40-year-old Kenyan Chef, Maliha Mohammed, has been breaking Guinness World Records since 2019, yet her efforts have been hardly recognized or appreciated by Kenyans.
According to David Wang’oma, a digital influencer and a student at the University of Nairobi, it is time for Kenyans to honour fellow Kenyans who are flying the nation’s flag high internationally through such achievements as the Guinness World Records. David remembers watching the chef on Jeff Koinange Live back in 2019, when she had just broken a record by cooking 400 recipes for 75 hours nonstop.
“It will not be just a road with a name on it. It’s a symbol of what we can achieve when we honour talent and dedication beyond politics. Our younger generations need to see that they don’t have to walk the path of politicians to be celebrated this way.”David Wang’oma
In this particular interview with Jeff Koinange, the Kenyan chef says she drew her inspiration to break records from her mother who died from a blood clot. She speaks about the mental turmoil that she had to go through, even having hallucinations in the middle of her cooking marathon.
David Wang’oma highlights that even though Chef Maliha’s achievements may be mistaken for ‘small’ and ‘just cooking’, there is a lot of preparation and mental strength that goes into breaking the records as the chef has.
David has filed a petition to ask Kenyans to rally behind him and support the naming of a road or street in Mombasa County after the chef whom he describes as a culinary icon. The petition, filed on May 23, highlights Chef Maliha’s success and urges Kenyans to rally behind the idea of naming a road after her.
The petitioner says the motivation behind the petition is to inspire young Kenyans to go beyond their limits like Chef Maliha. He believes that this is the best way to etch the chef’s name into history.
“Years will come, years will go, but the road with her name will always be there.”David Says.
Chef Maliha is a self-taught chef, she was born and raised in Kibokoni, Mombasa despite her parents having roots from Uganda, Tanzania and Iran. Despite being self-taught, Chef Maliha believes that cooking is her calling. She first came to the public domain through Royco Fuata Fleva, a cooking competition held in 2014 by Royco.
She broke her first Guinness World Record in 2019 when she cooked for 75 hours straight and was conferred respect for the longest hours spent cooking. Ms. Mohamed worked with a 40-person crew nonstop for 75 hours in the kitchen. In the competition, she cooked 400 meals from national and international cuisines.
Earlier this year, she applied to break two cooking world records; ‘Longest Cooking by an Individual Marathon’ and ‘Home Kitchen Cooking Marathon.’ On August 10, she broke the Home Cooking Marathon by cooking for 95 hours, the record is however, still pending approval by The Guinness World Records.
Her quest to break the ‘Longest Cooking by an Individual Marathon’ record, currently held by Nigerian Chef Hilda Effiong Bassey also known as Hilda Baci was slated for October 11. According to David, social media will play a big role in pushing for Kenyans to support the unrelenting chef and for her name to be honoured by naming a street in Mombasa County after her.
In Kenya, most of the roads have been named after prominent figures in politics or major towns and cultures. David says, “It will not be just a road with a name on it. It’s a symbol of what we can achieve when we honour talent and dedication beyond politics. Our younger generations need to see that they don’t have to walk the path of politicians to be celebrated this way.”
There have been several movements calling for the naming of roads and streets after Kenyans in the Guinness Book of World Records but most of them didn’t gain much traction. Musician Breeder LW previously called for the naming of a road after Eliud Kipchoge, whose achievements in the tracks have landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records.
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The petition filed by David Wang’oma has so far gained more than 700 signatures and even though it has been addressed to the Mombasa County Government, he says that there has been no response from the county.
He hopes that once the petition gains more supporters, the issues highlighted will be addressed and the record-breaking chef will eventually get a road in Mombasa named after her.