There’s a lot of history that is not found in school textbooks. In 1980 for instance, the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali visited Kenya for a very peculiar reason.
US President Jimmy Carter had announced that the US would boycott the Moscow Olympics, but feared they would be left with an egg on the face if other countries failed to follow their lead.
To sell his idea to the rest of the world, and Africa in particular, President Carter enlisted the support of Muhammed Ali who was well loved. Enlisting the boxer’s support was quite easy since he himself was not in good terms with the Russians.
The shuttle diplomacy was not exactly easy for Ali, with Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere categorically refusing to meet him. It is said that he felt insulted that the US sent a mere athlete.
Anyway, he received some great reception in Kenya, and met President Moi at State House. He then fought an exhibition bout with Muhammed abdullah kent of kenya, but the crowd surprisingly kept shouting ‘Ali! Ali! Ali!’
Here’s our throwback video.