Wanjala: Who appointed Taban prefect of East African literature?

PHOTO | FILE Prof Chris Wanjala.

What you need to know:

  • We are not wishing Taban away from the East African literary discourse. For some people, Taban’s essay in the East African Journal on literary barrenness may have become a classic. As Lennox Odiemo-Munara has argued, Taban can be off the mark, infuriatingly so, but he awakens us. To Lennox Munara, Taban is what Socrates was to Ancient Greeks, a gadfly.
  • Taban walks like S. T. Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner,” and spellbinds professional writers and publishing editors into churning out his incoherent pieces every time he is in Nairobi. Then he has the temerity to help himself on the plate on which his dinner has been served after he has eaten and begin to shower vitriol on his hosts.

Why do Kenyan newspapers allow this ingrate called Prof Taban Lo Liyong to shower his literary offals on the Kenyan literati year in, year out? Who appointed Taban, who agrees that he is not a professional scholar but a creative writer, to throw mud at professors and lecturers in literature, drama, poetry and cultural studies in Kenyan universities whenever he lands here from Juba?


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