Death of inaugural Holman prize winner, Ojok Simon

I am very staggered to learn this morning that Ojok died on 25 July.  I have been in contact with him just recently about beekeeping as we also have bees here in Hampshire, UK.  We have been looking for ways that English beekeepers could learn from and support his activities in Uganda where he has been a leading light in training other blind people in this ancient craft, giving them more personal and financial independence.  His death is rather a shattering blow, completely unexpected.  We had been talking on Zoom quite recently and  were just about to respond to his latest e-mail.

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I was honoured to have spent time with him in San Francisco in 2017 when we were just setting out on our Holman adventures and, then again in 2018, when we each gave presentations about our achievements and successes to the gala dinner.  He had certainly used his prize to improve the lives of many other blind men and women in his country while also spreading his vigour, humour and determination to an international audience.  It was a delight to have known him and I’m glad that my book captures just a glimpse of his wonderful personality.

He was a fabulous force of nature, an inspiration to everyone (whether a beekeeper or blind person).  I am proud to have known him, been a peripheral part of his world and a shadow of his burning passion to change life for others with visual impairment. He is a huge loss to the international blind and beekeeping  communities. My heart goes out to his family and friends who will be mourning this gaping hole in their lives.




© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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