Google Honours Former UoN Professor

  • Former UON Linguistics professor Okoth Okombo during a past meeting at the university.
    Former UoN Linguistics professor Okoth Okombo during a past meeting at the university.
    UoN/ Twitter
  • Tech giant Google, on Monday, November 8, used a Doodle to commemorate the life of former professor at the University of Nairobi, Okoth Okombo.

    Doodle is a special, temporal alteration of the logo on Google's homepages intended to honour holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures of particular countries. 

    Prof. Okombo, who would have turned 71 this day, is hailed for his contribution after publishing over 30 scientific publications regarding sign language. 

    Google commemorates the Late Professor Okoth Okombo on November 8, 2021.
    Google commemorates the Late Professor Okoth Okombo on November 8, 2021.
    Google.com

    Born in the 1950s in Kaswanga of Rusinga Island, the professor was raised by a foster mother. He attended Kaswanga SDA primary school before joining Mbita High School, Homa Bay County. Developing a passion for a career as a teacher at an early age, he focused on educating children in their native language.

    He was awarded a scholarship in 1987 at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in 1987, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts  in 1977 and did his Masters of Arts in 1979.

    While pursuing his doctorate in 1983, he published Misfortune is Inevitable in Luo language- considered to be among the first novels published in native language. 

    The professor also founded the Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) Research Project in 1991. As a result of his efforts in advocating for the preservation of African heritage, the Kenyan sign language was implemented in schools, hospitals and other public sectors. 

    The professor's influence stretched out to neighbouring countries in Uganda, Tanzania, Swaziland and South Africa. 

    These achievements saw him elected as the World Federation International President from 1992 to 1995. 

    The professor died on the night of Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

    Other notable figures that Google has previously honoured include Turkana Boy, Mekatilili wa Menza, the late Professor Wangari wa Maathai and the late Kimani Maruge's first day of school who is commemorated for being the oldest person to begin primary school at 84 years.

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    UoN graduates celebrate during the 57th Graduation Ceremony held at the institution's grounds on September 22, 2017.
    UoN /Twitter
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