Saturday, January 28, 2006

ngugi wa thiong'o - the outsider

"I told them I wanted to be in touch with the everyday. But we returned to a nightmare" - says Ngugi wa Thiong'o, of his return to his native Kenya in August 2004, after 22 years in exile.

The author of Weep Not Child, A Grain of Wheat, Decolonising The Mind and other great books, recalls some of this nightmare in a profile that appears in today's UK Guardian.

Excerpt: Two weeks into their visit, the couple were attacked by four men in their high-security apartment complex. Ngugi was beaten and his face burned with cigarettes. Njeeri was sexually assaulted - an ordeal she made public, she says, to combat pressures on women to remain silent about abuse. A laptop and jewellery were stolen. Three security guards and a nephew of Ngugi's by marriage were remanded on charges of robbery with violence, and one count of rape. The trial, which began in November 2004, is in its final stages, and the couple have returned twice to give evidence. "I don't want to play with my life," Ngugi says, "but we're determined not to be driven out of the country." Nairobi is notorious for crime. But in his view, "it wasn't a simple robbery. It was political - whether by remnants of the old regime or part of the new state outside the main current. They hung around as though waiting for something, and the whole thing was meant to humiliate, if not eliminate, us." They were held in separate rooms. "When I heard my wife scream, that was the end," he recalls. "Life wasn't worth living - there was nothing left to protect. I said, 'You can kill me'." He made a dash for the door. "They rushed to stop me - including the person raping my wife. Njeeri found me [outside] on the ground with three people on top of me covering my mouth, and a gun pointed at my temple." Yet the noise may have frightened off the assailants. "I don't think we were meant to come out alive. We think there's a bigger circle of forces - not just those who attacked us. I don't know if we'll ever reach the truth. But I'm sure that if it had happened under the Moi regime, we wouldn't be alive."

Read the rest of 'The Outsider' a profile of Ngugi wa Thiong'o - here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


i just discovered your blog. I work in Lagos and i have also a blog about Lagos but in french...



11:20 am, February 02, 2006  
Blogger laspapi said...

this incident is one of the saddest things I have ever heard. It causes me great pain each time I read of it.


10:12 pm, February 02, 2006  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Very sad story.

The world media has little to say about events in Kenya.


4:35 am, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Looking for information about ngugi wa thiong'o I came up on this outrageous incident (I feel that there are no words to describe it).

In addition I discovered your blog. I live in Montevideo, Uruguay. As a Latinamerican Literature professor I´m interested on Postcolonial Studies and social justice issues.

I promisse to visit your blog often,
thanks for your worthy work.

Pancho Bustamante

5:04 pm, March 11, 2006  

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