Kenyan author Marjorie Phyllis Oludhe Macgoye has today (October 21) been celebrated by Google via a doodle. This on a day that would have been her 94th birthday.
She is often referred to as the mother of Kenyan Literature and was also a poet as well as a missionary bookseller.
She died on December 1, 2015, at the age of 87.
The British-born novelist and poet mostly wrote about the struggles of Kenya during its post-colonial era. She as well published children’s books and magazine stories.
She moved to Kenya at a time when there was a lot of political tension and colonial conflict. She met her love Oludhe MacGoye along the lakeside western part of Kenya.
At the time, she often hosted literary projects that helped Kenyan women learn how to read and write. She became majorly involved in social activism, where she gave speeches and joined national debates regarding the experiences of women.
Once a teacher in Southampton and an awardee of several scholarships, Macgoye found her love for writing from the many letters she wrote to her parents. She holds a Masters Degree in English.
She wrote poems ages before the development agenda to crusade for the rights of the girl child took shape and she is credited thus as the pioneer in the fight for the right of the girl child in Kenya.
Her poem Atieno Yo is a masterpiece of a depiction of the plight of the African Girl-child and women whose toil and sweat of the brow are hardly acknowledged.
Marjorie, best known as Nyaloka by her close friends, family and colleagues, wrote Coming To Birth, one of her most notable books which was once a Kenyan Secondary School set book. The novel won the Sinclair Prize in 1986.
Her other works include Freedom Song, Song of Nyar Loka, The Present Moment, Street Life, Murder in Majengo, Chira, Homing In, and winner of Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, A Farm Called Kishinev.
She is rated in the ranks of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Okello Oculli, Taban Lo Lyong’ and Micere Mugo, among other East African great authors.