No, this Kenyan grandmother did not take the 2018 primary school exams

A Facebook post claiming that a 71-year-old Kenyan woman was among primary school students who undertook the 2018 national exams has been shared widely on social media. However, a reverse image search reveals the picture was in fact taken two years ago.

The post attracted more than 3000 reactions when shared on this Facebook group which has over 1.9 million followers according to CrowdTangle data.

The misleading post claimed that Tukongole undertook her primary school national exam this year aged 71 and scored an impressive 320 marks out of the possible 500 marks (equivalent to 64 percent).

Screenshot of Facebook post claiming that Loise Tukongole scored 320 marks in her 2018 national examsScreenshot of Facebook post claiming that Loise Tukongole scored 320 marks in her 2018 national exams

However, a reverse image search on Google and Yandex search engines revealed that the photograph was first published in 2016 and taken by photojournalist Joseph Kipsang, who works for the Standard newspaper.

Kipsang told AFP that he had spotted his old photograph going viral in recent days and was taken aback as he originally published Tukongole’s story two years ago when the grandmother of 15 undertook her national exams, aged 71.

“I have seen the photo circulating on social media and I think it is fake news because I am the one who did the story back in 2016,” Kipsang said.

Wilson Loliet, a former headteacher at Chepturu primary school in Baringo, confirmed to AFP that Tukongole had been a student there and had undertaken her national exams in 2016, but added she scored a less impressive 142 (or 28 percent).

“She was a midwife and a circumciser, but when she joined school she stopped performing female genital mutilation. Her desire was to venture in the field of medicine but after finishing her primary school education she did not have the money to continue with her education,” Loliet said.

Tukongole studied for nine years before finally sitting for her national exams.

“She is now able to translate the Bible at her church which was also one of her motivations to join school despite her age,”  Loliet added.

Mary Kulundu