Ken Walibora: How Kenya’s ‘lord’ of Swahili composing roused me

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Hezekiel Gikambi

The Kenyan writer Ken Walibora who was covered a week ago deserted an age of fans who read his books in Swahili classes, including the BBC’s Basillioh Mutahi. Prof Walibora was eminent for advancing Swahili, the national language he utilized recorded as a hard copy his books.In 2018 he communicated worry that a few schools in Kenya had sees perusing: “This is an English-speaking zone”.He asked the service of instruction for what good reason it would permit understudies to be banished from talking in Swahili, when it was a national language.The writer said this was an indication of programming and neo-expansionism. You would not discover another nation that would pick an unknown dialect over the language of its kin, he said.

GETTYSwahili – a brisk guide50 to 100 million evaluated speakersArabichas loaned numerous words – including Swahili, Arabic for coastFourcountries talk it most: DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, UgandaAfrican Unionhas received it as one of six authority languagesWritten Swahiliused to utilize Arabic content before changing to Latin alphabetSource: Culture TripHis most noticeable book was his first novel Siku Njema which was later meant English as A Good Day. It was utilized as a set book in secondary schools around the nation for some years.Many Kenyans who read it in school have spoken about how the novel, a story of triumph over difficulty, helped them love Swahili writing – which is something Kenyans regularly discover hard to do. Our neighbors in Tanzania should be the most capable speakers of this language utilized as a most widely used language by around 100 million individuals across East Africa.Prolific writerProf Austin Bukenya, one of the spearheading African researchers of English and writing in East Africa, from Uganda, contended that Prof Walibora was the “lord” of Kenyan Swahili writing.

Who was Ken Walibora?

Conceived on 6 January 1965 as Kennedy Waliaula in Baraki, Bungoma area, in western Kenya

Later changed his character to Walibora, the last piece of his family name which signifies “better” in Swahili. He likewise abbreviated his first name to Ken

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Filled in as an educator and a post trial agent before he turned into a writer. He has additionally filled in as an educator of the Kiswahili language in the US and Kenya

Passed on 10 April after he was hit by a transport in downtown Nairobi, the police at first announced

He had been accounted for missing for five days when his body was found at the funeral home of Kenya’s fundamental referral emergency clinic, the Kenyatta National Hospital

The police’s crime office have since assumed control over examinations concerning his demise after a posthumous by the administration pathologist uncovered he had a blade twisted on the space between his thumb and the forefinger

Covered on 21 April at his home in western Kenya in a memorial service went to by not more than 15 individuals, because of the guidelines forced to stop the spread of coronavirus

His widow and two youngsters didn’t go to as they couldn’t leave the US, where they live, due to Covid-19 travel limitations

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Walibora family

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Just 15 individuals were permitted to go to his burial service with an end goal to forestall the spread of coronavirus

He was a productive essayist between 1996, when Siku Njema was distributed, and the day he kicked the bucket, he had more than 40 books to his name in differed types – books, short stories, plays and poetry.He has been depicted as a man who was continually composing, and composing hits. Indeed, even towards his unanticipated passing, he had at any rate one book that was about prepared, which is currently due to be distributed posthumously.Other than Prof Walibora’s presentation novel, he had another novel that was perused as a national set book for Kiswahili writing in schools, Kidagaa Kimemwozea.But it was that first book, Siku Njema, that truly charmed him to youthful perusers. I was one of them. I needed to turn into the author that he was, just as the anecdotal principle character who was practically similar to a job model.Aspirational story-tellingI recall perusing that book, with a spread outline of an outlined man investigating the separation, in only one night about 20 years back, on the day it was given in class as our secondary school writing text.In the two years that followed, we would investigate it in detail, considering the subjects, elaborate gadgets and all.But what resounded most with me was the optimistic part of his narrating, which nearly roused you to see the conceivable outcomes to improve in school, however throughout everyday life.

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Re-perusing Siku Njema helped me the amount to remember an effect Walibora had on my life

However, other than the analogies of expectation that I related to, I thought that it was a simple perused, with its distinctive symbolism and idyllic language.I related to the battles of the book’s primary character, Msanifu Kombo, an abuseed youngster who grew up without his folks, and who later took on a hazardous excursion from Tanzania to discover his dad in Kenya.In the book, Msanifu Kombo is a splendid understudy of the Swahili language, at one point taking the prize for a essay he composed for a school rivalry. His classmates moniker him Kongowea Mswahili, the name of the key character in his prize-winning essay.Like Mswahili, I came to adore Swahili in school, which roused me to compose a composition in Swahili of my own – which I have kept from that point forward. Furthermore, I drenched myself into learning a greater amount of the language, which helped me acquire top evaluations in the language for the remainder of my secondary school life. I was additionally nicknamed Kongowea Mswahili.Working with my heroLater throughout everyday life, our ways crossed at the Nation Media Group in Nairobi, where we both filled in as journalists.In a way, I was pleased to be working with a man, who in my high school years, was my saint. Despite the fact that we were the two columnists currently, considering him to be a saint never truly left, as he was this man who continued composing books – finding him appeared to be an unachievable objective. However I was frequently struck by the acknowledgment that his character was unique in relation to the individual I envisioned he was, numerous years sooner. He was a standard man who effortlessly initiated discussions with associates regardless of his fame.Looking back, that sentiment of needing to be an essayist like him has waited on, yet in the matter of a newsroom and working for various distributions, I never let him realize the amount he motivated me – something I presently lament.

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At the point when the declaration of Prof Walibora’s passing came, numerous Kenyans were stunned. Many paid tributes to a writer who they had known by and by, busy working, or however the different books he had composed. Douglas Mutua, an essayist and speaker in the US who was once Prof Walibora’s partner, recalled the writer as an individual who sustained ability. Mr Mutua told the BBC’s Peter Mwai that Prof Walibora cherished three things: Swahili, mankind and football. On Twitter, a Kenyan depicted Prof Walibora as Kenya’s William Shakespeare. It was an award I had never heard, which maybe he would not have needed, being an unobtrusive individual who was never quick to parade his begrudged position as an observed author.”There are individuals who merit recalling and who can be recollected, yet I’m not one of them, I’m not among them,” he wrote in first experience with his personal history Nasikia Sauti Ya Mama (I Hear My Mother’s Voice).”If by composing this [autobiography] I will have told a case of the best way to compose a self-portrayal, and not a model how to carry on with a real existence, at that point I will have accomplished my objective,” he included.

You may likewise be intrigued in…BBC Africa staff read separates from Binyavanga Wainaina’s popular sarcastic essay How to Write about Africa, in tribute to the late author.

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Media captionBinyavanga Wainaina: How to expound on Africa – a tribute

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