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Tribute: Okey Ndibe remembers Kofi Awoonor

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A DAY of sad memories for me. It was nine years ago today that Kofi Awoonor—a magnificent poet, novelist, scholar and ambassador—was killed by terrorists who attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. I remember the moment I first heard the news, in Brooklyn, NY, where I was attending a literary festival. My scream rattled nearby strangers.

  I first encountered Awoonor’s poetry as a secondary school student, and shortly after, read his unforgettable if challenging novel, “This Earth, My Brother”. Years later, I grew close to him when he served as Ghana’s ambassador and representative at the UN in New York City.

  Awoonor was one of the kindest and wittiest writers I’ve been fortunate to know, always solicitous of others. And he had high dreams for the global African world. He lives on in my heart and memory, and will continue to be remembered by the many readers touched by his distinguished creative work and profound scholarship.

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