Celebrated Kenyan Author and Swahili Expert, Ken Walibora, Has Died
Tributes are pouring our for "Kenya's most prolific author," who passionately advocated for the use of Swahili in schools.
Celebrated Kenyan author, linguist, and journalist Ken Walibora died in Nairobi on Friday, after being struck by a matatu. He was 56 years old.
According to The East African, Walibora had been missing since Friday, which prompted his family to begin a search for him. His body was found at the Kenyatta National Hospital on Wednesday morning, reports BBC Africa.
His work was familiar and celebrated by many Kenyans. The prolific author and educator published over 40 works, and was a fierce advocate for the widespread use of the Swahili language in schools. His famous works include Kidagaa Kimemwozea and Siku Njema, which was adopted as part of the curriculum in schools across the country, and later translated to English.
He was an assistant professor in African languages at the University of Wisconsin and also taught at Riara University in Kenya, School of International Relations and Diplomacy. He held a PhD in Comparative Cultural Studies from Ohio State University, and was a Swahili broadcaster on the Kenyan entertainment channel NTV.
Speaking on Professor Walibora's legacy, President Uhuru Kenyatta described him as a "polished broadcaster and a prolific writer whose literary works will continue to inspire future generations."
Kenyans on social media are sharing fond memories and tributes about what the author's work meant to them. "Africa has again lost one of our intellectual giants," wrote journalist Abda Wone. Another commemorator referred to the scholar as "the man who made us fall in love with Swahili novels."
I read your set-book in high school and later worked with you at NMG. I will not forget your infectious calmness an… https://t.co/poDLnGw0HY— Dennis Okari (@Dennis Okari)1586934356.0
Professor Ken Walibora is & remains the most prolific author in Kenya. From Ndoto ya Amerika, Siku Njema, Nasikia S… https://t.co/eG1ckBIJr7— ENOCK BETT (@ENOCK BETT)1586912853.0
Thank you Ken Walibora for always advocating for Kiswahili speaking in schools. Having attended systems that punish… https://t.co/zgpOp5uUS9— Kimanzi®™ (@Kimanzi®™)1586937528.0
You know you are iconic when you inspire even the new rap generation. RIP to one of the greatest writers. Professo… https://t.co/YXkWyjerHQ— Shoba Gatimu (@Shoba Gatimu)1586947464.0
My condolences go out to the family of Kiswahili Author and distinguished Journalist Professor Ken Walibora. He pen… https://t.co/dKL3MyqAHD— Raila Odinga (@Raila Odinga)1586943391.0
Africa has again lost one of its intellectual Giants. Our friend, and colleague, Professor Ken Walibora, one of the… https://t.co/wRKb5QQADX— Abda Wone (@Abda Wone)1586950588.0
Rest in Peace Ken Walibora! Leading light in African literature! Such a tragic loss!— Yvonne Okwara-Matole (@Yvonne Okwara-Matole)1586935353.0