#MCM: Shisia Wasilwa – Prolific writer, author, brains behind Citizen Nipashe


SHISIA-WASILWA
SHISIA-WASILWA

You probably must have heard his voice on Citizen Television; reporting a news piece in well-crafted Swahili.

Shisia Wasilwa is the Swahili News Editor at Citizen TV Kenya, and is also a renowned author for Swahili novels, which have been accredited by the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE).

Shisia Wasilwa at the Citizen TV headquarter office
Shisia Wasilwa at the Citizen TV headquarter office Photo/Wasilwa

His latest publication, Dunia Tambara Bovu, is quickly gaining popularity among readers, flying off the shelves in bookshops across the country.

The publication mirrors the life of Sikitu and her sister who are orphaned at a very tender age; left to navigate life by themselves.

Their aunt Chausiku who was entitled with the responsibility of taking care of them began to mistreat the children, and even worse, dispossessed them of their inheritance.

The siblings were left to languish in abject poverty.

Will the two meet and turn their unfortunate lives to something worth looking back at?

You sure should grab your copy!

 Shisia’s journey as an Author

When did Shisia Wasilwa venture into writing?

“I gained the passion for writing at a very tender age; when I was in Primary school,” he told Citizen Digital.

The novice writer, who later drafted his first manuscript in college in the year 2000, did not get a chance to see his first piece to completion as his fellow student misplaced the draft he’d prepared.

Shisia Wasilwa's TBT - a photo of his school days
Shisia Wasilwa’s TBT – a photo of his college days Photo/Wasilwa

Since there were no computers to back his files, he lost all his stories.

He did not relent; he picked up afresh in 2004 and started yet another book which he completed in 2012.

The book – Dunia Tambara Bovu – made it to the Kenyan bookshelves in 2013.

Shisia Wasilwa’s life experiences inspired the book; he says his late mum inspired him the most.

He narrated that after he lost his dad early ‘90s, his mum struggled to see him through school, to provide for him and ensure he was in good health.

“My mum represents the plight of many families today where mothers assume fatherly responsibilities and do them beyond expectations,” he said.

In an artistic yet very eloquent manner, Shisia transferred his plight growing up onto the pages of his book – Dunia Tambara Bovu.

The book goes for Sh394 on bookshelves in Kenya.

“I am very happy the book is approved by Kenya Institute of Education to be used as a Swahili set book for secondary education. They say it’s accredited as an Orange Book.”

Shisia Wasilwa has co-written books with renowned writers such as Prof Ken Walibora in the book Sina Zaidi, and has edited a number of books authored by celebrated Swahili writers.

On the perception that Swahili books are less read and subscribed to compared to English tomes, Shisia says: “It’s very unfortunate the predominant assumption by many people in the country is that Swahili language is inferior to English.

Leaders should be leading by example to change this stereotype, they should embrace Swahili. The 2010 constitution was not and has never been translated to Swahili.”

“One objective of the constitution was to see Swahili being embraced and respected the same way English is, but five years down the line, I haven’t seen any change. Something needs to be done; and every stakeholder should be involved.”

He concludes the interview by saying there’s hope for Swahili language in the country.

 

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Brian Okoth
Story By Brian Okoth
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