Reknown Kenyan Professor, Author with over 40 titles to his name and journalist Ken Walibora has died.
Walibora was knocked down by a 52-seater bus on Landhies Road last Friday, April 10-2020. A Mercedes-Benz car key and press card were found in his pockets when he was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital in critical condition where he passed on. His body was moved to the KNH morgue after passing on Wednesday, April 15. His family had reported him as missing since Friday.
Ken Walibora was born on January 6, 1964, at his parents’ home in Baraki, Bungoma. His family moved to Kitale and later Cherangany with the Trans Nzoia region later on shaping up the idea for his book Siku Njema.
Besides being an extraordinary author, Ken was also a lecturer in the US. He was a trained teacher by profession too. The Icon was a Swahili High School teacher between 1985 and 1986, later on, worked as a probation officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs between 1988 and 1996.
He joined Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) as a Swahili radio news anchor, news editor and translator in 1987.
His famous books include Siku Njema and Ndoto ya Amerika. “Siku Njema” Translated to English as Good day was the book that won accolades as a secondary school set book between 1997 and 2003. The novel was published in 1996 and saw Walibora become an instant household name in Swahili fiction. Written in the first person, the book deals with the life of a young man, Msanifu Kombo who is born in Tanga, Tanzania and who faces family hardships with his single mother, who is a talented singer of taarab. Being a child born out of wedlock does not make life easier for him as he is chided by his schoolmates in a culture that frowns upon illegitimate children.
Kidagaa Kimemwozea, another renowned book was also used as a set book in the year 2013.
Others include Machozi Yangu, Tumbo Lisiloshiba na Hadithi Nyingine
with Said A. Mohamed, Barack Obama: Ndiyo, Twaweza.Translation of Lila Luce’s Barack Obama: Yes,We can among many.
In 1999, Ken Walibora Joined Nation Media Group where he worked as an anchor for 6 years.
In 2005, he graduated as a teaching associate at the Ohio State University, US and became an associate professor, department of African Languages and Literature in the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US on August 24, 2009.
Walibora has won several academic Awards including University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School Summer salary award for 2012, University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School Summer salary award for 2010, The Ohio State University’s Presidential Fellowship Award of $18,000 monthly for 12 months (2008-2009), Edward J. Ray Travel Award for 2008 ($750), and Office of International Education (OIE) travel award for 2007 ($300
Ken had become one of the most prolific Kenyan authors. During an interview, Ken talked about the over-arching influence that his mother had on his life and creativity, Dr Walibora writes: “Jane ndiye aliyekuwa mwalimu wangu wa kwanza rasmi lakini kwangu mimi wa pili maana mama ndiye aliyekuwa mwalimu wangu wa kwanza (Officially, Jane was my first teacher but, in my view, she was the second because my mother was the first).”
While revisiting the issue later in the book, he says that all that was good, he learnt from his mother, and all that was not so worthy, he learnt on his own.