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Announcement :: International
SAT 6/10 Benefit for Kenyan Journalist Odhiambo Okite at encuentro 5
08 Jun 2006
Kenyan teacher, journalist and writer Odhiambo Okite passed away on Thursday May 25.
He dedicated his life to furthering peace and justice at great personal sacrifice. A fundraiser/celebration with music, food and drink to celebrate his life and for his family to return his body to his native Kenya will be held this Saturday, 6/5 at encuentro 5 (http://www.encuentro5.org/). Encuentro 5 is a new activist community space in Boston, MA Chinatown.
Please join us to celebrate Odhiambo’s life through music and celebration at Encuentro 5 (33 Harrison Ave, 5th Floor, Chinatown, Boston, MA, http://www.encuentro5.org/) on Saturday the 10th from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am. All ages, beer, wine and food. 5$ donation.

With performances by:

The Boston Afro-Beat Society (http://www.bostonafrobeat.com/)
Ujamaa
Nicolas Despo (http://www.nicolasdespo.com/)
Brian O’Connell (http:/www.brian-oconnell.com/)
The Grass Gypsys (http://www.myspace.com/thegrassgypsys)
and more.

Here is a letter from Nathan Okite about his father Odhiambo Okite:

Dear Friends,

My father, Odhiambo Okite, passed away on Thursday May 25, in Wausau, Wisconsin at the age of 62. His life, which he dedicated to furthering peace and justice at great personal sacrifice, has been cut short too soon, and I need your help in honoring the custom of his people and his wish to return to the burial ground of his ancestral home.

Born on Rusinga, a tiny, remote island in Lake Victoria deep in the interior of Africa, he was among the first to go school, and became a leader of that generation of African renaissance that emerged from the yoke of Colonialism. After Kenyan independence, he took that energy and excitement to the world.

He studied at Kisii Secondary School; Inter-American University, Puerto Rico; Wheaton Graduate School of Theology, Wheaton, Ill.; and The Washington Journalism Center, Washington, D.C.

After college, he interned at Time, Inc. before returning to Kenya where he taught in secondary schools and at Kenyatta University College. From 1970-1979 he was Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Target/Lengo newspapers. He was Assistant Editor of the Weekly Review and also founded two publications, People Magazine and the Medicom journal of medicine.

Later, he served the Government of Kenya as Chief Press Officer, Chief Government Information Officer, National Advisor UNESCO Rural Newspapers Extension Program, Head of Kenya News Agency, Chief News Editor for Voice of Kenya national radio and television network, and National Advisor UN Population Communication Program at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

My father found the pen to be the most potent weapon in the fight for justice, and as a teacher, journalist and writer his voice was heard across Kenya, Africa and the World.

He became a threat to the powerful, and suffered the indignity of torture at the hands of the government he served and that should have protected him. He had to leave Kenya for the United States for medical care. Unfortunately, his health did not fully recover, and ultimately he lost his sight. He was never able to return to Kenya

But even after leaving behind his possessions, with no money, blind, and in poor health, he continued to give of himself. He continued to work as a freelance journalist and consultant working on public service issues, notably organizing the Homes Conference on Homelessness and Inadequate Housing and founding the Wausau (Wisconsin) In-House Network (WIN) which provides temporary housing for the homeless and inadequately housed.

My grandfather once said that the sign of a truly educated man is not the degrees and credentials, but the ability to speak to anybody. My father was an educated man. He spoke as easily with the underprivileged as with the powerful and famous. He conversed as easily with the rich and powerful, including Lyndon Johnson, Desmond Tutu, Queen Elizabeth II, Indira Gandhi, as he did with the most down-and-out and out-of-luck wherever they happened to be.

This life, that transcended modest beginnings and took the spirit of service and love to the four corners of the globe, has now come to and end. Having given so much, he died poor, and his family needs your help to honor his legacy.

The Luo tradition and his wish is to be buried in his home, Rusinga Island. In the spirit of harambee (cooperation), we are trying to raise the funds to take him home. Any contribution that you could make would be greatly appreciated.

We thank you for making it possible for all of us to complete the journey of his life, from Rusinga to the world and back again to the soil of Rusinga where he may rest in peace with those who have gone before.

Contributions can be mailed in the name of Carol Ann Okite to our address:

AnaClaire and Nathan Okite
30 Columbia Street #3
Brookline MA 02446

Or, please join us to celebrate Odhiambo’s life through music at Encuentro 5 on Saturday the 10th from 8:00 pm to 12:30 am with performances by The Boston Afro-Beat Society, Ujamaa, Nicolas Despo, and more.

Thanks to all. Peace be with you always.

Nathan Omogi Okite

This work is in the public domain
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