Prof John S Akama’s The Gusii of Kenya launched at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi on Sunday March 26, 2017.
Kenya the nation was formed by the sheer force of the British imperialists when they grabbed this piece of land as their domain alongside other European <criminal nations> powers. It was a brutal exercise that brought together a bunch of people who had been living their lives and then found that they had new rulers and new borders to contend with. These people woke up to find that they now belonged to their former communities but had a new nationality; Kenyan. Some were able to cope better with the new state of affairs than others as did not so well.
One of these group of people with the new identity of Kenyan that have been able to not only survive but thrive were the Gusii also known as they Abagusii or the Kisii. This community of people to the west of what is called Kenya not far from Lake Victoria are the study of a new book called The Gusii of Kenya by Prof John S Akama. Prof Akama is also the vice chancellor of the Kisii University which is based in Kisii town.
The new book launched at the Sarova Panafric Hotel on Sunday evening with many from the Kisii community turning up to read the first book to describe their way of life.
The afternoon which was being emceed by Nsemia Publishers CEO Matunda Nyanchama the publishers of the book started with a performance by one of the biggest proponents of Kisii culture our there; Grandmaster Masese. The Grandmaster plays the Kisii lyre that is known as the Obokano has been making a living playing the instrument for the last few years. Even though the security people at the Sarova Panafric had messed up his bag, damn them, he was able to give an outstanding performance.
The performance was followed by speeches. They include speeches from Professors who supported the project in one way or another like Prof Sitandi and Prof Odhiambo Ndege. They were followed by the author then got to speak about this own book which has been written from Afrocentric perspective. It was a lengthy speech where he explained the reasoning for the book and how the community was able to cope with the rigours of the changes that happened in the landscape of what would eventually become called Kenya. You can see a few videos of his presentation below.
With his speech done and dusted, the guest of honour Kisii University Chancellor Prof Godfrey Muriuki made his remarks. He warned us that it was a sort of ambush but he still was able to give some pretty good ones. He started with the past. European societies came up with their philosophy of social Darwinism and their white man’s burden to civilise those who came from what was considered a barbaric way of life. A cultural war was waged and Africans were forced to embrace African society as opposed to their own. This meant that were large gaps of knowledge where the societies are concerned especially among those with smaller numbers. The work by Prof Akam encouraged younger scholars to fill in the gaps.
He lauded his colleague who had challenged other people who didn’t have as much responsibility as a university vice chancellor but still found the time to produce new knowledge. They didn’t have any excuse now if their even busier boss could find the time.
With the speeches and the note of thanks done and dusted the audience members could finally get to have their photos with the writer as well as their books autographed.