The Banda traces its origins from Kaptagat, near Eldoret, where Mr Jim Chitty ran Kaptagat Preparatory School with 170 children from 1956.
In 1966, the Dutch Government offered to purchase the school’s property and others around it to build a farmer’s training center. After searching for a suitable place to relocate the school, Chitty settled on the current location, which was formerly occupied by the British Army in 1942 and later, The Banda Hotel.
The Banda Hotel was built of mud and wattle and roofed with thatch. In the Swahili, Indian and Malayan cultures, ‘banda’ refers to a simple thatched building. So what would Chitty call his school located in the former Banda Hotel? There was one clear answer – The Banda School, of course!
Enormous effort went into putting up the school’s infrastructure whilst peacefully co-existing with the wildlife. In Jim Chitty’s words, “It was not uncommon to see giraffes grazing off the bushes near the pepper tree, families of warthogs taking their evening stroll and lions gazing curiously where children now wait for the bus.”
Classrooms were put up. The shoulder high grass was cut even as the workers, mostly women, shrieked every time they discovered one puff adder after another. Playing fields were levelled and the swimming pool hole was excavated. Little by little the preparatory school came together and learning began.
The Banda School officially opened its doors to twenty-four children, eight teaching staff and a Headmaster in September 1966. Over the next few years, it quickly became regarded as one of the best international schools in Kenya and one of the largest IAPS schools in the world outside the United Kingdom.