Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi is pleased to introduce our ongoing virtual book series featuring African authors! With this series, we hope to offer a platform where African writers can engage a global audience, offering not just their work but exciting perspectives on how personal, political, and cultural experiences drive their storytelling.
In his book, Undeterred – A Rural Boy’s Journey to the Pinnacle of Academia, Prof. John Akama presents his unique and very personal story. This is unlike most of his contemporaries who have chosen not or have yet to document their personal experiences. Prof. Akama grew up in a simple rural African setting in Kenya’s hinterland and was raised by a typical Kenyan peasant family with meager resources and limited frills. He went through early childhood enculturation and basic education in rural Kenya schools, characterized by limited educational resources, scant infrastructure, and minimal facilities.
Through high school and university, his path was characterized by daunting challenges and setbacks. Being one who does not give up easily, and notwithstanding the many odds encountered, he managed to succeed on several fronts to get to the pinnacle of academia and university leadership. Prof. Akama’s discourse is a vivid testimony that all of us, as human beings, can overcome many life challenges that come our way if we are guided by principles of determination, selflessness, focus, commitment, and hard work.
Join us on 8th September at 4 pm Nairobi/9 am New York, as we engage with Prof. John Akama and discussants Dr. George Nyadoro and Dr. Margaret Barasa with Wendy Njoroge - as the Moderator. As you interact with the book, you will learn that in life, taking a strategic path of positive thinking, commitment, and hard work can lead to success and eventual achievement of cherished dreams and aspirations, even against all odds that may stand in the way.
Prof. John Sorana Akama is the Vice-Chancellor of Kisii University. He is the founding Principal of the then Kisii University College, which he led to formally acquire a Charter in 2013 to become a full-fledged university. Prof. Akama did his undergraduate studies in education at the University of Nairobi. He then proceeded to the USA, where he undertook his Master's and Ph.D. studies at Ohio State University and Southern Illinois University.
On returning to Kenya, he joined Moi University as a Lecturer and rose to the rank of Professor, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Over the years, Prof. Akama has conducted extensive research and has published widely in diverse areas such as culture, sociology, and tourism, and wildlife conservation. His keen interest and research in the evolution, culture, and history of the Gusii are reflected in this book.
Wendy Njoroge is a book curator, entrepreneur, community builder, and reading advocate who has formal and informal experience in the book industry in Kenya. As a bookseller and community builder, she served as the lead in marketing for the biggest bookshop chain in Kenya for five years, where she established & hosted the largest corporate-sponsored book club. Wendy has since transitioned to becoming an entrepreneur-focused on filling market gaps of access and availability of books in Kenya under Soma Nami Books. Soma Nami Books is a book lovers hub comprising a book club, bookstore, book subscription service, and book forum.
As a curator at Books & Wine (a community of books and wine enthusiasts), Wendy drives the discoverability of books and literary works. The community interacts through the Books & Wine website, newsletter, social media, and regular events. As a reading advocate, driven by the conviction of books' transformative power, she is part of a trio that runs a vodcast (video podcast) named Things Fall Together, which uses literary works to highlight, interrogate, and spark conversation about current issues in society.
Dr. Margaret Barasa is an experienced lecturer with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Dr. Barasa is skilled in research, preparing newsletters, proofreading, editing, and in aspects of language and culture. She also has a strong education professional with a Ph.D. focused in Linguistics from Laikipia University, Master of Arts in English Language and Linguistics, and BED Arts from Egerton University.
Dr. George Obara Nyadoro teaches literature in the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature at Kisii University. He is also the director of the Board of Post Graduate studies at the university. His specialization is in life writing, but he is interested in literary criticism, film criticism, and identity politics.