What you need to know:
- He was a hero, trendsetter and daredevil speed merchant. Joginder first entered the Safari in 1959 and in 1965 he captured the imagination of an entire nation by winning the East African Safari by the largest margin ever of one hour 40 minutes.
Kipchoge Keino, Joe Kadenge and Joginder Singh are arguably the first Kenyan-bred heroes in sports.
The first two evolved with time, Kip reaching the world stage at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, and Kadenge displaying his ball dribbling prowess across East Africa through the 1970s in the Gossage Cup that became the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup. You either ran like Kip or juggled a football like Kadenge.
But for the “Safo” lovers, a dream of every boy, nobody could drive a car like Joginder Singh aka “Simba ya Kenya”.
He was a hero, trendsetter and daredevil speed merchant. Joginder first entered the Safari in 1959 and in 1965 he captured the imagination of an entire nation by winning the East African Safari by the largest margin ever of one hour 40 minutes.
He started in car number one and returned to Nairobi first in a Volvo PV544.
This car rest majestically in the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Joginder, became a household name, a hero who broke colour and racial barriers, and a people's champion until 1980 when he retired still in the wheel of a factory Mercedes Benz.
His participation that year was expected to excite Hollywood which was contemplating doing a movie title “Toughest Rally in the World” and got Parker Stephen, an American movie star as a co-driver.
Joginder took part in 22 Safari rallies and finished in all apart from three.
The lion followed his 1965 Safari Rally success with sweet victories in 1974 and 76, driving Mitsubishi Colt Lancer models navigated by David Doig.
He was an institution by then not only in East Africa and Europe but also in the Indian sub-continent. He competed in eight international rally championships for Ford, Mercedes, Lancer, Datsun and Volvo.
His 1965 victory, navigated by his brother Jaswant Singh, also ushered in a new era of small businesses advertising on the car which was mistakenly branded in Kenyan ordinary brands.
For Volvo, Joginder was the biggest thing to have ever happened to the local dealer who still imports Volvo cars to this day. The car had done 42,000 miles on the odometer.