USIU-Africa hosts tribute ceremony for renowned scholar, Prof. Micere Mugo

By Jemima Oloo

"I’m a child of the universe, I have lived in almost all continents" ~ Micere Githae Mugo.

How do you say goodbye to a child of the universe? By celebrating its wars and wins. The USIU-Africa community hosted a tribute to Prof. Micere Githae Mugo, a force in the literary world and an oratory champion.

In attendance of the tribute was our former Associate DVC Student Affairs, Prof. Wangari Mwai, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Presbyterian University, Ugandan poet and novelist Austin Bukenya, Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Martin Njoroge, Prof. Njoki Wamai, an International Relations lecturer, and other esteemed members of the faculty and student bodies.

Prof. Micere Mugo was an activist, poet, literary critic and Professor of literature in the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University. She was the first female Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nairobi.

Prof. Mwai celebrated the spirit of activism in Prof. Mugo that changed national course and challenged especially the tyrannical rule of President Daniel Moi that saw her exiled from the country in 1982. A scholar whose words impacted many through her prowess in language and especially using Kikuyu in her poetry and writing.

Writing can be a lifeline, especially when your existence has been denied, especially when you have been left on the margins, especially when your life and process of growth have been subjected to attempts at strangulation- Prof. Micere Mugo.

Micere Mugo in her poetry describes what it means to be a feminist “To be a feminist is to embrace my womanness, the womanness of all my mothers, all my sisters, it is to hug the female principle and the metaphors of life that decorate my being…To celebrate my birth as a girl to ululate that my gender is female, to make contact with my being. To have dialogue with my father and brother to invite their partnership fellow guerillas to match with them to war torn zones.

In her lifetime, Prof. Mugo talked about issues of racism, feminism and classism that earned her numerous awards such as Marcus Garvey Award, For Foundation for Research on African Orature and Human Rights, Royal African Society Lifetime Achievement Award in African Literature, United Women Africa Award for Visionary leadership and many others.

Apart from her courage, Prof. Mugo will be remembered for her Utu (kindness), as she was the embodiment of love and kindness. May her legacy of Utu never fade away.

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