28-04-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
In the year (now 14 months) that has taken away so many loved ones and, for us Italians in Kenya, so many 'great old men' who made the history of our presence in this country and loved it so much as to remain indelibly attached to it, we say goodbye with great sorrow but with the frank and ironic smile with which a historic Malindino used to greet everyone.
Mario Donadel passed away at the age of 85 in Conegliano, Italy. However, he had already beaten the Covid-19, but a series of age-related problems and a fall from which he never fully recovered forced him to surrender.
It is difficult for those who have lived in the Italian 'colony' on the shores of the Indian Ocean, especially in the golden years at the end of the last century, not to have met at least once his round face and his lively and intelligent eyes, his wit as a Veneto d.o.c. and above all his desire to be in company and have fun. Mario was one of the entertainers at the Malindi Golf & Country Club and of many evenings in the restaurants and at the casino, where for years his nephew Franco worked as maitre d'.
Donadel arrived in Kenya in 1976 and for years alternated between relaxing in his villa in Malindi and going on safari, which he was passionate about, around Kenya.
"I don't know if I've caught the African sickness, but I'm always well here,' he told me when he wanted an autograph of a book of mine about the strange disease that affects so many of his countrymen and has a thousand shades. His shades of Kenya were perhaps even more than the famous fifty and it was pleasant to listen to him, especially in the company of a good dinner and a glass of wine. In 40 years and more of Kenya, he made many of his fellow countrymen and friends fall in love with Malindi and its environs, and he always knew how to tell the story with measure, irony and without ever going over the top. Generous with everyone, he was also one of the supporters of Malindikenya.net in our difficult times, such as the current one.
Those like him are characters of a Malindi that no longer exists, and unfortunately, as life teaches us, they too say goodbye leaving us memories, anecdotes and images that are part of a truly unforgettable experience.
A grievous mourning envelops the Italian community in Malindi, he has left us one of the deans of the "Italian colony".
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