Whispers: Celebrating legendary humorist Wahome Mutahi 15 years on


Whispers: Celebrating legendary humorist Wahome Mutahi 15 years on

In Summary

  • Planned activities include a key note address by Dr. Joyce Nyairo, followed by a round table discussion dubbed Humour as Social Commentary.
  • A souvenir book, The Best of Whispers: politics, family and society, comprising of selected copies of the Whispers column will also be launched.
  • The family also reportedly aims to do a documentary about the life of the late Wahome and is in the process of pitching the idea to film producers and funders.

The family of the late humorist Wahome Mutahi – popularly known as Whispers “Son of the Soil” – will on July 20, 2018 hold celebrations in commemoration of 15 years since his death.

Planned activities include a key note address by Dr. Joyce Nyairo, followed by a round table discussion dubbed Humour as Social Commentary led by various scholars, activists and satirists such as Paul Kelemba (Maddo), Dr. Wandia Njoya, Boniface Mwangi, Dr. Doseline Kiguru and Dr. Tom Odhiambo.

A souvenir book, The Best of Whispers: politics, family and society, comprising of selected copies of the Whispers column will also be launched.

“We have been holding nearly exclusive family memorials but this year we wanted to incorporate the public with an aim of celebrating Wahome’s legacy,” said Caroline Muthoni, daughter to the late journalist.

“Many of his fans over the years have also been inquiring if there were plans to publish a book with all his columns. We are glad that we have now been able to accomplish this although it’s not been without challenges.”

The family also reportedly aims to do a documentary about the life of the late Wahome and is in the process of pitching the idea to film producers and funders.

Popularly known as “Whispers,” after his column in the Sunday Nation, Wahome offered his readers and audience a satirical view of the trials and tribulations of Kenyan life under the Moi regime in the 80s and 90s.

Many times, he used his own family as characters in the Whispers column. The family setting – with Thatcher, Whispers Jr and the Investment (a.k.a Pajero) – was used to interrogate the national political landscape.

Wahome started his writing career as a trainee journalist at the Nation newspaper in the early 80’s. In 1986, he was arrested together with his brother, Njuguna Mutahi, also a journalist, for allegedly being members of the underground resistance movement Mwakenya.

They were held in the infamous Nyayo House torture chambers, before being charged with sedition and transferred to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. They were jailed for 15 months after a kangaroo court trial.

Immediately after his release, he continued writing and publishing.

In early 2003, Wahome underwent what was supposed to be a routine, minor and painless operation at the Thika District Hospital to remove a lipoma from the posterior base of the neck.

He had reportedly been assured by a surgeon friend, who had offered to do the operation, that the procedure would take less than 15 minutes.

The celebrated columnist went into a coma for 137 days from which he never woke up.

He died on July 22, 2003.

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