Friends And Family Eulogize Prof Mugo Micere Githae Who Died Of Cancer

Kenyans of all walks of life joined the family, relatives, friends, and associates of renowned Kenyan author, scholar and human rights crusader Prof Mugo Micere Githae in eulogizing the literature professor who died at a US hospital of cancer.

Micere Mugo was professor Emeritus of Literature at Syracuse University in the US, where she spent the last part of her active academic career in the Department of African American Studies. A Kenyan who spoke to The Weekly Vision on the phone from the US said the country had suffered a huge blow in the literature circle losing one of the best literary scholar, poet and artist who wrote plays, poems and essays. She popularized the term “orature”, which combined literary art with oral performance. In almost every lecture Prof. Mugo gave, she included orature, which entailed performing one of her poems and inviting the audience to repeat the refrain that was part of the poem.

 Prof. Mugo became the first woman to become dean when she was elected by the faculty of the University of Nairobi’s School of Arts, after a spirited campaign of herself and her colleagues in an environment where women were at the time not expected to take any leadership roles. She was arrested for her political views and eventually fled into exile with her two daughters, initially moving to Zimbabwe, where she was given citizenship then eventually founding her way to the US where she taught for the rest of her life.

The play which she co-wrote with Ngugi wa Thiong’o memorialized not only Dedan Kimathi but all the Kenyan people who struggled for freedom. She took her exile in stride by singing praise for the African peoples across the world. But most of all, she called for the celebration of humanity, or “Utu,” where boundaries and nationalities became secondary to being human. 

In 2015, during one of her regular visits to Kenya, she gave a lecture in which she declared that “I extend my home to any human being of any origin who looks in my eye and sees themselves!”

The poet and civil rights icon will for long be remembered as an intellectual giant who spoke “directly to the hearts of her audience even at her own risk championing popular causes boldly at a time when most women were stuck in the stereotype tradition of submissive housewives, she will indeed be greatly missed. 

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