I will start My Literature Lesson with a look at one of Kenya’s most iconic female writers of our time. The late Margaret Ogola was certainly one of the most prolific writers in East Africa. Her book ‘The River and the Source’ is a household title in many Kenyan homes and schools. The text was first introduced in Kenyan secondary schools in 1998 and recently made a comeback in 2013. In the 2014 KCSE examinations, the book was tested in English paper 2 as an extract from a previously seen text.
So what makes this book so popular in and outside class? Well, for starters, the book is set in Kenya and that alone makes it easy for the Kenyan student to relate to. With most characters portrayed as having lived in the 20th century, the Kenyan reader will find many occurrences in the text familiar.
Another aspect that will capture the student’s attention is Ogola’s characteristic use of simple Kenyan English that still manages to keep it in the realm of international literature.
If you have not read The River and the Source, you can simply click here to get a full summary of the plot.