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HomeFEATURED ARTICLEUniversity Don Single Handedly Authors First Luhya Dictionary

University Don Single Handedly Authors First Luhya Dictionary

Prof Egara Kabaji launched the Dictionary in Kakamega together with five other books to celebrate his 60th birthday

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University professor, Egara Kabaji, has authored the first Luhya dictionary to help the current generation understand the language and the meaning of words. Prof Kabaji, who is also a lecturer at Masinde Muliro University, says it took him 10 years to identify words from the Maragoli dialect of the Luhya language, through research before compiling a 420-page L’logooli Dictionary.

He says he concluded his research on Maragoli dialect words and their translation into English in 2022. The work was published in 2023 by InterCEN Books Publishing Company. He says the dictionary might be the first in Luhya land, and is expected to stimulate other authors to produce dictionaries for other Luhya dialects such as Wanga, Bukusu, Kabras, Samia, Isukha and Marama to mention but six.

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Prof Kabaji launched the Dictionary at Wanda Gardens in Kakamega together with his five other new books as he celebrated his 60th birthday and decades of active writing. The Maragoli Dictionary is available at Prof. Francis Imbuga Memorial Library at Wanda Gardens, Ejinja Corner Kakamega.

He, at the same time, unveiled a literary award in honour of the late Prof. Francis Imbuga, popularly known for his play Betrayal in the City. Professor Francis Imbuga Prize for Literature will be an annual award with the prize to be determined by a committee that will be constituted as the call for the first entries will be rolled out in April or March 2024 and the Awards presented in December.

“The award will be presented every year from 2024 onwards because we have launched today and it is remembering the good work that Prof Francis Imbuga did when he was alive,” he disclosed.

The ‘Professor Francis Imbuga Prize for Literature’ would be the second award for writers in Kenya after the biannual Text Book Centre ‘Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature’ which is administered by the Kenya Publishers Association.

“I started narrating stories while I was a child, but entered into active writing while in secondary school. Up to now I have written over 43 books. What drives me is just appreciating God and using the talent given to me to educate and inform people through my writings,” he noted.

He says going forward, he will be writing one or two plays every year as he grooms other writers in Kakamega. A budding author, Barack Wandera, describes the don as a literary writer, linguist, scholar and literary activist.

Mr Wandera, who is also a publisher at InterCEN Books, says that Prof. Kabaji has had a meaningful contribution to the literary world and is setting the bar higher in old age.

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Prof Kabaji was shortlisted as the first runner-up for the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 2022 through his novel A Journey to becoming published by One Planet and Media Services. His recent book Mourning Glory has received positive feedback from readers across Kenya and the East and Central Africa Region.

Prof. Kabaji currently serves as the President of the Pan African Writers Association, which was created by the African Union (AU) with offices domiciled in Accra Ghana. Kabaji is the President of the Creative Writers of Kenya through the Creative Writers Association of Kenya(CWAK) and the founder and patron of Kakamega Book Club(KBC).

“Very few writers in our generation will write comfortably in three languages, as you can see here, Prof Kabaji has demonstrated that he can write in Maragoli, Kiswahili, and English,” noted Wandera.

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BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
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