By Philip Etyang
The sudden death of East Africa’s literary giant Francis David Imbuga last night has sent shock waves to the literary fraternity at Kenyatta University.
Prof Imbuga was pronounced dead at Kenyatta University’s Health Unit during the early hours of Monday morning.
The doctor on duty at the facility informed the Standard that Professor Imbuga suffered a stroke and was rushed to the facility at about 12am and was not breathing.
They were unsuccessful in trying to resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead at 12:10am. This morning a somber mood engulfed the Literature Department at Kenyatta University as word went round of the untimely death of the renowned literature professor.
Dr Kisa Amateshe, a Senior Lecturer at the Literature Department and a colleague to the Late Professor Imbuga, termed the death as “shocking,”
He says: “Professor Imbuga was a great artist, a generous man, cheerful and down to earth. He has left very many orphans as he took care of both his biological and none biological children.”
Another Professor Martin from the School of Economics at the same institution recounts with nostalgia their youth days with Professor Imbuga. “Imbuga was an ardent supporter of AFC Football Club and we would use his vehicle which he had christened Paulina or my Peugeot 504 to go to the stadium and cheer our team.”
Dr Mbugua wa Mungai, the Chairman of the Literature Department at Kenyatta University described Imbuga’s death as a “personal loss” to him.
“I am still in shock after learning of the death of Professor Imbuga. He taught me the value of laughter and how it can make people learn,” he says.
Dr Mbugua reveals that it is Professor Imbuga who supervised his M.A research at Kenyatta University.
Professor Imbuga has published several plays including Betrayal in the City 1976, The Successor 1979, Man of Kafira 1984, Aminata 1988, and The Return of Mgofu 2011. He has also authored two novels, Shrine of Tears, 1993 and Miracle of Remera 2005.
His play Aminata has been used as a Secondary school set book. His other play, Betrayal in the city has been selected by KIE as a set book for the KCSE English paper one.
Until his death, Prof Imbuga diligently served Kenyatta University in various capacities including as Chairman of the Literature Department between 1985 and 1988, Dean Faculty of Arts between and finally as Director of Quality Assurance.
The body is now lying at the Lee Funeral Home.