Henry Chakava

Kenyan publisher Henry Chakava has passed away.

Kenyan publisher Henry Chakava passed away at age 77 in Nairobi on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Henry Chakava graduated from the University of Nairobi in 1972 and his lecturer at the Department of Literature, Professor Andrew Gurr, arranged an apprenticeship at Heinemann Educational Books in Nairobi. This role became a life dedicated to books as he fell in love with publishing rising through the company’s ranks to become Managing Director in 1976.

While at Heinemann, he published many of the continent’s leading names including Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Grace Ogot, Francis Imbuga, John Kiriamiti, Meja Mwangi, Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye, Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Taban, Liyong, Okot P’Bitek, John Ruganda, David Rubadiri, and many others. He retired in 2000 and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of East African Educational Publishers Limited, Heinemann’s successor.

Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi, Mrs Rosalind Chakava and Former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi joins Dr. Henry Chakava
Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi, Mrs Rosalind Chakava and Former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi joins Dr. Henry Chakava at the launch

He was often called “the father of Kenyan publishing” for his contribution to educational and cultural literature in this region. In 2016, Coming of Age: Strides in African Publishing an anthology of essays speaking about the publishing business on the continent was published underlining this. He was also involved in many of the initiatives that were active in the publishing ecosystem like the Ituĩka Writing and Translation Workshop while still attending many events in his advanced age.

The company he founded shared that the scion of Kenyan publishing had passed away on the morning of March 8.

“It is with deep shock and sadness that the board and management of East African Educational Publishers Limited, in consultation with the family, wishes to announce the passing of its founder and chairman, Dr Henry Chakava,” managing director Kiarie Kamau said in a statement.

“Dr Chakava passed on this morning, March 8 at 5:00 am, while receiving treatment at the Nairobi Hospital,” the statement added.

Henry Chakava transition announcement
Henry Chakava transition announcement

Also read: African Books Collective interviews Henry Chakava.

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One response to “Kenyan publisher Henry Chakava has passed away.”

  1. Richard Mabala avatar
    Richard Mabala

    Apumzike kwa amani. His contribution was massive

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