Late Prof. John O. Kokwaro passed of Friday 13th December, 2019 in Nairobi Hospital where he was undergoing treatment. Prof. John O. Kokwaro was one of the renowned African botanists of the 20th and 21st Centuries and his death has robbed one of the great scholars of our time.
The late Prof. Kokwaro began teaching Botany at the University of Nairobi in August 1968 and rose consistently through the academic ranks of Tutorial Fellow, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor to Professor of Botany. He was a member of the Faculty of Science Board since 1968 where he served in various capacities, including being chairman of the Postgraduate Studies Committee (1983 to 1987). He was a member of the Board of Postgraduate Studies of the University (1987 to 1989). He was a visiting senior Fulbright Scholar at the Harvard University Herbaria and Botanical Museum from October 1973 to January 1974, where he gave lectures and seminars on East African flora and vegetation. He was Chairman of the Department of Botany from March 1986 to March, 1992. Professor Kokwaro retired from the regular University service on 30th June, 2001, and begun his contract service as a Retired Professor from 1st July, 2001 until June 2019.
The late Prof. Kokwaro mentored and supervised many postgraduate students. At the close of the 20th Century Prof. Kokwaro had published four parts (books) of the Flora of Tropical East Africa (the highest number published so far by an African botanist), one University teaching text: the Flowering Plant Families of East Africa, and three books on ethnobotany (Luo-English Botanical Dictionary, Medicinal Plants of East Africa and Luo Biological Dictionary). Prof. Kokwaro had a distinguished research career as exemplified by publications in internationally reputed journals. He will be missed by his mentees some of whom are lecturers across many universities and research institutions in East Africa. May the almighty God rest soul in eternal peace as his good work continues through the hands of his able mentees.