The academic fraternity is mourning renowned Kenyan theologian and scholar Prof John Mbiti, who died on Sunday aged 87 at a Switzerland hospital. Leaders and scholars paid tribute to the philosopher, who was the first African to translate the bible from English to Kamba language. Opposition Chief Raila Odinga, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and US-based Kenyan lawyer Prof Makau Mutua led Kenyans in mourning Mbiti. Prof Mbiti is considered to be Kenya\u2019s greatest scholar in religious philosophy. Raila hailed Mbiti\u2019s iconic scholarly contribution to African religion growth. \u201cHis book, African Religions and Philosophy was an eye-opener and ground-breaking work. Condolences to his family. May his soul Rest in Peace,\u201d he said in a post on his Twitter account. Prof Makau Mutua described Mbiti as \u201cone of the world\u2019s most iconic philosophy and religion scholars\u201d. \u201cIronically, I wrote about him in my Sunday Nation column today before he passed. May his family and friends know peace,\u201d he said. Governor Mutua also took to Twitter to mourn Mbiti. \u201cYou revolutionised the way we see ourselves and our relationship with God as Africans. You were an academic and theologian icon and your works will always shape our lives,\u201d he wrote. Influenced lives Other scholars also mourned the theologian, highlighting how his works, recognised locally and globally, influenced their lives. One such scholar is Ashley Robertson Preston, who said: \u201cI read lots of his work while I was working on my degree at Temple. Thanks for your studies on African religion and for every scholarly work you\u2019ve shared with the world.\u201d Valerie Landfair also mourned him, saying: \u201cMbiti\u2019s \u201cAfrican Religions and Philosophy\u201d challenged the popular narrative that traditional African religious ideas were demonic and not in line with Christianity...this book is a classic!\u201d Mbiti is well known for his book African Religions and Philosophy published in 1969 and which propelled him to fame among theology scholars. In his book, Mbiti challenged the Christian assumption that traditional African religious ideas were \u201cdemonic and anti-Christian\u201d. However, the book hailed as an insight into \u201cilliterate Africans\u201d by many also earned him a fair share of criticism from those that held contrary beliefs. Born on November 30, 1931, Prof Mbiti studied in Uganda and the United States, before pursuing his doctorate degree at the UK\u2019s University of Cambridge. Major works He taught religion and theology at\u00a0 Makerere University Uganda from 1964 to 1974 and was later appointed a director of the World Council of Churches\u2019 Ecumenical Institute in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland.\u00a0 While teaching at Makerere, Mbiti published other major works, including Concepts of God in Africa (1970), New Testament Eschatology in an African Background (1971)\u2014a revised edition of his PhD thesis at Cambridge\u2014 Introduction to African Religion and The Prayers of African Religion. He held visiting professorships at universities across the world and published extensively on philosophy, theology and African oral traditions. His sympathetic treatment of traditional religions was based on massive field work. Mbiti was clear that his interpretation of these religions was from a firmly Christian perspective, and this aspect of his work had sometimes been severely criticized. Mbiti\u2019s research interests included theology in Africa and Asia and ecumenism. He also collaborated on a book of African proverbs, collected from across the continent. Locally, he is celebrated as the scholar who translated the Bible from English to Kamba. From 2005, when he was ordained as an Anglican priest and a canon up until his death, Mbiti was an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bern and parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland. He leaves behind a wife and four children.