In Memory of Otieno Amisi

The blogsphere, the literary world and the media have all lost an excellent journalist and poet-Mr. Otieno Amisi.

When i first heard about blogging, Otieno Amisi and i had been sent as representatives of Oakland Media to the East Africas’ Writers Forum organized by Kwani? outside Nairobi.

His public speaking skills were amazing as was evidenced by the roaring laughter that follwoed his speech on journalism in Kenya.

It was also at this forum that Al Kags spoke about blogging as a new form of media in Kenya and the world highlighting its enormous advantages. I personally couldn’t wait to explore and see whether everything that he was saying was indeed true. 

Back in Nairobi at the Oakland offices, we began our pitiful/horrendous experiments with blogging with no help because;

1) There were no professionals to train us on the new technology of blogging, hence we had no idea exactly what to do nor how everything worked (even to date, there’s still so much i haven’t learnt). 

2) Few people in our office even knew how to go about blogging.

Eventually, blogging became a topic Amisi and i always discussed in the office.

Amisi was known as a very humorous yet serious journalist (with about 15 years experience in the field) and poet. Working with him (inspite of his illness) was very interesting.  See, he always had a smile on his face and always, i mean, always had a say about everything. Plus I never really saw him angry at anyone or anthing.

I admired his writing skills, his boldness, his humour and his personality in general.

It was on his blog that he wrote about how he was being abused by his wife;-how many men can publicly admit this?

Good news is, he was able to compile and upload most of his work on his blog before he passed away (all alone in his house on the eve of the 2007 elections).

However, i recall the last call he gave me before the festive season. A former collegue of ours named Hazel had conned him with a promise to print out his poems into a book.

She had disappeared and gone into hiding on the day of the Book Fair whereby Mr. Amisi was to officially launch his book….so sad for such an ambitious man.  

The poetry pieces he had talked about so melanchonically are up on his blog , a site that i have also linked right here on my blog roll.

During my last few months at Oakland, he spoke about those ‘long ago’  times of the Kenya Association of Poets    (had no idea it existed until i heard it from him) ; He explained about how things were when the only avenue for poets those days was the British Council.

His kind of criticism in the literary world was very well recieved and caused a lot of the much needed attention/reaction/hype. The most recent being Tony Mochamas'(Smitta Smittens) book ‘What if i am a literary gangster’  with a title that read  ‘Gangsters invade literary scene’ Dec 14th 2007.

Like Umberto Eco, i do believe that ‘The real hero is always a hero by mistake , he dreams of being an honest coward like everyone else’. 

 R.I.P Amisi

5 Responses to “In Memory of Otieno Amisi”

  1. Bree Says:

    i love the piece on Amisi i can’t believe Hazel would be so unscruplous.
    I think i should put the link on my facebook page.
    R.I.P Amisi. All the great ones go ahead to make way for the rest of us.
    Peace out.
    Mad love


  2. Al Kags Says:

    I am quite shocked. RIP Otieno.


  3. Kui Says:

    When Eudiah told me about Amisi, I couldn’t believe it. It was only late last year that he visited our offices at Wilson Airport. Thanks for that eulogy. and that is just the tip of the ice berg for who Amisi truly was. RIP


  4. Athman Farsi Says:


    We need poets. Please get intouch on 2214352/318833 during working hours.


    Athman Farsi


  5. Olali Says:

    There is no doubt that Amisi was a great man, in such a small body! I was young, or rather young in mind, when he passed on, oblivious of what was happening…. A decade later, I now believe that his sounding voice, deep within the graves is echoing for a bigger even a better him! Let us remember him, his family, children, most importantly his mother languishing in poverty in the shores of Lake Victoria. Rest in Peace dear brother!


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