By Tonny Nyanchwa
Swahili language is the official language in Kenya and Tanzania. Other countries that use swahili as a medium of communication in varying degrees include Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, the Comoros Islands, Burundi, Mozambique, Northern Zambia and Malawi.
Various writers have authored excellent books in the Swahili language that have been examined in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) for years. These authors have played a major role in educating the community through their work. They have also nurtured and promoted many young writers through their work.
In this piece, the writer looks at some of the best writers of Kiswahili set books in Kenya:
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Prof. KITHAKA WA MBERIA
Born in 1955, Professor Kithaka wa Mberia is one of the Kiswahili literature icons in Kenya. He has published several poetry collections, including Mchezo wa Karata published in 1997, Bara Jingine (2001), Redio na Mwezi (2005), and Msimu wa Tisa (2007). His poems were the first ever to be presented in 1988 at the Kenya National Theater.
This professor of languages at the University of Nairobi is also a writer of plays. His book, Kifo Kisimani, is one of the Kiswahili literature books that was examined in the KCSE from the year 2009 to 2012.
SAID AHMED MOHAMMED
The popular Kiswahili set texts author Prof Said Ahmed Mohamed has published a multitude of famous books in the Kiswahili language. His books include Asali Chungu, Pungwa, Amezidi, Dunia Mti Mkavu, and Nyuso za Mwanamke.
The retired professor has educated several individuals through his books. Utengano, a great book by Said A. Mohammed, was taught in Kenyan secondary schools and examined in the KCSE from the year 2009 to 2012. Kitumbua Kimeingia Mchanga is another great work that has been taught and examined in the KCSE.
KYALLO WADI WAMITILA
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K. W. Wamitila is another all-time genius in the world of Kiswahili set books. The Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Nairobi, has published several Kiswahili set books. His work includes Msimu wa Vipepeo, Dharau ya Ini, Yatima, Wingu la Kupita, Mayai Waziri wa Maradhi na Hadithi Zingine, Seserumbe, Pango, Harufu ya Mapera, and several other books.
Mayai Waziri wa Maradhi na Hadithi Zingine was taught in schools between the years 2005 and 2012.
Zainab is one of the Kiswahili novelists who has been published. Her first-ever published book was Mali ya Maskini, published by Longhorn Publishers. She later published Kipimo cha Mizani (Longhorn) and Kikulacho (Kenya Literature Bureau.)
Zainab’s book Mwisho wa Kosa was introduced to secondary school learners in 2009.
The late Dr. Ken Walibora was a renowned Kiswahili fiction novelist, who received many awards for his work. He won the Jomo Kenyatta Literature Prize three times with his Kwahili set texts, Ndoto ya Amerika in 2003, Kisasi Hapana in 2009, and Nasikia Sauti ya Mama in 2015.
Siku Njema, his book, was examined in KCSE between the years 1999 and 2003. His other book, Kidagaa Kimemwozea, was examined between the years 2014 and 2017.
The famous books published by Dr. Walibora includes Ndoto ya Almasi, Upande Mwingine, Kufa Kuzikana, Mbaya Wetu, among other several books.
Timothy Arege is a native of Kisii County in western Kenya. He is an award-winning writer whose book, Kijiba cha Moyo, won the Jomo Kenyatta Literature Prize in 2009.
The lecturer of Swahili at Kenyatta University has authored some other books, including Chamchela (2007) and Mstahiki Meya (2009).
Mstahiki Meya was taught in secondary schools and examined in KCSE between the years 2013 and 2016.
ASSUMPTA K. MATEI
Dr. Assumpta is another talented writer whose book Chozi la Heri is currently taught in the. Kenyan secondary schools. The book replaced Walibora’s Kidagaa Kimemwozea in 2018.
PAULINE KEA KYOVI
Pauline Kea is a creative author who writes scholarly and artistic plays that cover various genres and audiences. Her publications include Kigogo and Beluwa. She’s also published a Swahili novel, Kipendacho Roho.
Currently, her play Kigogo is taught in Kenyan secondary schools.
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You forgot Wallah Bin Wallah and Nuhu Bakari.