|Chief's son is Grenadier Guards' first black officer
25th January 2007
A Nigerian chief's son has made history by becoming the first black officer in the Grenadier Guards.
Second Lieutenant Folarin Adeyemi Olatokunbo Olugbemiga Kuku, who trained with Prince William at Sandhurst, said he was proud to have joined the Queen's personal bodyguard and his race had never been an issue.
The 24-year-old Harrow-educated soldier said his mother Rita, who is a chief in his native Nigeria, was very supportive of his decision to join the Army.
He is not only the first black officer in the 350-year-old Grenadier regiment, but the only black officer in the entire Guards division, which includes the Scots, Irish, Welsh and Coldstream Guards.
"As far as the guardsmen are concerned, my colour doesn't matter - but my rank garners respect. It would be nice to be a general one day," he told The Sun.
"At the end of the day, I'm Second Lieutenant Kuku, Grenadier Guards - not Second Lieutenant Kuku, and by the way he's black."
Lt Kuku is currently undergoing infantry training on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, with his unit set to be deployed to Afghanistan in the near future.
The lieutenant, who has 15 bothers and sisters, said his mother worried about him, but knew he was well-trained.
"I am nervous about going to Afghanistan because you never really know what it's going to be like until you get there. That is why we train and prepare in such depth."
Lt Kuku said he was attracted to the Army after joining the cadets at Harrow, and was interviewed by a number of regiments, including the Grenadiers.
He said he had thought they were people he wanted to work with and he believed the Army had greater ideals than material gain.