On Tuesday morning 1/12/2015, the literary world woke up to the demise of Marjolie Oludhe; one of Kenya’s finest writers. I first encountered Marjolie through her writings especially the Atieno yo poem. That was back in time when I was in form one. We did an in depth analysis of the poem and to this day, that poem became a cornerstone for my love of poetry. Shortly after I came across her novel Coming to Birth, I could not resist to love her even more and that is why I came to love writing.Marjoli Oludhe

Tuesday morning, I woke up tot the sad news and all I could do was not to come to reality with the sad news. The death was a big blow to her fans and critics both locally and within the region. I am very grieved with the family, the reading and writing fraternity at large. I am convinced of one thing though; that the books and poems written by Oludhe will live with us for as long as life exists.

Coming to Birth and other texts.

The text coming  to birth was a household name in the year 2005 to 2008. It became a very common text till even the old wondered what form of beast it was. Those who took after the curiosity woke up to the reality that Coming to Birth was not a mere beast but a master beast, Marjolie wrote other books too including Murder in Majengo, Song of Nyarloka and Other Poems, Street Life, The Present Moment, Homing In and Chira among others.


Born to Marjorie King in 1928 in Southampton, England, Marjorie travelled to Kenya to work as a missionary in 1954. She worked at the S.J. Moore Bookshop on Government Road, now Moi Avenue in Nairobi, for some years. There she organised readings which were attended by, among others, Okot P’Bitek, the author of Song of Lawino, and Jonathan Kariara, a Kenyan poet. She met Macgoye, a medical doctor, and the two were married in 1960. In 1971, an anthology entitled Poems from East Africa included the acclaimed poem “A Freedom Song”. Her 1986 novel Coming to Birth won the Sinclair Prize and has been used as a set book in Kenyan high schools.

Marjolie died aged 87 years though some other sources claim she died aged 85 years. All the same, she has walked her life diligently even in the face of adversity and now it is us to walk our paths too. Our walks though should be that we embrace and live for the values Oludhe believed in.



Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at
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