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Ngugi wa Thiong’o delivers speech in Gikuyu at an international event

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Celebrated author, playwright, and activist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o on Thursday evening used his mother tongue Gikuyu language while making an acceptance speech for the 31st Catalonia International Prize by the Catalan government.

Ngũgĩ was honored with the prestigious award for his distinguished and courageous literary work and his defense of African languages.

The ceremony for his award was presided over Catalan president Quim Torra and was held virtually due to Covid19 concerns.

The celebrated author said he received news of the award in December 2019 while bedridden at a hospital in California where he had undergone a bypass heart surgery.

“When I received news of this award, I was admitted at UCL Hospital unable even to kick a fly as I had just come from surgey where my chest was opened to treat three of my heart blood vessel known as a triple bypass heart surgery.”

“Before my heart surgery, I wrote my will. So when I heart of this award, I felt like I was being celebrated for returning to the land of the living after my battle in the land of the dead,” the author of the River Between said.

He dedicated the award to his late mother, Wanjiku wa Ngũgĩ, in a traditional kikuyu song.

Premi Internacional Catalunya – Catalonia’s most prestigious award given to people who has significantly contributed to Humankind throughout the world.

Others who have been awarded include anti-apartheid activist Bishop Desmond Tuti, activist Malala Yousafzai, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, philosopher Karl Popper, among other international icons.

Ironically, Ngũgĩ was imprisoned and forced to flee to exile over his Gikuyu works, particularly the play, Ngaahika Ndenda which earned him over a year at Kamiti Maximum Prison.

He currently lives in California where he continues writing in Gikuyu and at the same time teaching literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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Entertainment

John Legend, wife suffer pregnancy loss 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend have been left devastated by the death of their newborn son.

Taking to Instagram on Wednesday evening, Chrissy shared the heartbreaking news with fans.

The 34-year-old model shared a series of deeply candid photographs of herself, her 41-year-old husband John, and their baby son, who they named Jack.

“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough.

“We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever.

“To our Jack – I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive. We will always love you. Thank you to everyone who has been sending us positive energy, thoughts and prayers.

“We feel all of your love and truly appreciate you. We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience. But everyday can’t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it,”Chrissy wrote.

John Legend also took to social media to mourn the loss of their son.

“We love you, Jack” alongside a string of black heart emojis. Chrissy later wrote on Twitter: “Driving home from the hospital with no baby. How can this be real?” he wrote

On Sunday night, Chrissy had been admitted to hospital as she was suffering from excessive bleeding.

The star had been documenting her pregnancy online and had updated fans with her treatment in hospital.

She had shared updates of the blood transfusions she had received in hospital and had explained that her bleeding issues had been occurring for “little less than a month”.

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News

Uhuru signs Sh180 billion deal during visit to France

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BY KEVIN KOECH

President Uhuru Kenyatta kicked off his France visit at Elysee Palace on Wednesday the 30th of September 2020, where his host Emmanuel Macron warmly welcomed him.

Shortly after 9 PM local time, Uuru inspected a guard of honor by the French Military marking the start of an elaborate state reception ceremony.

The two leaders then witnessed the signing of three bilateral agreements before they led their delegates to a State banquet.

Macron had held the celebration in honor of Uhuru as the visiting leader.

The two heads of state then retreated for private talks.

The two leaders reached a Private Public Partnership (PPP) for the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Highway construction, signed between Vinci Concessions and KeNHA.

This Summit Highway is among the largest PPP projects in East Africa.

Kenya’s ambassador to France, Prof Judi Wakhungu, also explained that this highway would decongest the existing road.

She further noted that this highway is essential since it facilitates the transportation of goods to other countries.

“We hope that extending this highway, which is going to be about 200km, again, it will ease traffic on that particular very, very important route. I need not remind Kenyans that this is a major highway that connects Mombasa, Nairobi, and all the way to Uganda, Rwanda, and other parts of Central Africa,” Prof Wakhungu said.

The leaders also agreed on the commuter railway from the Nairobi CBD to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

According to Wakhungu, the railway will ease the movement of people in the city.

She also expressed her hope that businesses along the rail will boom.

“Our aspiration is to see that this commuter railway line eases traffic in Nairobi but also eases the movement of people within Nairobi. We hope that along the route and the surrounding areas, other businesses will be able to grow,” Prof Wakhungu said.

Uhuru and Macron also reached an agreement on the 400KV Menengai-Rongai electricity transmission line.

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Health

First man cured of HIV dies of cancer

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The first person to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown — known as the “Berlin Patient” — has died after a battle with cancer, the International Aids Society (IAS) announced Wednesday.

Brown made medical history and became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

“On behalf of all its members… the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends,” said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible.”

Brown was diagnosed with HIV while was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukaemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.

It took two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: in 2008 Brown was declared free of the two ailments, and was initially dubbed “the Berlin Patient” at a medical conference to preserve his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

“I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012. “It’s very wonderful, being cured of HIV.”

‘Champion’

Ten years after Brown was cured, a second HIV sufferer — dubbed “the London Patient” — was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure.

The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August a California woman was reported to have no traces of HIV despite not using anti-retroviral treatment.

It is thought she may be the first person to be cured of HIV without undergoing the risky bone marrow treatment.

Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the IAS and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a “champion and advocate” of a cure for HIV.

“It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and curs using gene edition or techniques that boost immune control,” she said.

By AFP

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