Terry Hirst, 1932 - 2015

Volume 12, Issue 2 | Published 13/10/2015  

The Nairobi of 1965 was drab and grey, but a very neat city just settling down after the frenzy of Independence two years earlier, and everywhere there were high hopes of building a great nation.

There was great promise in all aspects of society — art, culture, economic prosperity and progressive politics.

Terry Hirst arrived in Kenya that year, against this backdrop, for a two-year stint as a teacher at Kenya High School in Nairobi. That was 50 years ago.

Very few artists have tried to bridge the gap that was created a couple of centuries ago by education systems around the world that force-separated the scientist and artist. Hirst’s fine balance of the arts and academia is probably the one thing that defines him.

This graduate of the Brighton College of Art quickly identified individuals to collaborate with who would later become great names themselves, notably the pioneering East African sculptors Gregory Maloba and Elimo Njau, with whom he was later to co-found Paa ya Paa Arts Gallery.

Benson Wanjau alias Mzee Ojwang, 1937 - 2015

Volume 12, Issue 2 | Published 13/10/2015  

The much loved Kenyan actor Benson Wanjau alias Mzee Ojwang died on Sunday July 12, 2015 at the Kenyatta National Hospital where he had been admitted. Mzee Ojwang is said to have been suffering from Pneumonia. The actor played key roles in local programmes Vitimbi, Vioja Mahakamani, Vituko and Kinyonga.

Mutahi Ngunyi's tribute aptly captured how Mzee Ojwang transcended the tribal divide in his television role.

"It is NOT a tragedy that Ojwang Hatari has DIED. It would be a TRAGEDY if we let DIE what he left ALIVE in us - a KIKUYU best known as a LUO," he said.

Veloor Swaminathan

Volume 12, Issue 2 | Published 13/10/2015  

Pioneering Fighter Swaminathan Who Was In The Forefront Of The Struggle To Force The Giant Coca Cola To Quit Kerala Is No More By K.P. Sasi

16 March, 2015:

Veloor Swaminathan is no more. He left Plachimada forever on March 14, 2015. Swaminathan along with Mylamma were the initial foundations of the historic struggle of Plachimada in Kerala. The struggle initiated by a small group of these Adivasis with Dalits and farmers forced one of the largest corporate powers in the world, Coca Cola to bend down and quit Plachimada. If anybody asks, how did such a small force of marginalised people achieve such a herculean task, I would say, study Mylamma and Swaminathan, for any strategy for any people’s movement raising issues of marginalisation.