Chairman | East African Publishers


The history of the printed word in Kenya may be over four centuries old. It could be traced back to the Omani Arabs who ruled the Kenya Coast, on and off, before the coming of Vasco da Gama in 1498 to as late as 1867. They traded in gold, ivory, and slaves, making regular caravans into the interior in search of these commodities. The Portuguese overthrew the Omanis in 1505 and were themselves later overthrown by European powers:

Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and others. The ‘Scramble for Africa’, in reality, was between 1881-1914. European explorers, missionaries, settlers, and colonizers, in that order, started arriving  at  the  Kenya  Coast  from  the the second part of the 19th century.

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Columbia University, USA, and we are together exploring the possibility of exploiting the audial and phonetic aspects of Africa languages to enable them to play a greater role and yet bypass the written form. If this experiment succeeds, it will provide a bridge between the oral and written forms of African literature. I served, un-interrupted as Chairman of the Kenya Publishers Association for 10 years between the period  1982-1992, at the most tumultuous period of this Nation and the association’s history. It was fraught with all sorts of risks, which I managed to navigate and still remain in the ‘good’  books of my publishing colleagues and,  more importantly, the government.

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