George Thomas N. Griffiths also known as Makonnen was born in the year 1909 in Nairobi. He was a Guyanese born, Pan African financier and activist.
His paternal grandfather was reputedly born in Tigre, Ethiopia. Makonnen became a founder member of the first attempt to form a Pan African Federation in mid 1936.
Thomas is credited as having played a key role in facilitating the crucial 5th Pan African Congress, as he played host to the likes of Nkrumah, William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois and Hastings Kamuzu Banda, as well as his bosom friend Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
The two were almost inseparable ever since they met in 1935 at a meeting in Trafalgar Square where the Ethiopian crisis organised by the International African Friends of Ethiopia (IAFE), was the main agenda.
In his prime, the vocal advocator for Africa's liberation from the colonial masters owned many restaurants and lodges in Manchester and shops on the exclusive London Oxford Street.
Due to their friendship with Mzee Jomo, Makonnen employed Mzee Jomo at one of his night clubs in Manchester.
When Kenya gained its independence from British rule and Mzee Jomo, who was now the president; he made a special appeal for his long time friend to be released by General Ankrah and flown to Kenya.
He arrived that same year and the president Jomo appointed him as the adviser in the Ministry of Tourism, granting him full citizenship in the year 1969.
After Kenyatta's departure from Europe and years later when his arrest was imminent, Makonnen was one questioned by the British MI-5 (intelligence agency) about his contacts with the Kenyan leader.
He was one of the last people to see Mzee Jomo before he left Britain to return to Kenya.
Makonnen died in Nairobi in 1983.
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