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Interview with Prof. John S. Akama author of Undeterred: A Rural Boy’s Journey to the Pinnacle of Academia

  1. Tell us about yourself, your background and your current 'station' in life.

Currently, I am working as the Vice Chancellor of Kisii University which is one of the public universities in Kenya.  My background goes back several years as I was bought up in a rural environment among the Gusii community in South Western Kenya. I grew up in a peasantry family looking after livestock and working on family land at the same time. 

I went through my elementary education successfully which enabled me to join Kakamega High School and eventually the University of Nairobi where I did my undergraduate degree.  I later proceeded to the USA where I did my Postgraduate studies.  After I came back to Kenya, I got a teaching job at Moi University where I rose from the position of lecturer to full professor of the same university.  In 2009, I joined Kisii University which was then a Constituent College of Egerton University, and since that time I have managed to spearhead the growth of the institution from the status of being a Constituent College to becoming a fully-fledged public university.

  1. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

The realization of being a writer started as a process when I was doing my postgraduate studies in America, particularly when attending seminar courses and discussions.  I realized that I had competencies in writing and providing research presentations. Fine-tuned my writing skills when I joined Moi University as a lecturer and started publishing papers that got published in high-impact peer-reviewed international journals and later on published books in the areas of tourism development, wildlife management, culture and socio-economic development in Africa.

  1. How did you develop your interest in writing and what was your first published item? Where was this published?

My first publication was related to my area of specialization in the field of tourism and wildlife management. This publication was entitled “Conflicting attitudes towards state conservation programs in Kenya” which was published in a peer-reviewed international journalin1995.


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