Google has honored Kenyan linguistics Professor Okoth Okombo by featuring him on its Doodle during his 71 birthday.
Google Doodle is used by the search engine to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable individuals across the globe.
Illustrated by Kenyan artist Joe Baraka, the Doodle honors Okombo’s contribution as an author and researcher of Nilotic linguistics.
Google described Okombo as an eminent researcher of Nilotic linguistics (from the Nile River region) and the pioneer of African sign language studies.
Born Duncan Okoth Okombo on November 8, 1950, in Kaswanga, Rusinga Island, Prof. Okombo is a member of the Omusuba tribe raised during a time of British colonial rule.
He got his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Linguistics from the University of Nairobi in 1977 and 1979 respectively.
He pursued his linguistics doctorate at the University of Nairobi from 1981-1986, during which he also published 'Masira ki Ndaki' (“Misfortune is Inevitable”) in Dholuo.
As a professor of linguistics and literature at the University of Nairobi, he founded the Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) Research Project in 1991.
The project led to the widespread adoption of KSL across Kenya, allowing the nation’s deaf community to secure new opportunities in society.
Okombo was elected by The World Federation of the Deaf as its international president from 1992 to 1995.
The professor passed on in November 2017 in Nairobi.