Kofi Awooner, professor, renowned poet and former diplomat, was among those killed in the shopping center attack in Kenya. Kofi was in Nairobi attending a literary festival with his son when assailants fired rounds killing individuals on mall grounds. The attack took place at Westgate shopping mall and it is unclear where Kofi actually died when the shooting began.
It was stated Kofi took his son Afetfi to the mall but remained in the car before the shooting started. Afetfi was injured during the ruckus and lost track of his dad. It is unclear if Kofi left the car to find his son or was shot while still in the car at the parking zone. Kofi’s son received treatment for his injuries and was not readily available for questions from the media.
Afetfi Awoonor remained in shock from the incident, he accompanied his dad to Nairobi to offer support for his literary endeavors. Afetfi was also spending family time with the 78-year-old Kofi and found the incident tragic. It was reported Afetfi was shot in the shoulder as he attempted to take cover when the shooting started.
Kofi Awooner, Ghana’s renowned poet, was killed while in Kenya for the Storymoja Hay literary festival in Nairobi. Kofi’s companions grew concerned when the professor didn’t show for a session he was scheduled to appear at with fellow poet Nii Ayikewei. Nii is also from Ghana and he and Kofi were scheduled to perform a reading with poets from east and west Africa.
“Professor Awoonor and I and two other poets were representing west Africa, and there were four poets from east Africa,” said Awoonor’s nephew. Nii Ayikewesi is Kofi Awooner’s nephew and author of Tail of the Blue Bird; he was participating in the festival with his uncle. Festival attendees found it hard to believe the professor had lost his life in such a tragic incident.
Festival officials had received a call from the high commissioner that Kofi Awooner’s son was injured and Kofi himself was missing. A search was initiated to find Kofi and the commissioner later called stating the body was found. Kofi’s companion was stunned at the news of his death and the literary community mourned his untimely demise. Kofi’s son has taken the incident very hard and is recovering in a hospital in Nairobi.
Many officials were in town attending the literary festival and the Ghanaian high commissioner was a big fan of Kofi’s work. Many viewed Kofi’s character as being humble and warm, he had many friends that respected him. Kofi Awooner was a renowned poet and was killed participating in a cause he felt stoutly about. His supporters are organizing a tribute in his memory in Nairobi’s national museum in his honor.
By Thomas Barr