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Cartoonist Frank Odoi killed in Kenya road accident

Frank Odoi, who died in a road accident on Saturday aged 64, was fabled for his cartoons across Africa. This offering is from the BBC's Focus on Africa magazine. Photograph: Frank OdoiCartoonist Frank Odoi killed in Kenya road accident

Artist whose Driving Me Crazy comic strip focused on reckless driving in Kenya is killed when minibus overturns in Nairobi...

David Smith in Johannesburg

One of Africa's best-loved cartoonists, whose subjects included reckless driving in Kenya, has been killed in a road accident in Nairobi.

Frank Odoi, 64, died when the minibus taxi, known as a matatu, in which he was travelling

overturned on Saturday. His Driving Me Crazy comic strip focused on the notoriously wayward matatu drivers.

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The veteran artist was known for his Golgoti series, about a white man who travels to Africa, and Akokhan, featuring an African superhero inspired by the folklore of Ghana, where he was born.

After studying fine art and design in Accra, Odoi emigrated to Kenya in the 1970s. He became one of the first visual artists to command a daily slot in Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper.

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His work was also featured in newspapers in Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Denmark and Finland, as well as the BBC's Focus on Africa magazine. He held exhibitions in various countries and won several cartoonist of the year awards.

Odoi was travelling in a matatu in Nairobi that veered off the road and overturned, killing him and another passenger. Patrick Lumumba, a local traffic commandant, told the Daily Nation: "The driver of the bus swerved to avoid hitting a pedestrian who was crossing the road. The bus veered off, overturned and landed in a ditch."

Family members realised something was wrong when Odoi did not return home all weekend. They searched every hospital in Nairobi and eventually found his body in a mortuary on Monday morning.

Tributes have been paid by friends and peers. John Nyaga, a cartoonist at the Daily Nation, told the newspaper: "Frank was one of the pioneer cartoonists in Kenya who was still practising. Long before I started doing my own works, when I was still in school, he was being published and his illustrations inspired me."

Paul "Maddo" Kelemba, a fellow director of the media company Four Dimension Innovative, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme: "Looking at the empty desk in the corner and expecting to see Frank has been very difficult, disturbing and has made us very angry.

"It is so sad that he met his end at the hands of the matatus which were the subject of his comic strip."

Last year, in an interview on the Kimaniwawanjiru website, Odoi was quoted as saying he would like to be remembered for his comics and cartoons. He added: "Happiest moments? Several. Any time I meet a fan of mine I get high. I am happy as long as I am with happy people."

Source: The Guardian UK, 25 April 2012



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