Why Ole Kulet, a winner yet again, deserves more respect from critics

Award-winning author Henry ole Kulet after being named the winner of the 2017 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in Nairobi last weekend. JOSEPH NGUNJIRI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Another key concern one may deduce from reading Kulet’s novels has to do with the persistence of a certain image of the Maasai people, especially in the Western reading public. One of the world’s indigenous peoples, the Maasai image in the Western consciousness is that of a kind of a “noble savage”.
  • Popularised by settler writings and by such canonised Western writers like Ernest Hemmingway in Green Hills of Africa (1935), this was an image that Kulet sought to debunk through his realistic portrayals of the Maasai culture and way of life.

The year 1971 marked a significant shift in the development of Kenyan literature. That was the year Charles Mangua published Son of Woman, his sassy thriller of urban life.


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