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Prof Ndege’s love for research, teaching made him stand out

OPINION
By Agumba Ndaloh | July 18th 2021

Prof Peter Benedict Odhiambo Ndege. [Courtesy]

The late Prof Peter Benedict Odhiambo Ndege of Moi University who died on July 12, has left an irreparable loss to the academia. ‘Prof’ as we fondly called him was many things rolled into one.

He scaled many peaks in the academic edifice. Beginning as an assistant lecturer to a full professor of History, he laboured to promote knowledge. He has been in Moi University for 32 years.

As his student in university and later his colleague, I’ve been a witness to the many feats Prof has made. His classes were vibrant and stimulating. The teacher in him left students wishing for more. He did adequate research while planning his lectures, facilitated learning and went out of his way to carry all learners on board.

Using soft skills, he had one of the best class managerial practices I have witnessed. In my over 25 years of interaction with him, I never saw the Prof irked by anything. Laughter followed most words he uttered.

Prof Ndege mingled easily with the un-educated and the learned. He was never drunk with his title. Those he supervised at post-graduate level talked of a consummate supervisor.

He was there to supply the candidate with books and articles to make one’s research a walk in the park. He made research sound like a nursery school rhyme. Little wonder that at the time of his demise, he was the principal investigator in the research section learning at the African cluster centre in Moi University. ‘Prof’ was a prolific researcher whose works dominate numerous peer reviewed journals and books. Many universities within and without Africa identified the qualities “wuod Kabondo” possessed. They chose him to be their external examiner in History and related disciplines.

Although not paying in terms of monetary returns, ‘Prof’ did not turn down such appointments. His was service to humanity. Such level of sacrifice and high integrity is what Africa direly needs. I once asked him how he balanced teaching, research, extension and other responsibilities. He broke into laughter, stood, danced to a Franco rhumba hit and told me planning is all what one required.

He was a member and chairperson of several boards of management. He carried this work further by sharing his wealth of knowledge in one of the daily newspapers as an opinion shaper on colonial agriculture. His articles were so informative that at one time in our social place at Wagon Wheel hotel in Eldoret, he jokingly hinted to me that many readers had promoted him to be an agricultural expert. We have lost a philosopher-king in academia.

-Dr Ndaloh teaches at Koitaleel University College. [email protected]

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