Remembering David Rubadiri, the father of East African poetry

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Last week’s death of Prof David Rubadiri has robbed Africa and indeed the world of a truly phenomenal literary figure.

According to his son, Kwame, Prof Rubadiri broke his hip two months ago. He was recovering at home, “but died very suddenly from what appears to be the impact of a blood clot in his lungs.”

Born in 1930, Rubadiri had celebrated his 88th birthday on July 19.

For me, his death evoked many memories, including that of how, more than two decades ago, in October 1997, I had a lengthy chat with the diplomat, intellectual, university don and man of letters in his room at the Grand Regency Hotel.

At the time he was already past the mid-60s, but was looking hale and healthy, and I recall his characteristic wit and the trademark penetrating though…

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