kilimanjaro (1889-1989) the house was handed over on March 30, 1992.