Former East African Safari Classic Rally chairman, Jaideep Singh Vohra – affectionately known as ‘Pinky’ – passed away during the 2017 running of our historic event. The rally continued to the chequered flag as a mark of respect. The August Mini Classic Safari Rally has been organised in his memory, with all entry fee proceeds going to charity.
JS was a true people person who touched countless thousands of souls through his personal and professional life. As the director of the Sarova Hotel Group and later chairman of the Kenyan Hotel Keepers’ Association, JS was widely credited as a visionary in East African tourism, bringing real energy to Kenya’s profile overseas. Early success in enticing international tourists to East Africa opened the door to a long and fruitful fellowship with the African Tourism and Travel Association. JS was one of the first members of the fledgling organisation and assisted in developing its global impact.
The chairman was a keen sportsman and a true motorsport devotee, eventually serving a term as chairman of the Kenyan Motor Sport Federation. His tenure was one of reformation and led to the FIA restoring technical assistance to the KMSF, bringing in Ksh6million for the upgrade of communication equipment. His leadership of the East African Safari Classic Rally alongside long-time friend, Raju Kishinani, was widely applauded for bringing new energy to the marathon concept.
Raju and Pinky were friends for over 40 years and were inseparable. Raju recalls first approaching his friend to join him in the rally business. “Pinky laughed and said: ‘Why me? You have a host of other friends who you could have approached.’ I said: ‘Pinky, it is because we are so alike in our thinking that it would be just fun and easy and we would have a great laugh.’ That is just how we were: fun and easy. We spoke every day to just chat and bounce ideas off each other: I truly last my other half and greatly miss his presence.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta was amongst the first to mourn Jaideep Singh Vohra. The President eulogised JS as a key player in promoting Kenya’s tourism, one of the country’s primary economic sectors. “At this moment of sorrow and grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the late Vohra’s family, relatives, friends,” said the President in his condolence message, also praying that God would give the Vohra family the strength and grace to bear the loss.
Mombasa Deputy Governor, Dr William Kingi, also joined in paying tribute to the legacy of JS Vohra. “JS Vohra’s efforts in promoting Mombasa as a world tourist destination and giving us the privilege to host this rally after such a long time of dormancy means a great deal. We have earned a lot economically and socially from his efforts and especially this rally, which has also opened up the interiors of our county to the world to explore the available investment opportunities. We shall surely miss him,” said the Deputy Governor.
JS Vohra was the beloved son of Mohinder and Swaran Vohra, and son in law of Amritlal Bhai and Ruxmani Ben. Loving husband to Atu and proud father of Saveer and Samman. Fondly cherished brother to Reena and Pami. Our heartfelt condolences remain with his family, colleagues and friends.