A prominent Kenyan author, diplomat and politician, Grace Ogot was the first woman to have her fiction published by the East African Publishing House, the first local publishing company in East Africa.
Ogot had a rather interesting background for an African woman born in 1930 Kenya. At age nineteen, Ogot was admitted into the Mengo Hospital School of Nursing and Midwifery in Uganda.
After 1953, she traveled to London to put to use her newly acquired training in nursing at the Saint Thomas Hospital for Mothers and Babies. On her return home in 1958, Ogot took up different roles as a scriptwriter for BBC, as a Community Development Officer in Kisumu County, and a Public Relations Officer for the East African office of the Air India Corporation.
She co-founded the Writers’ Association of Kenya, after having served as a UN delegate for Kenya in 1975 and subsequently, as a member of the UNESCO delegation in 1976. She later became a Diplomat and one of the first female Members of the Kenyan Parliament and an assistant minister.
In 1962, the writer discovered, after reading her short story A Year of Sacrifice, that she was the only East African woman to present her work at a conference on literature in Makerere; she was motivated to publish her work.
Ogot tells her stories like a sage, like one who came almost wholly made, perfect, and with such derf themes as the rebirth of the African way of life. Subjects such as tradition and modernity feature strongly in her works. To her, the two are co-extensive.
Some of her literary works include The Promised Land, The Empty Basket, Land Without Thunder: Short Stories, The Island of Tears and The Other Woman.
Ogot passed away on March 18, 2015. To celebrate her legacy, Face2Face Africa shares with you seven of her thought-provoking quotes: