b. 1965, Djibouti
academic and writer
Born in Djibouti, Waberi is professor of English in Normandy, France. One of the few Francophone writers of Djibouti, Waberi's literary output includes: Le Pays sans ombre (The Country Without Shade) (1994); Cahier nomade (Nomad Book) (1996); Balbala (Balbala) (1997); and Rift routes rails (Rift Routes Rails) (2000). Like the Somali novelist, Nuruddin Farah , whom he considers to be a major influence, Waberi has constructed an oeuvre that closely scrutinizes his country Djibouti, and indeed the whole of northeast Africa, in narratives sprinkled with Arabaphone, Francophone, and Anglophone cultural references. Waberi has also published Moisson de cranes (Harvest of Skulls) (2000), a collection of texts written in response to the Rwanda genocide.
b. 1921, Gakanduini village, near Tumu Tumu, Kenya; d. 2001, Karatina, Kenya
writer and publisher
Gakaara wa Wanjau wrote and published works in Gikuyu for fifty-five years. His publications included short stories, a prison diary, a novel, songs and poetry, historical works, and political position papers. He promoted writing in African languages and began a series of books in twenty Kenyan languages for primary school teachers. During the last forty years of his life Gakaara ran a printing and publishing business in Karatina, Kenya. From 1947 to 1952 Gakaara wrote and published a newspaper, political statements, and political songs. He was arrested for these publications in 1952 and detained until 1959. In detention he secretly kept a diary that later was published: Mau Mau Writer in Detention (1986) (Mwandiki wa Mau Mau Ithaamirio-ini) (1983). The diary was awarded the NOMA Prize in 1984. Gakaara was again falsely charged, detained, and tortured in 1986. Human Rights Watch later awarded him a persecuted writer's grant. His novel about the 1982 coup attempt in Kenya, Wa-Nduuta: Hingo ya Paawa, was translated into English in 2002.