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Willy Mutunga’s messages to ancestors via the late Prof Micere Mugo

Former chief justice Willy Mutunga was among a handful of Kenyan leaders who mourned and eulogized the late Professor Micere Githae Mugo at the Taifa Hall in the University of Nairobi where the memorial was held today morning.

His eulogy was along the lines of the late Micere’s revolutionary spirit living on despite her death. Upon the end of his condolence message to the family of the deceased, he went on to read out messages he hoped the late Professor Micere would take to renowned ancestors in the afterlife, from and out of Kenya.

“When you meet Mekatilili wa Menza, tell her the British never left our country. When you meet Muthoni Nanjiru (and) Wangari Maathai… let them know the struggle for an ecologically safe Kenya and the planet continues. When you meet Nawal El Saadawi (Egyptian), when you meet your revolutionary sister (Ghanaian author Ama Ata) Aidoo, when you meet Dedan Kimathi and when you meet J. M and other revolutionaries at your ancestral abode, clench your fist and in unison with all the revolutionaries present, recite your poem which has been recited by the University of Nairobi’s travelling theatre, and shout, explode the cannibal named capitalism, pronounce a death sentence on the ogre named imperialism, necklace Zionism, fanaticism, classism, patriarchy and profit before people, inequality and shout again, aluta continua- victory is certain,” said Mr Mutunga.

The late Professor Micere died on June 30, 2023, at the age of 80, following a battle with cancer. At the time of her death, she was a Professor of Literature at the University of Syracuse in New York, United States of America. Prior to her American departure, she also worked at the University of Nairobi.

Her life was not without turmoil as she became a government target for writing plays with Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo that criticized the former Jomo Kenyatta and Moi regimes. While Mr Thiongo was imprisoned and eventually had to relocate permanently to America, Prof Micere was held in custody and tortured. According to Mr Thiongo’s memorial message at the same event, upon her release, she also left Kenya and they both went on to serve as Professors in various American universities.

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