Professor Duncan Okoth Okombo who is considered one of the founders of scientific study of sign language in Africa was honored by Google as he celebrated his 71st birthday. The media giant celebrated the iconic professor with a doodle which was done by a Kenyan illustrator.
Professor Duncan who is also a distinguished scholar in the field of Nilotic Language Studies was recognized due to his contributions to African sign language over a period of 66 years. Right from his early years, Okombo’s began getting inspiration for his work at the time of British colonialism. The Scholar who was born in Kaswanga, a Kenyan Island took a swift move to secure his language from extinction as English was fast spreading.
He went further to get a degree in linguistics in 1983. After that, he publish a novel in Kenyan language named Masira ki Ndaki. In a move to advance his passion for Linguistics, he climbed the academic ladder to become a professor at the University of Kenya where he started his research into Kenyan sign language (KSL).
In time, he published about 30 papers that were built around the vocabulary and behaviors of deaf population of Kenya. Over the years, KSL was welcomed in various institutions in Kenya which included schools, media and even churches.
That led to the incorporation of the deaf populace of Kenya into the normal society, thereby opening doors to diverse opportunities which they could not access in previous years. Due to this immense contribution to these differently abled individuals in his country, he was given the title of the international president of the World Federation of the Deaf. His tenure spanned through 1992 to 1995.
The Doodle of Okombo can be found on Google’s homepage in Kenya. Other giants in different walks of life have been featured on Google doodle at different times in honor of their contribution to mankind.