Marriage & Detention

Antonio Rudolfo Jose Pio Gama Pinto was born on 31 March 1927.

31 March 1927 - 24 February 1965

Marriage & Detention

9 January 1954 – Pio Gama Pinto married Emma Christine Dias of Goa who was educated in India.

9 January 1954 – Pio Gama Pinto married Emma Christine Dias of Goa who was educated in India. Emma Gama Pinto recalled: ‘We had little finances. Pio sadly confessed that the substantial cheque given by her father as a wedding gift had been spent on a printing press which he wanted to use as a voice of the people.’ The press was lost when Pinto was arrested.

By 1950, Pinto and Apa Pant, India’s High Commissioner to Kenya, were working closely together. It was the only diplomatic embassy then in Kenya which supported Kenya’s freedom struggle; only India and Ethiopia provided arms to the Freedom Fighters.

Following Operation Anvil, April 1954 – Pinto helped to set up the Mau Mau War Council City HQ in Mathare and supplied a cache of arms for 1500 city youths who joined the Mau Mau/ Kenya Land & Freedom Army. Ambu Patel ran a press there for the Mau Mau and with Pinto they helped to produce the Mau Mau organ The High Command.

Just five months after his marriage, Pinto was detained and spent the next four years in Takwa Special Detention Camp on Manda Island. Pinto’s father died. His request to meet with his son one last time was denied and Pinto was deeply affected.

Ramogi Achieng Oneko, one of the Kapenguria Six, was also detained on Manda Island and gave some insights: ‘Being an Asian Pinto was given a special ration and whatever he received from home, he shared with us. To stop him from quickly giving away everything I elected to be “treasurer” for the little amounts received … On the day of his release, we found he had no shoes because he had given his away to those who were released earlier. He tried on mine but decided not to take them saying, “you see Ramogi, no one will notice my bare feet whereas you would shock so many if you were released without shoes”. One of our comrades stitched shirts and trousers for us, entirely by hand. Pio wore these even after he was released until they fell apart. With a few of us he organized a network to counter the colonial propaganda aimed at demoralizing the prisoners.’

1958-9, Pinto was moved to restriction in Kabarnet and released in 1959, Emma joined him there. He also met up with an old friend, Senior Chief Koinange. After 1945 the Chief had begun to organize an army of resistance in his Kiambaa area and had attended the 1950 court case which sent Makhan Singh into detention. Just prior to his detention, Pinto had secretly brought Apa Pant to Kiambaa late one night and Senior Chief Koinange and 12 other Elders had inducted Pant as a Kikuyu Elder.  Koinange was detained at Marsabit 1953-9. The 90-year-old Chief was ailing, he was released and died in December 1960.