Burt Award Winner for African Literature Poet Adipo Sidang this evening eulogised University of Nairobi (UoN) History Professor Gilbert E.M. Ogutu as ‘a great mind’ whose death ‘is terribly unfortunate’.
Prof Ogutu was found dead in an apparent suicide, with a lesso tied to his neck hanging from a window of his rural home in Wambasa village in Bondo, Siaya County.
The poet wrote.
The death of Prof. G.E.M Ogutu is terribly unfortunate. Prof. Ogutu, a veteran scholar and History Professor at University of Nairobi, was a great mind who was generous with his knowledge.
During my MA Philosophy research, GEM – as he’s fondly known, summoned me to his office and lectured me on the need to make Philosophy work for Africa. He then advised me to write a chapter on “Truth and Culture – the Social Function of Truth” as part of my Epistemology research.
And he gave me a book he wrote on the death of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga titled “Jaramogi is Dead, Long Live Jaramogi.” The shaped my views on the relationship between Truth and Culture, and shaped me too. So I say, “Jowi! Jowi! Jowi! GEM Ogutu is Dead. Long Live GEM Ogutu!”
PS.: Depression is real. We must be prepared for old age as if it’s coming tomorrow, and we must hope we will have around us people who genuinely care for us. GEM was a gem, a fine one; should we really believe he ended his own life? But how? And why? To what end – Death? No!
The body of the deceased was later transferred to the Bondo sub-county hospital mortuary awaiting postmortem.
Adipo Sidang has authored two books a novel titled, A Boy Named Koko which won him the Burt Award for African literature and a proper poetry book titled ‘Parliament Of Owls’.
The poetry book has also been turned into a play.