Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Home > Counties > Scholar Unveils Maragoli Dictionary

Scholar Unveils Maragoli Dictionary

An author, Professor Egara Kabaji, has unveiled the first Maragoli dictionary to help the current generation understand the language and the meaning of words.

The Author, who is also a lecturer at Masinde Muliro University says it has taken him 10 years to identify Maragoli words through research before compiling a 420-page L’logooli Dictionary.

He completed his research on the words in the Maragoli dialect and their translation into English in 2022 and the work was published in 2023 by InterCEN Books Publishing Company.

He says the dictionary might be the first one in Luhya land, hoping that other authors will use the copy as a stepping stone to draft Dictionaries for other Luhya dialects.

The Professor launched the Dictionary at Wanda Gardens in Kakamega together with his five other new books as he celebrated his 60th birthday and Decades of active writing.

The Dictionary will be sold at Sh1500 per copy and is available at Prof. Francis Imbuga Memorial Library at Wanda Gardens, Ejinja Corner Kakamega.

He, at the same time, unveiled a literary Award for Kenyans in Honor of the Late Prof. Francis Imbuga popularly known for his play, Betrayal in the City, to give opportunities to Kenyans to earn from their writings that add value to society.

The Professor Francis Imbuga Prize for Literature will be an Annual Award with the price to be determined by a committee that will be constituted as the call for the first entries will be rolled out in April or March 2024 and the Awards presented in December the same year.

“The award will be presented every year from 2024 onwards because we have launched today and it is remembering the good work that Professor Francis Imbuga did when he was alive,” he disclosed.

The Professor Francis Imbuga Prize for Literature would be the second award for writers in Kenya after the Biannual Text Book Centre Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature which is administered by the Kenya Publishers Association.

“I started narrating stories while I was a child, but entered into active writing while in secondary school. Up to now I have written over 43 books. What drives me is just appreciating God and using the talent given to me to educate and inform people through my writings,” he noted.

He says that from now onwards, he will be writing one or two plays every year as he grooms other writers in Kakamega.

An author mentee of Prof. Kabaji, Barack Wandera, describes the don as a literary writer, Linguist, scholar and literary activist.

Wandera who is also a publisher at InterCEN Books says that Prof. Kabaji has had a meaningful contribution to the Literary world in his sixty years of existence, with his vigor, interest, passion, and determination growing even more in his old age setting the bar high and giving a challenge to upcoming writers.

Wandera says that the books written by Professor Kabaji include 30 children’s books and other educational materials.

The Academician was shortlisted as the first runner-up for the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 2022 through his novel A Journey to becoming published by One Planet and Media Services.

His recent book Mourning Glory has received positive feedback from readers across Kenya and the East and Central Africa Region.

Wandera says that Prof. Kabaji currently serves as the President of the Pan African Writers Association, which was created by the African Union(AU) with offices domiciled in Accra Ghana.

“So as much as you are seated with Prof. Here, he has an office in Accra Ghana,” he disclosed.

Kabaji is the President of the Creative Writers of Kenya through the Creative Writers Association of Kenya(CWAK) and the founder and patron of Kakamega Book Club(KBC).

“Very few writers in our generation will write comfortably in three languages, as you can see here, Prof. Kabaji has demonstrated that he can write in Maragoli, Kiswahili, and English,” noted Wandera.

The Guest speaker during the launch of the L’logooli Dictionary was Vihiga County Executive Committee Member in Charge of Culture, Gender, Youth, Sports and Social Services Meshack Molongo Onzere.

The CEC Said Maragoli is one of the local languages for the Vihiga people, the others being TerikTiriki and Kinyore.

Professor Egara Kabaji speaks to the media after unveiling the Maragoli Dictionary and launching the Francis Imbuga Annual Prize for Literature at Wanda Gardens in Kakamega County. Photo by Moses Wekesa

He recognized that the L’logooli Dictionary is the first book to be published in the Maragoli dialect urging the Community members, especially youth from the county to read and understand the language.

He said the county government of Vihiga has set aside Cultural Centers in every community where a designated space will be used to stock books published in local dialects.

“We shall use copies of the books to give direction to our people and promote our traditional practices as a community,” he added.

On the launch of Francis Imbuga Literary Award, The CEC said the author penned a moving Betrayal in the City play asking youth to come out and participate in the Competition to win awards.

He said the Late Prof. Imbuga hailed from Vihiga County with Professor Kabaji establishing a Library in Kakamega in honor of him for his contribution in the Literary World.

By Moses Wekesa

Leave a Reply