Kenya’s Daily Nation reports the passing of Tanzanian writer and translator, Fortunatus Felix Kawegere. Though Kawagere died sometime in March, it took a while for the news of his death to reach the literary community. His death comes barely 2 months before the passing of Kenyan Swahili novelist Ken Walibora.
Fortunatus Felix Kawegere is most recognized for his translation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945) into Kiswahili, entitled Shamba la Wanyama (1967).
University of Nairobi Professor Zaja Omboga said that Shamba la Wanyama “was among the seminal translations in Kiswahili literature in the 1960s when we did not have many Kiswahili novels and, as a result, it has been extensively used in researches about literary translation.”
The Daily Nation also notes:
“Mr Kawegere was born on February 8, 1943 in Bukoba, Tanzania. He studied at Bunena Missionary School, Bukoba, for both his primary and middle school. He proceeded to Kajunguti Teachers’ Training College and later Mpwapwa Teachers’ College. Upon completing his training, he taught at Ihtawa Primary School from 1966.”
Even though Kawegere is most well-known for his translation of Orwell’s classic, he also contributed to the translation of Ken Walibora’s seminal Swahili novel, Siku Njema, into English under the title, A Good Day (2019).