Roger Whittaker, a white man from England who was born in 1936 in Kenya during that time under British colonial rule, has died at the age of 87.
Whittaker, who many know for the patriotic song “My Land Is Kenya” that he released in 1982 and made him famous, was said to have died a few days ago but the news of his death has gone viral and in the media early on Tuesday September 19.
But who exactly is Roger Whittaker apart from the hit that made him famous in Kenya?
Whittaker is best known for his version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” (1982), as well as his own songs “Durham Town (The Leavin’)” (1969) and “I Don’t Believe in If Anymore” (1970).
American fans are best known for his 1970 single “New World in the Morning” and his 1975 single “The Last Farewell”, which is his only single to hit the Billboard Hot 100 (entering the Top 20) and also hit No. 1 on the Adult Modern chart.
From the 1970s onwards he achieved his greatest success with many fans in Germany, singing in German.
Whittaker’s parents, Edward and Vi Whittaker, were from Staffordshire, England, where they owned a grocery store.
His father was injured in a motorcycle accident and the family moved to a farm near Thika, Kenya, because of the hot weather.
His grandfather sang in various clubs and his father played the violin. Roger learned to play the guitar.
After completing his primary education, Whittaker continued his studies at the Prince of Wales School (now Nairobi School). After completing his high school education, he was called up for national service and spent two years in the Kenyan Army fighting the Mau Mau in the Aberdare Forest.
In 1956 he was fired and decided on a career in medicine. He joined the University of Cape Town in South Africa. However, he left after 18 months and joined the public service education department as a teacher, following in his mother’s footsteps.
In March 2006, Whittaker announced on his website that the 2007 German tour would be his last, and that he would limit future performances to “occasional concerts”.
Now more fluent in German, he was seen singing and interviewed in German on Danish television in November 2008. In a 2014 interview, Whittaker reiterated that he had retired from touring in 2013, but he had written 18 new songs for the album. and said “I still sing very well”
During his career, Whittaker earned more than 250 silver, gold, and platinum awards. He was part of the successful British team that won the annual Knokke Music Festival in Belgium, and won the Press Award as the headliner of the festival.
He was awarded the ‘Gold Badge Award’, from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) in 1988 and received the “Golden Tuning Fork” (Goldene Stimmgabel in Germany) in 1986, based on record sales and Votes TV viewers.