A 27-year-old Democrat, Malcolm Kenyatta, has won in the US Midterm elections as the Pennsylvania State Representative of the 181st District in Philadelphia.
Kenyatta is the grandson of Muhammad Kenyatta, a civil rights leader, minister and politician who ran for mayor of Philadelphia in 1975.
In the early 70s, Muhammad changed his name from Donald Brooks Jackson in honour of Kenya’s first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.
The newly-elected Pennsylvania State Representative’s grandfather changed his name from Donald Brooks Jackson to Muhammad Kenyatta in the early 1970s to honour his perceived heroes; Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, and Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya.
Muhammad was a revered American professor and civil rights leader during his heydays. He died in 1988 due to ill health.
Ilhan Omar who has become the first Muslim women elected to U.S Congress ,on the other hand, is a former refugee who fled Somalia’s civil war and spent four years at Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya.
Born on October 4, 1981, Ms. Omar was the the youngest of seven siblings. Her mother died when the trailblazer was a young girl leaving her under the care of her father – a teacher trainer – and her grandfather; the then director of Somalia’s National Marine Transport.
At the start of the Somali civil war in 1991, Ms. Omar and her family fled to Dadaab Refugee Camp after which they emigrated to the United States in 1995 and settled in Virginia before moving to Minneapolis.
Kenyans online have begun expressing excitement at the wins of Ms. Omar and Mr. Kenyatta, despite their minor connection to the country.