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Embrace reading culture for good leadership – Vice-chancellor


Vice-chancellor visits the exhibition booths at the Sarit centre

Daystar University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Laban P. Ayiro has challenged Kenyans to embrace a culture of regular and passionate readership if they hoped to become good leaders.

Prof. Ayiro spoke at the Sarit Centre on Saturday October 1, 2022 where he was chief guest at the official closing of the 23rd Nairobi International Book Fair (NIBF).

Emphasizing on why and how passionate readership is a prerequisite to good leadership, Prof. Ayiro decried the poor reading habits exhibited by the current crop of young citizens and majority of leaders across all sectors. 

“Good readership begets good leadership,” he said. He further committed to spearhead a deliberate campaign of buying books from local publishers and distributing them free-of-charge (in partnership with other stakeholders) to public school libraries across the country to enhance the reading culture.

Delivering his keynote address on Saturday October 1, as he officially closed the 23rd Nairobi International Book Fair (NIBF) in Westlands, Nairobi. Prof. Ayiro underscored the instrumental role of readership in “burning the habit of selfishness in the fire of sacrifice”.

“Selfishness,” he emphasized, “when subsumed in the fire of sacrifice, begets selflessness”.

Reminiscing his days as an avid reader as a student at Upper Hill Secondary School in Nairobi, Prof. Ayiro regaled his audience by quoting from such powerful and complex literary texts like Wole Soyinka’s most celebrated play Kongi’s Harvest. This high voltage play that focuses on the exuberant pronouncements and actions of Ghana’s philosophical first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, is considered a hard nut to crack that can only by studied in university lecture theatres.

Prof. Ayiro however revealed that by the time he completed his secondary school  studies at Upper Hill he had read this and other engaging works like Cry My Beloved Country by Allan Paton, The Beautiful Ones are not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah, Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga and Julius Ceaser by William Shakespeare among others.

On his part, the Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) Chairman, Mr. Kiarie Kamau, challenged publishers to invest more in the publication of creative works such as plays, novels, short stories, and anthologies of poetry among others, stating that “Kenyan publishers will be remembered more by the creative and general books they published they rather than the cash-cow course books which have a ready captive market.”

Upon arrival at the Sarit Centre, the VC was taken on a guided tour of the exhibition stands by organizers of the book fair led by Mr. Kiarie Kamau.

The Vice-chancellor was accompanied by Faculty members among them Ms. Brenda Wambua and Dr. Lydia Radoli (School of Communication), Dr. Winnie Waiyaki (African Journal of Clinical Psychology) the Vice-chancellor’s Research & Protocol Officer Mrs. Grace Mbogo-Liyai, Ms. Jean Murungi from Corporate Affairs Department, the PA to DVC-Finance Ms. Irene Tonje-Gitau, an avid reader, and several students among them Ms. Wangu Kanuri who is widely published, Mr. Ken Andrew Involvement Newspaper Sports Editor, and the Mr. Nicholas Anunda Vice-chancellor’s Executive Driver Mr. Nicholas Anunda.