Google Doodle is today celebrating a Kenyan Professor, Okoth Okombo who was the founder of the Kenyan Sign Language Research at the University of Nairobi.
Prof. Okombo passed on on November 1, 2017 and would have been 71 today. During his lifetime, he published over 30 scientific publications focusing on the structure, vocabulary and sociological aspects of the deaf in the country.
Okombo’s efforts saw The implementation of the Kenyan Sign Language in schools, hospitals, churches, media houses and churches.
He also managed to implement similar projects in Uganda, Tanzania, Swaziland and South Africa.
In addition to Sign Language, Google Doodle further indicates that Okombo was involved in the preservation of his ethnic tribe, Omusuba, which was almost eroded due to the elevation of the English Language during the British Colonial rule.
Having witnessed the situation first hand, he embarked on a lifelong mission to preserve indigenous African heritage.
Google describes Prof. Okombo as “an eminent researcher of Nilotic linguistics (from the Nile River region) who is widely considered the founder of African sign language studies.”
While eulogizing Prof. Okombo in 2017, Dr.James Oranga, a journalism lecturer at the University of Nairobi said he had left an intellectual vacuum that would be difficult to fill.
“Like some other great men who have gone before him, his story emphasises the greatness of education. With education, all of us can conquer our obstacles at birth,” he said.