The mother of East African literature you probably didn’t know about

Nee Grace Emily Akinyi, Grace Ogot was the first East African woman from Kenya to be published in English. Besides her work as a writer, Ogot was a professional nurse and politician among other things.

Ogot had a rather interesting background for an African woman born in 1930 Kenya. At age nineteen, Grace Ogot was admitted into the Mengo Hospital School of Nursing and Midwifery in Uganda.

After 1953, she travelled to London to put to use her newly acquired training in nursing at the Saint Thomas Hospital for Mothers and Babies. On her return home in 1958, Grace took up different roles as a scriptwriter for BBC, as a Community Development Officer in Kisumu County, and a Public Relations Officer for the East African office of the Air India Corporation.

She co-founded the…

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