Ngugi by Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka



In Ngugi wa Thiongo we have modern African writing – i.e., writing that is and reflects Africa in a real world of suffering and change. His book, Homecoming is must reading. It is solid, politically sound, artistically valid criticism of modern African and Caribbean literature.

Novelists like Ayi Kwei Armah in his The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Achebe in A Man of the People, Okot p’Bitek in Song of Lawino, Okello Oculi in Prostitute and The Orphan, and Ngugi in Grain, have begun to turn the full light of artistic analysis on the post-colonial period, and what it means. In the Colonial period, the writers had to affirm the values and the strength of the vanquished. The Colonial intellectual, the anti-imperialist intelligentsia must first – as Fanon lays out so clearly – affirm, identify with, the culture and the people, and he must affirm this in the face of the colonial enemies and their cultural aggression.

In Things Fall Apart Achebe is affirming African society, describing its real chaos and anxiety in the face of the rising colonial order. But as Ngugi points out, Africans are not the European Robinson Crusoe’s Man Friday … their lives cannot be summed up in The Pacification of the Primitive

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