Magati Obebo of the Star News Paper; For some of us from the villages, Philip Ochieng’s rich command of English, philosophy, religion and history was extensively inspiring.
As journalist, I have met him twice and sat down to hot coffee in Nairobi.
His, is a touching memory of a commoner from Awendo who walked from the shadows into the pages of great journalism.
In his youth, he himself writes, he was a devout Seventh Day Adventist before too much philosophy drove him into animism.
Religion aside, he was scholarly to a fault, eclipsing many professors of his age, with much of his education self taught.
Politically, he had a rare revulsion for graft, and denouncing it he did, often from the quickly available platform he got-The Fifth Column at the Sunday Nation.
He bows out however leaving a great multitude of fans, me being among them.
These are the people who have truly eaten and nourished from the table of his intellectual wisdom.
Through his illuminating columns, he dissected the philosophy of Engels.
He breath life into the Marxism, and spoke glowingly of the struggles of bourgeoisie.
He barked angrily at the capitalists and ranted no end on how they are growing fat through through taxes milked out of them.
Though Ochieng ate with capitalists at times , he still found his heart with the bourgeois, among whose company he breath his last on Wednesday.
His death at his Awendo home confirms the untarnished love he had for the poor and who he fought for in all his works.
Aggrey Omboki Writes; Phillip Ochieng. What a humble, self effacing, eloquent, calm and soft spoken gentleman!
I’ll always remember the day I met him at Catherine’s office. Despite his busy schedule, he had time to listen to this younger fan point out the lessons in language he had learned from reading the doyen’s pieces.
He was a walking thesaurus, a dedicated wordsmith and treasure trove of African historical, cultural and philosophical gems.
Oblivious to the controversy it would ignite, Phillip did not shy off from dismissing the Judeo-Christian religion but was gracious enough to point out the many similarities it shared with his beloved ancient African belief systems.
He wielded his pen with the cutting wit and sagacity that stood out like a blazing beacon on the acres of print that have long been his playground which is the mainstream newspaper arena.
Reading his opinion pieces was akin to sitting in class at the feet of a master.
The world of columnists, editors, grammar purists and intellectual journalism aficionados has lost a legend. Fare thee well, sir!