Google has published a doodle to honour and celebrate Prof Okoth Okombo.
Prof Okombo is regarded as one of the founders of the scientific study of sign language in Africa and a distinguished scholar in the field of Nilotic Language Studies.
The Doodle created by Kenyan artist Joe Baraka has appeared on Google’s homepage in Kenya and coincided with what would have been the late scholar’s 71st birthday.
Baraka is a young upcoming artist known for using digital media to tell stories. In addition, a collection of 10 interesting facts about the scholar has also been published on Google Arts and Culture co-hosted with the National Museums of Kenya.
Prof Okombo was the founder and director of the Kenyan Sign Language Research Project, based at the University of Nairobi. The project has led to the publication of scientific works on the structure, vocabulary, and sociological properties of the deaf language.
It contributed to the recognition of the deaf community and subsequent introduction of practical use of the Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) in schools, the electronic media, court and parliamentary proceedings, hospitals, church services, and many other domains of public life.
This opened up new opportunities in life for deaf people and created new career paths, where students undertake graduate studies in sign language and are employed as sign language interpreters.
His achievements in the field of sign language research and development were recognized by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD),which elected him International President of the WFD Sign Language Scientific Commission between1992-1995.
As part of the commemoration, a memorial virtual public lecture will be hosted by the University of Nairobi