Eminent professor remembered for contribution to equality through sign language

November 2, 2017 1:48 pm
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President Kenyatta praised Professor Okombo’s contribution to the development of sign language, which, he said, had helped ensure equity between Kenyans/COURTESY

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – Renowned University of Nairobi linguistics professor Okombo Okoth passed away on Wednesday while undergoing treatment at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

The news was broken to the staff of UoN by Peter Wasamba who is the Dean, Faculty of Arts.

“Dear colleagues, we are sad to inform you that Prof Okoth left us today to be with his maker. Our hearts go out to his family, students, colleagues and friends…” read the message sent to UoN staff.

He is survived by a wife and three children.

Generally regarded as the father of sign language studies in Africa, Okoth was born on November 8, 1950, in Rusinga Island, Homa Bay County.

Okoth was a student of Mbita Secondary school where he sat for his East African Certificate of Education and scored a first division.

He later scored First Class Honours in 1977 when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Linguistics.

He has numerous academic publications under his name and was considered a thought leader.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is among those who’ve mourned the passing of the eminent academic describing him as one of Kenya’s most distinguished scholars and noting that the Professor’s productivity had earned him the respect of his peers at home and abroad.

“In linguistics and communication studies, he cut a niche for himself as a true patriot who ensured the growth of nationhood through his profession,” said President Kenyatta.

“I am deeply saddened his death”, the President added.

The President sent a message of condolence to the family, saying his thoughts and prayers were with them in this moment of grief.

Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen also mourned him and described his death as a big blow to the world of academia.

 

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