Skip to content ↓

View entry

Back to search results

Name: RIBEIRO, Rosendo Ayres da Piadado OBE (Dr.)

image of individualimage of individualimage of individualimage of individual

Birth Date: 17.2.1870 Goa

Death Date: 2 Feb 1951 Nairobi

Nationality: Portuguese

First Date: 1898

Profession: Medical practitioner

Area: Nairobi

Married: 1908 Margarida Candida Lourenço d.4 Nov 1966 Nairobi

Children: Angela Wenefrida; André; Fausta Ester Lourenço; Dr. Aires Lourenço; Dr. Renee 1911- 985 air accident, Government Pathologist); two others

Book Reference: HBEA, Binks, Oriental, Hut, North, Drumkey, Advertiser, Nicholls, EAHB 1904, Barnes, Leader14, Gazette

General Information:

Binks - 1905 - in charge of the free distribution of seeds to farmers. In the course of conversation, I remarked that if I had a camera I would take some pictures .... "I'll lend you one" he answered. With the borrowed camera - it was a beauty, a full plate - and a packet of Ilford plates from Dr. Ribeiro's shop, the dark slides loaded in a very dark back-store of Tommy Logg's [Wood's].
Oriental - He has been a member of the Municipal Council and Ukamba Licensing board. Was appointed Vice Consul for Portugal in 1914 and held this position till 1925.
North - Resident at Mombasa for a year & then moved to Nairobi. First private medical practitioner in Nairobi 26/5/1899; Land Grant applications 1/7/1902 & 5/12/1903 Nairobi; Non-Official Member of the Nairobi Township Committee Jan 1905
Drumkey 1909 - Medical Practitioner, Nairobi - R., L.M. & S. Ribeiro
Web - Goacom Biography Series - By John J. D'Souza - Following the arrival of the railway in 1897, Nairobi had soon grown into a town with muddy streets and ramshackle wood and sheet-metal buildings built on stone plinths to ward off termites. …..Dr Rosendo Ayres Ribeiro appears on this scene in Nairobi, February 1900, as the first private medical doctor. For 6 months he and his assistant, Mr C. Pinto, shared a tent as home and practice. In the evenings by candlelight they made up prescriptions of his invention, including a special malarial cure which was patented and eventually sold to an international company. Later, when the Indian Bazaar expanded, he built his surgery from the packing cases used for shipping his drug supplies from England. It was Dr. Ribeiro who, in 1902, had diagnosed bubonic plague in two Somali patients and reported it. The Medical Officer of Health, with no experience of tropical diseases, panicked at the news, ordered the Indian Bazaar evacuated and burnt to the ground.
Dr. Ribeiro's surgery went up in flames with the rest. The government in recognition for his services gave him a concession of 16 acres of land in the township, part of which he was able to sell to Julios Campos, another Goan Pioneer. A street, Campos Ribeiro Avenue was named after them. In Nairobi the automobile was yet to come into its own then. Horses were still relied upon to get around town, but they suffered from an equine fever in the hot tropical climate, which reduced their life span considerably. It was felt that the thousands of zebras that populated the grasslands around Nairobi should be trained to replace horses. Two schools of thought emerged on this subject. The first were of the opinion that the animals were stupid and untrainable. The second took the side of the zebras. They concluded that the zebra species had already done enough for human kind ….. They gave aesthetic appeal to the many zoos over the world, made street crossings safe for children, and had their skins crafted into numerous home furnishings and wall hangings. There was no need for zebras to go further, and make asses of themselves!
An exception seems to have been made for Dr. Ribeiro. He managed to train a zebra, and ride him around town for house calls. As a founder member of the Goan Institute, he rode his zebra right up to the verandah of the club and hitched it to the front post. A photo of Dr. Ribeiro on his famous zebra is included in the 1950 Souvenir Brochure of Nairobi City to convince sceptics of this account! Dr. Ribeiro rendered sterling service to the community. He was known to personally attend to even the most minor ailments of his patients ….. Like removing a jigger from one's foot: a job which could easily be done by his assistants.
In the early thirties, when the community faced a problem in finding adequate schools for its children, he made his premises available for use as classrooms. He made a large donation to the institution which later became the "Dr. Ribeiro Goan School, Nairobi"…. In the time following WWII, when only a few in the community could afford cars, Dr. Ribeiro now quite aged, was chauffered around in the newest American limousine of the day. It was quite a sight to see him arrive with his wife for high mass at St. Francis Xavier Church. The limo drove up to the front steps of the church, the doors opened for the doctor, impeccably dressed in morning suit and his distinctive homburg hat, to emerge, accompanied by Mrs Ribeiro, wearing a fox fur stole. The parish priest and mass servers were at the church doors to greet him, and then only could the mass commence.
Dr. Ribeiro gave a sense of style to colonial life in Kenya. He is no doubt remembered even today when alumni of the school which once carried his name gather for reunions, or write down the school name on job applications.
Advertiser - 25/6/1909 - Advert - Try! Dr. Ribeiro's Anti Malarial Specific Pills - R. Ayres & Co., Chemists & Druggists, Nairobi
Nicholls - the hospitals were firmly racially segregated. This was difficult for Dr Rozendo Ayres Ribeiro, a Goan medical doctor resident in the EAP since 1899, who sometimes treated whites in his surgery and pharmacy in Victoria Street. His anti-malaria tablets, made to his own formula, were moreover much sought after by the settlers, though he was never accepted socially by them.
EAHB 1904 - Nairobi Residents, Merchants - Ribeiro, Dr. R. - Medical Practitioner, Victoria Street
Barnes - Nairobi City Park Cemetery - Dr Rosendo Ayres Ribeiro, died 2 Feb 1951 aged 80 AND Margarida Courenco [sic] Ribeiro, died 4 Nov 1966 aged 84
Gazette - 15/1/1906 - Member of Nairobi Township Committee - 1906 - R. Ribeiro
HBEA 1912 - Member of Nairobi Municipal Committee. Physician & surgeon arrived in BEA in May 1899. It is put to his credit that he discovered the first outbreak of bubonic plague in Nairobi in 1902
Gazette 20 Mar 1951 probate
Gazette 29 Nov 1966 wife's probate

Back to search results