In Summary
  • Imbuga preferred pubs and restaurants, arguing those are the places where real humanity was lived and expressed.
  • And like many successful authors, Imbuga had his manuscripts rejected at the publisher’s reception many times before he finally cracked it in 1972.

Born to a World War II veteran, Prof Francis Imbuga grew up listening to and telling stories, especially with his grandfather Mugodo in Chavakali.

The young Imbuga was fascinated by songs and old stories, especially the myths he heard from older people.

His grandfather had a traditional musical instrument, a litungu, which he often played and to which Imbuga loved to dance.

It is through this interaction that Imbuga’s creative side was nurtured, according to a new biography, Francis Imbuga: The Cherished Footprints, by Masinde Kusimba, and the latest from the Bookmark Africa stable.

The 16-chapter book gives a detailed account of the life of a man who is arguably the best playwright in East and Central Africa.

It says that Imbuga’s keen interest in human, social, cultural and political phenomena distinguished him as a master raconteur.

He always had a sheaf of cards on which he scribbled his observations.

SATIRE

Imbuga preferred pubs and restaurants, arguing those are the places where real humanity was lived and expressed.

As a result, most of his protagonists are ordinary citizens struggling to survive despite the oppressive circumstances of their societies, often caused by business and political elite.

His books focus on tribalism, integrity, repressive leadership, impunity, governance, women’s rights and the negative effects of modernisation on the social and moral fabric of society.

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