Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Postcolonial Kenya

Maya Lyngs & Arre Gunther Els Fonteyne

Studenteropgave: Masterprojekt


This project analyses Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel Weep Not, Child through the framework of postcolonial theory. Through the chosen themes of British Rule, landownership, the role of the Mau Mau, education, and religion, the analysis delves into the characters identification as subjects in a colonial setting. Firstly, a brief historical context of Kenya’s colonial history is described, to create a frame of reference for the following report. Following this is the presentation of the chosen theory: mimicry and ambivalence, hegemony, hybridity, the Third Space and subaltern. The analysis concludes that the characters as subjects in a British colonial government are subjected to an antagonizing system off repression, that stops them from furthering themselves above their status as black Africans. The question of land ownership is especially telling in this regard, with the ownership of land being directly linked to the characters’ self-image as free individuals. The Mau Mau are a violent reaction to this oppression form the British rule, and serve as an outlet for the frustrated Kikuyu youth. Education and religion are both intrinsic parts of the main character Njoroge’s identity. Through the concepts of hybridity and mimicry, Njoroge can combine his Kikuyu heritage and British values. In the discussion it is concluded that the hegemony of British Rule results in the subaltern groups subscribing to the British ideals. This happens either through mimicking the values of the colonial power, as Njoroge does, or outright opposing this hegemony, as in the case of Boro. Ultimately however, it results in tragedy for all the characters, who end up either dead or severely disillusioned with any hopes for a future Kenya.

UddannelserEngelsk, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2017
Antal sider47
VejledereEbbe Klitgård