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Your beauty spread across Alliance schools – Ngugi wa Thiongo mourns Prof Micere Mugo

The memorial service for the late Professor Micere G Mugo was held today, August 8, 2023, at the University of Nairobi’s Taifa Hall. Among those who memorialized her was American-based Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

In a recorded video aired during the memorial event, Mr Thiongo hailed the late Micere as a fallen star who is now among the stars.

“Micere Mugo, the beauty of mind, body, and soul. I knew of her before I met her. She was at Alliance Girld and I at Alliance Boys. I was a year ahead of her. Her beauty had somehow spread across the valley between the two schools.

Later, we would meet at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where both of us were students of English and we ended up as Editors of Penpoint, the department’s literary magazine.

Little did I know that our time together at Makerere was only a dress rehearsal for our time as colleagues in the newly born literary department at the University of Nairobi.

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It was not only the world in the department. In some ways, it was the best of times for both of us. But the highlight was our collaboration in the writing of the play ‘The Trial of Dedan Kimathi’. It was performed in Nairobi and Nigeria in 1977,” Ngugi said in his tribute.

He went on to narrate how the play plunged them into trouble with the political powers that be.

“Theatre would be the beginning of our troubles both with (former presidents) Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi governments. Barely a year after the play, I was sent to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. Micere Mugo was thrown into police cells for torture.

By 1982, both of us were in exile in different parts of the world but we ended up as professors in American universities. I’ll always remember her. She was a unique combination of beauty of body, mind and soul. She put that beauty to the service of the empowerment of the working people of Africa and the world,” said Professor Ngugi.

He went on to pray for her peace in eternity, promising her that her work will always bear fruit and generations to come will harvest from it.

“Micere, you are now a star among stars. Please send us your rays of light to light the way no matter the darkness, so we can read words from your soul. A human is human because of other humans,” he concluded.

The late Micere Mugo died on June 30, 2023, after battling cancer for years. She was a writer, poet and activist. At the time of her death at age 80, she was a Professor of Literature at Syracuse University in New York, United States of America.

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