Austin Bukenya
(Uganda, 1944)   
Austin Bukenya

Austin Bukenya is best known as a pioneering scholar in the discipline of oral literature, to which he and his teacher, Pio Zirimu, gave the now popular label, orature.

Born in Masaka, Southern Uganda, he went to high schools around Kampala and Entebbe and was a first-class graduate of the University of East Africa (Dar es Salaam) in 1968. He also studied at universities in Madagascar and England, and took his higher degrees at Makerere and Kenyatta Universities.

He has taught languages, literature and drama at Makerere University in Uganda and at universities in the United Kingdom, Tanzania and Kenya since the late 1960s. He also has held residences at universities in Rwanda and Germany. Bukenya is also a literary critic, novelist, poet and dramatist. An accomplished stage and screen actor, he was for several years Director of the Creative and Performing Arts Centre at Kenyatta University, Nairobi.

© Badilisha Poetry X-change


Dick Dawson, ed. Revival: An anthology of African poetry. College Press, Harare, 1989.

The People's Bachelor. Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1972.

Austin Bukenya's page on Badilisha Poetry X-change
Essay on ‘The poems we wrote and the poems we read’ in Daily Nation


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