Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The man of a million laughs Whispers

The man of a million laughs Whispers

Whispers hiding behind the tree, Pajero on the left with her acquaintance
The late Wahome Mutahi ‘Whispers’ was born on 24th October 1954 in Nyeri. “Whispers” the brainchild of Mutahi, was a weekly column on the Sunday Nation newspaper. It revolved around a man and his family- his subservient wife “Thatcher”, her mother “Appepklonia”, the rebellious son “Whis Junior” and his daughter “Pajero”. A Sunday was never complete without a dose of Whispers humour.
The descriptive nature of his witty stories relied on his incisive observance of popular trends in the Kenyan society. Mutahi had a daring side that allowed him to write what Kenyans never discussed beyond whispers. This was seen in his satirical view on the ills of the governance of the regime in his articles. Unfortunately in 1986 he had to face the atrocious pain of the infamous Nyayo House torture chambers and imprisonment.
He claimed that his inspiration came from no other but the late Brian Tetley popularly known as Mambo. Mambo a former editor for the East African Standard was a legend in sarcastic pieces. Mutahi’s contribution to the media was not only limited to Nation Media, he also had a big impact at the Standard where he was the features editor. Away from Kenya he also wrote articles for the Ugandan publications The Monitor and Lugambo.
Books that coloured his illustrious writing career were:
How to be a Kenyan published in January 1st 2001. The book contained a series of effusive essays on what it really meant to be Kenyan.
Three Days on the cross was another notable book he wrote after he was released from Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. The book went along to win the coveted Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 1992.
Jailbug was also an insightful account of his incarceration.
Doomsday, it featured the fiction version of the tragic 1998 US embassy bombing.
Just Wait and See, The Miracle Merchants and The Ghost of Garba Tula were other books in his collection.
Read some of his articles from Nairobi journal
Whispers is also remembered for his mastery in theatre with production of numerous stage performances. Most of which stirred a lot of controversy and interest from Kenyans. Ngoma Ca Aka (The Whirlwind) and Son of the Soil were the most famous.
Kenya Publishers Association in 2004 established the Wahome Mutahi Literary Award in honour of his eminent contribution to literature in the country.
Twenty years you offered nothing but the best and left a legacy of some of the finest written humor in Kenya. Kenyans will never forget your resilience and the exemplary contribution to literature. We will all miss Whispers Sunday that cracked our ribs each Sunday. Rest In Peace.

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