Today, the world woke up to an interesting doodle on Google of Dr Margaret Atieno Ogola, the author of the award-winning novel The River and the Source.
The doodle of the late novelist, pediatrician, and human rights activists marks what would have been her 60th birthday.
Doodles are Google’s way to bring into people’s mind something or someone who deserves acknowledgment for their remarkable attribute or achievement. With Atieno’s doodle today, Google is celebrating her remarkable contribution towards African literature and history of telling our own story in our own words.
The doodles represent a “fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists,” says Google.
Novelist Atieno was born on June 12, 1958, in Asembo, Siaya County in Kenya. She went on to attend the Thompson’s Falls High School for her O-levels and was the best student of her year across Kenya. She then proceeded to the Alliance Girls High School for her A-levels.
She then joined the University of Nairobi (UoN) after her A-levels where she a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery.
She graduated in 1984 and joined the now largest referral hospital in East Africa, the Kenyatta National Hospital as a medical officer. She later earned a Masters in Paediatrics from UoN in 1990.
On September 21, 2011, the world of African literature and medicine practice was robbed of a great mind when Atieno passed away following a long battle with cancer. She left behind a husband, Dr George Ogola, four children, and two foster children.
Dr Margaret Atieno Ogola books
Dr Atieno’s book The River and the Source was Kenya’s award-winning secondary schools set book between 1998 and 2001. The book featured the lives of several generations of women in Kenya in the 19th century. It traced the lives of the descendants of the matriarch Akoko into the modern day Nairobi.
In her literature, Dr Atieno delved into matters political and cultural changes the young Kenyan nation experience coming fresh out of colonization. She also touched on the socio-economic impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis and how women, in particular, were affected.
In the verbiage accompanying Google’s doodle of Dr Atieno, the search engine writes: “After being rejected by various publishers, Ogola’s novel went on to win the 1995 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature and the 1995 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book.”
In her own testament, Dr Ogola says the writing in her books comes from wisdom and story handed down from her own mother, who got it from her grandmother.