A Family Legacy

With notable family members such as the country’s first Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. D. S. Senanayake, his brother F.R Senanayake, who fought hard for peaceful independence and his son, Dudley Senanayake who would uphold his father’s legacy and continue to be elected as Prime Minister four times.

To more recent times R G Senanayake with the addition of both Rukman Senanayake and Vasantha Senanayake, strong candidates and revered leaders, the “Senanayake” name continues to forge ahead within the political sphere of Sri Lanka.


Mudaliyar Don Spater Senanayake (1847–1907)

The father of the great D. S. Senanayake, Don Spater was a reputed businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist known for his sharp business acumen and visionary thinking. Born in the village of Bothale and hailing from a family of wealthy land owners, his ambition for economic development led him to recognize the value of graphite mining, at a time when Sri Lanka’s produce was considered far superior to any other country.

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D.C. Senanayake (1878 – 1931)

The eldest son of Mudliyar Don Spater Senanayake, DC was educated at St. Thomas’ College. He looked after the family business interests in Colombo and was affectionately referred to as ‘Kolomba John’ by his father.

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F.R. Senanayake (1882 – 1926)

Frederick Richard was a scholar who excelled at all academic submissions, graduating at the top of his class at Downing College, Cambridge University. Despite his keen eye for politics and eloquent personality that made him the forerunner for a political career, he was happy to patiently play his part as a powerful influence, launching his younger brother, D. S. into politics and supporting him in every way possible as D.S.’ biggest and most ardent fan.

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D.S. Senanayake (1884 – 1952)

“He was a man of great personal strength of character, yet of profound humanity and humility, unspoiled by the high distinctions he enjoyed. He belonged to the soil and all things of the soil. He loved all living things with a depth, which only those who belong to the soil can feel.” – Percy Spender, Former Australian Ambassador

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Sir John Kotelawala (1895 – 1980)

John Lionel Kotelawala was the 3rd Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1953 to 1956 and a notable politician who rendered his service to uphold the independence and development of the nation. He was initially acquainted with the family through the marriage of his aunt to F. R. Senanayake.

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R.G. Senanayake (1911 – 1970)

The eldest son of F. R. Senanayake, Richard Gotabhaya followed suit in his father’s footsteps as a Barrister-at-law, graduating from F.R.’s alma mater Downing College, Cambridge University. Entering politics in his early thirties, he continued his service to the nation for over a quarter of a century. Winning the General Election in 1952, he was elected Minister of Trade and Commerce and was re-elected in 1956. The greatest achievement during his tenure was the China-Ceylon Rice-Rubber Pact and the Tripartite Trade Agreement.

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Ivy Senanayake (1911 – 1984)

Ivy Senanayake was the daughter of D. C. Senanayake and Euphamia Dunuwille. She married Dr. Edmund Bulankulama, custodian of the Atamasthana and one of the very first Ceylonese medical practitioners to graduate from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
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Robert Senanayake (1913-1986)

Robert Parakrama was a remarkable man, whose life revolved around his family. He was the impetus behind Dudley’s political career, successfully maintaining the family business, in order to financially sustain his brother’s campaigns around the country.

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Ranjit Senanayake

Ranjit Parakrama was the son of Robert P. Senanayake and Swarna Neela Senanayake. He is the paternal grandson of the first Prime Minister of Ceylon, Rt. Hon. D. S. Senanayake and the maternal grandson of D. C. Senanayake.

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Suwanitha Senanayake

The grandniece of Rt. Hon. D.S. Senanayake, Suwanitha Nelun Senanayake is an entrepreneur, artist and social worker. She is currently the Chairperson of Freudenberg Shipping Agencies, a shipping conglomerate formed to handle the shipping aspects of its parent company, Freudenberg & Company.

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Rukman Senanayake (1948)

Rukman Senanayake is the grandson of D. S. Senanayake. His passion for politics was inculcated from a young age when he embarked on his political journey, following the sudden death of his Uncle, the former Prime Minister Hon. Dudley Senanayake.

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Devinda Senanayake

The firstborn of Robert Parakrama Senanayake and Swarna Neela Senanayake, Devinda inherited both Bothale Walauwa, which he has maintained in its pristine condition, and his grandfather’s love of wildlife and animals.

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Senaka Senanayake (1951)

Senaka is one of Sri Lanka’s premier artists. His work can only be described as prolific, focusing on the plight of Sri Lanka’s natural rainforests. He combines his passion for art with his love for nature and exerts them to reinforce awareness about the prevailing situation of the country’s natural habitats.

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Vasantha Senanayake (1973)

The great grandson of Rt. Hon. D.S. Senanayake, Vasantha Naresh Parakrama Senanayake is a politician and member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, representing the United National Party. He was appointed as State Minister of Foreign Affairs on 31st May, 2017 and was the State Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management from 2015-2017.

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